Last year, I came across an idea on Pinterest for a cape of kindness. A group of children were wearing capes with hearts on them. They would perform kind actions when wearing them. I immediately loved the idea and started brainstorming ways I could implement it into my classroom.
Here’s what I came up with. I ordered two capes on Etsy; one boy cape and one girl cape. I decided to use them as an incentive to promote acts of kindness. At the beginning of the year, I start by reading Chyrsanthemum by Kevin Henkes. We discuss words that make us bloom and words that make us wilt. Afterwards, I introduce two capes. A discussion occurred and an anchor chart was created to display how one could earn the cape of kindness. At the beginning, I am pointing acts of kindness that earn the cape of kindness. Gradually, the students would begin to point out acts of kindness. I can’t tell you how proud I was of my students to hear, “I noticed that Suzie helped Sally after she fell on the playground. I think she has earned the cape of kindness.” Towards the end of the year, my students had full control over the capes. They would discuss as a group when they thought someone had earned the right to wear the cape.
Although the capes were just pieces of material, they meant the world to my kindergarteners. Throughout the year, I saw my students become superheroes of good will. They sought out acts of kindness and encouraged others along the way. What more could a teacher want?
Here's what my capes look like:
I contacted a storeowner on Etsy and told her what I was wanting. Purchasing a customized cape is not necessary. You could make one out of butcher paper, use an old sheet or scrap of material, or purchase a plastic tablecloth and let your students decorate it. The cape itself doesn’t matter. What matters is what the cape symbolizes; a recognition for an extraordinary act of kindness.