Showing Our Love

Love. It seems like such a timely theme to showcase… a new decade! What better way is there to begin 2020 than by showing love, kindness and compassion for each other. Just think, if we all did one kind thing for each other, imagine what a wonderful world this would be.
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Hair for Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham is a sweet and heartwarming picture book about the power of love between child and mother.  Eight-year-old Marcus claims that hair is important to the Carter family, especially Mama's crown of hair. It’s family picture time for the Carters, but Mama does not want to be in the photo this year because she has lost all of her beautiful hair due to chemotherapy treatments for her cancer. She is sad and doesn’t want to be remembered without hair.  Marcus comes up with a plan to find her some hair and make her better. Even though the plan doesn’t work in quite the way Marcus expects, he comes to understand that “hair is nice to have, but not as nice as me having Mama and Mama having me.” The warm and inviting watercolor illustrations will bring comfort and hope to readers and children will relate to Marcus' desire to do things for a family member out of pure love.
BEFORE reading the book, brainstorm, What is love? Many kids initially think of love as mushy, boyfriend-girlfriend romantic love in movies; lol.  Hair for Mama is a great springboard to revisit this initial discussion.  Have students list and categorize types of love: love for our family, love for our pets, love of nature, love for our friends, etc. This will naturally lead into conversations about caring for others and how to show love toward them.
My class (& fabulous student teacher!! Shout out to Ms. Bellman!!) came up with the brilliant idea of showing love and caring for other staff members around our school. They wrote the following poem together (and my student teacher insisted they not type it using cute fonts or else the recipients would know that it was from our class; LOL!!) 
We discussed how giving "junk" laying around the house is not showing love (think of donating expired canned goods for a food drive!). Showing true caring is getting to know a person; discovering details about their interests and likes. Students brainstormed a list of staff members they wanted to show appreciation for such as our nurse, counselor, PE coach, custodians, secretaries. They came up with a list of questions they wanted to know about each person: favorite snacks, hobbies, color, etc. Next, pairs of students were to subtly engage in conversations with a particular staff member as they "ran into them", then record their findings in our Positive Pranks notebook we kept in our room. Oh my goodness, I have never seen my kids so excited! Once they knew enough about their staff member, they would assemble a gift bag with goodies and attach the poem to the bag. Students brought in items to donate: cute pencils, hand lotion, Starbucks gift cards, fancy bandaids, books, lanyards, granola bars, bottled water, mugs, colorful office supplies. Over several weeks, at random times, students would knock on a door then run away to watch the recipient read the note and take the bag inside. Other times they left the bag on the desk or in their office. (Think ding dong ditch or "You've been Boo'd" surprises at Halloween) Since only a couple of students at a time could deliver the gifts, one of them would attempt to film the pranking on an iPod then the class would watch it. They loved these James Bond-type stealth moves!

I was amazed at how relatively secret the class kept our activity; they found true joy at giving to others, showing love and appreciation without any acknowledgement! And it was so much fun for the receivers because it was unexpected. It was not Staff Appreciation Week or Principal's Day; just a random day and week of the year!
Another book about love is An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton. It is a darling picture book that explores different types of love. Told in rhyming verse, the colorful illustrations and details show how your heart feels in loving moments. There are so many different kinds of love—the way you love your spouse, the way you love your child, the way you love your parents, the way unlikely things find something to complement and love about each other.
Be sure to listen to We Teach So Hard's latest episode on MORE books and activities to teach LOVE! Click HERE or on the image below to listen, then visit Retta, Deann, and Tracy's blogs to be inspired! 
(Clockwise, from top left:)
One Heart  // Rainbow City Learning
Showing Our Love // Tried & True Teaching Tools
Love Is In The Air: Using Kid Lit To Teach Discourse // Wild Child’s Mossy Oak Musings


  1. Love this post Kathie. The books that you've chosen sound awesome, can't wait to check them out.

  2. Every time I read one of your posts, I'm a little bit poorer. I think I need "Hair for Mama" in my collection, and I LOVE your ideas for how to use it. Sigh.

    1. Ha! That's what happens every time I talk to you, Tracy! Hair for Mama is truly a special book!

  3. Love your Positive Pranks idea! And "Hair for Mama" is a must-have! Thanks for another post to inspire all of us!