Time: 20 minutes with additional 15 minutes for practical activities and response.

The last of the five ways to well-being is ‘Give’. What does this mean?

The National Economic Forum says: 

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

Glossary 

Interdependence - the idea that humans are connected and depend and impact on other people

Altruism - acting out of concern for the well-being and happiness of others

Gratitude - the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Blobtree diagram © Pip Wilson and Ian Long www.blobtree.com

Task 1: Storytelling and discussion

Watch the following storytelling films. The films tell an Arabic story called ‘A Tale of Two Villages’, where two quarrelling communities reconnect and discover the importance of seeing each other’s perspective.   

Stop and discuss the questions after each part of the film, to develop deeper thinking and literacy skills. Structure your discussion using templates above and record responses as a class, in pairs or individually.

Watch A Tale of Two Villages Part 1.

  • What next? Where do you think the man on the horse was going?
  • Thinking about the story: Is that true? Is it really our fate as human beings to forget?
  • Thinking beyond the story: If you are together a lot with friends and family does that mean you are less connected when you are apart?

Watch A Tale of Two Villages Part 2.

  • What next? Will the villagers ever stop quarrelling?
  • Thinking about the story: Do the villagers think they are lying to each other?
  • Thinking beyond the story: Is quarrelling always bad?

Watch A Tale of Two Villages Part 3.

  • What next? What do you think will happen when the villagers forget again?
  • Thinking about the story: Were the villagers laughing at the man’s clothes, or at themselves?
  • Thinking beyond the story: Does it matter how far we are from the people we know well?

Read the transcript of the videos.

Task 2: Understanding gratitude

Happiness and altruism are linked – doing good is important for being happy, and happiness helps to spark kindness, empathy and generosity. Empathy and showing gratitude are good for mental health and link to all parts of the Medicine Wheel. The activities below will allow students to tangibly reflect on gratitude and expressing it. 

Creating a Gratitude Tree

Each pupil designs a leaf for the tree, drawing something they are grateful for and something else they can do to show kindness in their community. Display all the leaves on the Gratitude Tree.

Consider different examples of gratitude and kindness from personal, family or school, to the local and global community.  

Gratitude Book or Gratitude Patchwork

Each pupil makes a tiny gratitude book. Every evening, they draw or write one thing they have been grateful for that day. 

Alternatively, pupils use squares of paper. Bring all the class squares together and display them as a Gratitude Quilt or Kindness Patchwork, to illustrate connection.

Task 3: Random Acts of Kindness Week

Agree a Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week where everyone tries to do one RAK each day for a week anonymously.

You could allocate each pupil another person they have to do a RAK for anonymously. 

Encourage pupils to decide on RAK that focus on time, space, concern and kindness rather than material things.

Blobtree Reflection

Reflect on the blobtree image above.

Which blobs show the ways you show kindness? Which blobs show the ways you would like to show kindness?  Which blobs show ways someone else has shown you kindness?

Differentiation for SEND

Adapt the language or use fewer questions at the end of each film according to the level and interests of the pupils. Show examples and explain any metaphorical aspects of creative tasks like gratitude trees or patchwork before pupils start to create so they have a clear idea of what they are contributing to.

Teacher well-being

Remember that teacher well-being is equally important. Consider creating a staff gratitude tree, or contribute to the gratitude activities with your class.

Partner School Linking Activities

Share copies of gratitude trees or other gratitude activities and discuss the similarities and differences between the projects by students in partner schools.   

Global Examples

Explore the South African philosophy of Ubuntu which means togetherness and how all our actions have an impact on others and on society.

Explore the Sanskrit and Pali word of Mudita from Buddhism which means finding joy in the happiness of others.