Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Mosaic gemstones in a variety of colors
- Clear glass vase or jar
- A bright, solid color cloth
- Small notebooks, approximately two by three inches, for each child
- Copies of the Leader Resource 2, Gems of Goodness Letter to Parents for all participants Optional: Stick-on gems or other stickers
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain a clear glass vase or jar you can use for the duration of Moral Tales. A narrow vessel will nicely show the accumulation of "gems of goodness." In a small vessel, the gems will visibly accumulate faster than in a large one.
- Purchase mosaic gemstones. You will need at least three per participant per session. You may use glass or plastic gems. Most craft stores offer a variety of types, and, there are many online sources.
- Lay a bright, solid color cloth on a low table that everyone will be able to see and reach. Place the empty vase or jar and some gemstones on the cloth.
- Write the words, "My Acts of Goodness," on the cover of the notebooks you have purchased for each participant.
- Optional: If you want to have the children decorate their notebooks, have stick-on gems, stickers, and other materials ready to distribute.
- Download and customize the Leader Resource, Gems of Goodness Letter to Parents. You may hand out copies of the letter for children to take home, and/or email or send the letter directly to parents.
- Decide whether you will invite children to earn gems by documenting occasions when they witness someone else acting with goodness - not just their own acts of goodness. Doing so may include more children and will probably speed the group's accumulation of gems.
- Consider whether you would like to celebrate with the group in a future session, as the children accumulate gems. If you plan to tie a celebration to a particular goal, choose a glass vessel that will fill quickly and allow easy measurement of progress. Check with co-leaders to ensure that a Gems of Goodness celebration will fit into a future Moral Tales session.
Description of Activity
In this activity, you will introduce the Gems of Goodness Project. Gather the children in a circle around the gemstones and the jar.
Each time we meet in Moral Tales, you will be invited to choose a gemstone and add it to the jar if you can think of an act of goodness you did during the week (or an act of goodness you saw someone else do).
Hand out the notebooks and markers. Invite children to return to their seats and write their names on the front cover of their notebook. Tell them they will take the notebooks home so that an adult can help them think about and write down their acts of goodness. If you would like the children to decorate the covers of their notebooks, distribute stick-on gems, stickers, and other materials.
Say, in your own words:
There are many ways to act from goodness.
You may ask the children if they can think of any actions that come from goodness. Affirm their responses. Then say, in your own words:
You can act kind. You can be generous. You can do something that takes courage. You can be honest when it is easier to lie. You can do something that is fair to all people, not just yourself or your friends.
Tell the group you will call out some examples of acts of goodness that they might have done in the past week. Say:
If you hear me say an act of goodness that you have done, come up and add a gemstone to our jar. These may be things you have done at home, at school, with your friends, or someplace else.
Offer these suggestions. Add your own, if you can think of more. Leave time after each suggestion for children to remember something they have done and to come up to place a gemstone in the jar.
- I helped someone.
- I shared with someone.
- I stood up for someone who was being treated meanly.
- I told the truth when it would have been easier not to.
- I included someone rather than leaving them out.
- I was patient with a sibling or another younger child.
- I recycled.
- I took care of a pet.
- I worked really hard at something.
- I thanked my mom, my dad, my teacher, or another adult who helped me.
- I thanked a friend who helped me.
- I cleaned up a mess I made.
Now ask the children how they felt as they remembered the acts of goodness they have done. They may have several answers. One will probably be that it felt "good." You may wish to say something like:
As we act with goodness, our jar will become full, just like our hearts.
Remind the children that there are many, many ways to act from goodness, and you have by no means mentioned all of them today. Invite them to look for acts of goodness that they do (and if you choose, that others around them do) between now and the next Moral Tales meeting.
Distribute copies of the Leader Resource, Gems of Goodness Letter to Parents. Tell the children that the letter asks their parents to help them write down their acts of goodness in their notebooks and bring their notebooks every time they come to Moral Tales.
Including All Participants
Adapt this activity so that the jar is passed, if some children cannot move freely to it.