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Explore Character and Choice with Each Kindness Activities

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson is a powerful book that resonates deeply with students. In this article, I will explore Each Kindness activities designed to enhance empathy, character analysis, and personal connections among students. By incorporating these activities into your lessons, you can help students understand the profound impact of kindness and the consequences of our actions.

Educational flyer featuring worksheets on character traits and making connections, alongside the book "Each Kindness," a succulent plant, crayons, and a green spiral notebook. Text: "Explore character and choice. Each Kindness Activities.

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Each Kindness Summary

In Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, a new girl named Maya joins Chloe’s class. Despite Maya’s attempts to make friends, Chloe and her classmates reject her. Chloe doesn’t know why; maybe it was how she dressed, played, and the food she ate. 

Eventually, Maya stops coming to school, and their teacher, Ms. Albert, teaches a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can have significant effects. Chloe realizes too late the importance of kindness and the opportunity she missed.

Each Kindness Discussion Points

  • Kindness: Small acts of kindness can make a big difference. Chloe’s regret highlights the impact of unkind actions.
  • Empathy: Through Chloe’s perspective, students see the importance of understanding the feelings of others.
  • Consequences: The long-term effects of our actions and the regret that can follow when we miss chances to be kind.
  • Change and Growth: Chloe’s character development showcases the potential for personal growth through reflection.
  • Social Isolation: Maya’s experience reflects the negative effects of social exclusion and bullying.

Each Kindness Activities

Each Kindness is an excellent choice for the classroom because it addresses important themes like kindness, empathy, and the impact of our actions on others. This post will focus on Each Kindness activities for:

Teaching Character Analysis with Each Kindness

Each Kindness is suited for teaching character analysis because it offers opportunities to explore the motivations, consequences, and personal growth, particularly for Chloe.

Activity: Chloe undergoes significant change, offering a clear arc for analysis. After reading, have a class discussion about Chloe. Ask questions like:

  • What kind of person is Chloe at the beginning of the story?
  • How does Chloe treat Maya? Why do you think she behaves this way?
  • What changes do you notice in Chloe by the end of the story?

Ask students to fill in a graphic organizer with Chloe’s traits at the story’s beginning, middle, and end. They should include evidence from the text to support each trait (e.g., Chloe’s actions, dialogue, and thoughts).

Image of educational materials including worksheets with character trait activities and the book "Each Kindness" by Jacqueline Woodson, placed on a white surface next to notebooks and a succulent.
Click on the images to explore character traits activities for Each Kindness.

Understanding Unspoken Feelings in Each Kindness

Each Kindness doesn’t always spell things out directly. Instead, it invites readers to look beyond the words on the page, feel the characters’ emotions, and understand the consequences of actions not taken. 

Activity: After reading, discuss the characters’ unspoken feelings. Ask questions like:

  • How does Maya feel when her classmates ignore her? What is the evidence?
  • What might Chloe have been thinking when she saw Maya’s empty desk at the end of the story? What clues lead you to this inference?
  • How do you think Ms. Albert felt while teaching the lesson on kindness? What makes you think that?

Ask students to select key moments in the story and infer the characters’ feelings or thoughts. On a worksheet, they should:

  • Write down the text evidence (quotes or descriptions from the book).
  • Connecting this evidence to their prior knowledge (personal experiences or general understanding).
  • Making an inference about the characters’ unspoken feelings or thoughts.
Two worksheets on inferring, one partially completed, lie on a white surface next to a book titled "Each Kindness." Various colored stationery items are scattered around the top edge.
Click on the images to explore inference activities for Each Kindness.

Making Connections with Each Kindness

The themes of kindness, regret, and the impact of our choices in Each Kindness are universal. They resonate with students, making it easier for them to connect the story to their experiences.

Activity: Have a class discussion about Each Kindness. Ask questions like:

  • Have you ever seen someone at school who felt left out or lonely?
  • How did you feel when you saw or experienced unkind behavior?
  • Can you remember a time when you did something kind for someone else or when someone was kind to you?

Ask students to complete a text-to-self worksheet by writing about an experience from their own lives that relates to the story. They should include specific events or feelings that remind them of Chloe, Maya, or the themes in the book.

Book cover of "Each Kindness" by Jacqueline Woodson, alongside worksheets titled "Making Connections." A "Free Activity" label is placed in the lower right corner.
Click the image or the box below to get FREE Each Kindness making connections activities in your inbox.

Discussion Questions for Each Kindness

Each Kindness questions encourage your students to reflect on the story, interpret the characters’ motivations and feelings, analyse the author’s message, and apply their understanding to their experiences.

  1. How does Chloe’s attitude toward Maya change from the story’s beginning to end?
  2. What are some character traits of Chloe and Maya?
  3. How does Ms. Albert try to teach the students about kindness? What does this say about her character?
  4. What lessons does Chloe learn by the end of the story? How do these lessons reflect her character development?
  5. Have you ever been in a situation similar to Chloe’s or Maya’s? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it?
  6. How do the experiences in “Each Kindness” help you understand the importance of treating others with kindness?
  7. What do you think Maya feels when Chloe and the other students ignore her?
  8. How might Chloe feel when she sees Maya’s empty desk at the end of the story?
  9. Why do you think Chloe doesn’t respond to Maya’s attempts at friendship initially?
  10. What unspoken thoughts might Chloe have when Ms. Albert drops the stone in the water and talks about kindness spreading?

This activity pack includes over 120 questions to use before, during, and after reading Each Kindness.

Have you used “Each Kindness” in your classroom? Let me know how you used it!

FREE Resource for Each Kindness

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