August 11, 2012 marked the Great Kindness Challenge. That got us thinking about the particular vocabulary and language associated with kindness and reminded us that EVERY DAY is an opportunity to practice kindness! Thus, this week’s Wordy Wednesday was born: the language of kindness!
We’ve wracked our brains and searched the web to come up with images that depict kindness. From helping with chores, to giving a present, to smiling at someone in the supermarket – the opportunities to perform acts of kindness are endless.
Just as there are many ways to show kindness to others, there are many ways to use kind words this week!
1. Acts of kindness are just that: actions! What a great opportunity to practice using verbs! Be sure to play around with different tenses: we can talk about how actions happened in the past, what’s going on right now, or what will take place in the future.
2. Many of this week’s images depict interactions between people. Use these pictures to talk about the ways in which people interact and communicate. What sort of exchanges do you have with a stranger? With a friend? With family? How are these interactions different? What do they have in common? Practicing acts of kindness is a fantastic social skill!
3. Because many of our images this week show multiple players involved in actions, they offer excellent opportunities for practicing a few of the more challenging linguistic constructs.
- Work on pronouns. “He is giving her the flowers.” “She is opening the gift.” “They are all smiling.” If pronouns are a bit too challenging initially, don’t be discouraged! Pronouns can be a bit abstract, so begin by using more concrete terms for your child or client. “Jack is giving the girl the flowers.” “Sally is opening the gift.” “The kids are all smiling.”
- Interactions provide excellent opportunity for working on complex grammatical structures involving subject, objects, actions, and agents. “Who is giving the flowers?” “Jack is giving the flowers.”
- Practice varying sentence structures. “Bobby gave flowers to Emma.” “Emma got flowers from Bobby.”
4. Our kindness pictures are perfect to practice receptive and expressive language!
- To work on receptive language (comprehension), use the 4 picture option. Have your child point to the appropriate picture as you ask questions: “Who is helping?” “Who is sharing?” “Who is smiling?” Remember to use lots of task specific praise, “I love how well you are listening!” and “Great pointing!”
- Practice expressive (productive) language by showing the child a single picture and asking him or her to label it or describe what is happening. For more verbal children, use our pictures with printed labels to practice reading skills.
5. Offer these pictures as prompts for either written or oral storytelling. Ask the child to provide the backstory to a picture, and encourage detail and imagination in responses.
6. Challenge your clients (or your children or yourself!) to participate in a Kindness Challenge of your own! How many of the activities that we’ve shown have you done in the last week? In the last month? How many can you do in the week ahead? What acts of kindness will you do that we haven’t thought of?
How will you use these pictures and incorporate the language of kindness into your life this week? Let us know down below in the comments!
Melanie and Elizabeth