friends-in-library-helping-others-conceptFourth grade can be tough; cliques, bullying and peer pressure to follow the crowd are big issues in 4th grade. Teaching a culture of kindness in your classroom can combat these difficulties and curb some of the negative effects of these issues. The more children see what kindness can do, the less they may be inclined to hurt another person and even help others who may be struggling.

Learning about showing kindness and helping others can be done in many ways. You can open up a classroom discussion, have them read books or write about the topic and reflect on how helping others can have a positive impact on our world.

4th Grade Narrative Writing Prompts That Promote Kindness Through Helping Others

Here are a few 4th grade narrative writing prompts that you can use to show the importance of helping others in your classroom.

1. Tell me about a time when a friend helped you out. What did they do and what was the outcome?

Sometimes, the best way to get young students to fully understand a concept is to have them think about scenarios where their well-being was directly affected. This prompt will make your students think back to a time when they needed someone and a friend answered that call.

Have your students think about a specific scenario where a friend helped them accomplish or overcome something and write one sentence at the top of a piece of notebook paper that quickly tells what happened. Have them then use the 5 W’s to go into more detail. We often reference the five w’s (when, where, who, what, and why) because it is a great way to organize thoughts and be thorough when writing about something from the past. The why for this would be the outcome. Below is an example that you can use in class:

  • Top of page: Carlos sat with me at lunch when I was sad
  • When: Lunch
  • Where: School
  • Who: Carlos
  • What: Feeling sad at lunch
  • Why (outcome): I felt better after talking to Carlos and he made me realize that everything is going to be okay.

We also suggest creating a section for extra notes below if they want to include additional details.

 

PROJECT IDEA

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After your students have outlined the five w’s, have them act out the scenario in front of the class or with a partner. Learning about other people’s experiences will further instill how impactful helping others can be. During the acting, they may remember details that they didn’t have on their original five w’s write up - have them add these to the notes section. After your students are done acting out their scenario, have them write a short personal narrative using what they have written on the five w’s sheet. Encourage them to be detailed so that the reader feels as if they were there watching the scene happen. After they complete their writing, have your students include a picture that shows before, during and after the interaction. Combine these into a classbook about kindness that they can take a look at any time they need inspiration to be kinder to others by being more helpful.

2. Tell me about a time when you helped out another person. How did you feel after?

Helping people makes you feel good. A sense of purpose and accomplishment comes with helping others, but the real benefit comes from building bonds and being more interconnected with other people.

Many times, when someone does something kind, they want to be recognized for it. They want to be told that they did a good job, but this is an opportunity to discuss the benefits of helping others even if you don’t receive recognition.

Some students may need some help thinking of a time that they helped out. Some things you can ask them to help jog their memory are:

  • Have you ever done something for a good cause?
  • Have you helped a younger student or sibling with something they were struggling with?
  • Have you helped someone without being asked?

Your students will be able to reflect on how performing kind acts make them feel. By reflecting on this good feeling, your students will likely be inclined to keep helping people.

Have students use this worksheet to outline their writing. Make sure that they write down several words describing how they felt, below the five w’s.

 

PROJECT IDEA

Have your students use their completed worksheet to write a detailed account of what happened when they helped someone else out and how they felt after. Then have them create a 3-panel comic strip of what happened using only pictures where they are the hero. Have them depict what they saw, how they acted, and how they felt after in each box. Then take their work and publish everything in a cool, class comic book.

3. Why do you think is it important to help others?

This prompt can go in so many different directions because the concept of showing kindness is different in everyone’s mind.

To one child it could mean helping their mom out with the dishes, for another, it’s helping a person in the hallway pick up the papers they dropped. This prompt allows them to think about the impact that helping others has and reflect on it in their own, unique way.

Discuss with your class how helping just a few people can make the world a better place. There are a lot of great resources out there you can use that show this powerful concept. This 5-minute video is a great example of how helping others can have a domino effect and can go further than just you and that one person you helped. There are also inspiring stories in this article from Parade about kids helping kids that you can share with your class.

After showing your students a few examples of how helping others can make an impact have them think about why they think it is important to help others. They can use this worksheet to organize their thoughts and come up with reasons why they think it is important to help others.

 

PROJECT IDEA

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After your students have completed their worksheets, have them create a story that aligns with the most impactful reason they wrote down. For example, their reason could be, “Helping others inspires people to be kinder.” This story could be about a grumpy old woman who dropped her groceries and someone helped her pick them up. She then realized she didn’t have any reason to be grumpy at anyone, became kinder to others and improved her overall happiness. Have your class include how their story explains why kindness is important at the end of their written work.

Once the writing is complete, have them draw a visual representation of the story they wrote. Take everyone’s work and publish a classbook with all of the reasons why helping others out is important.

4. Tell Me How You Plan to Show Kindness by Helping Out in the Future

Sometimes people want to show kindness and help out others but they aren’t sure how to start. This writing prompt will make your students think about how they can help others in the future.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways that your students can help someone out in the future. This is a great time to discuss random acts of kindness. Opportunities to perform random acts of kindness are all around us and a great place to start when thinking about how you can help others (whether they know it or not). From picking up litter in the park to donating toys that they don’t play with anymore to other kids, there are a ton of ways that they can help someone out in the future.

Have your students brainstorm a few ideas on how they plan to help others. They can do this in small groups and take notes or you can facilitate a class discussion and have them come up and write their ideas on the board. Have them choose one way that they plan to start helping others out and create a plan of action describing how they will make it happen.

 

PROJECT IDEA

Challenge your students to go home and over the weekend and perform one of the tasks on their list. Have them take notes on what happened and how they felt after they helped someone out. Then, they can use those notes to write about taking action to help others and draw each step they took to complete their action plan. Take their writing and drawings and combine them into a classbook that will remind them how important it is to create a plan and follow through when planning to help others.

5. Give 5 people compliments today. Write about how you made them feel and how you felt after. 

Sometimes, when someone is having a hard time, the best way to help them out is to compliment them. Compliments can have a huge effect on someone’s well-being and can turn their mood around. Mark Twain once wrote, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

You see it all the time where photographers will take a picture of someone before they pay them a compliment and then take another right after. In the second picture, the person tends to light up and smile.

Encourage your students to find people outside of the classroom to compliment. They don’t need to necessarily compliment strangers. They can give compliments to students who are in other classes, their family or a friend in their neighborhood.

Have them jot down notes about the interaction including:

  • Who they gave the compliment to.
  • What the compliment was.
  • How the person reacted.
  • How they felt after giving the compliment.

While working on this prompt, your students will be able to understand how a few simple words can make someone’s day better just like those photographers did and see how they felt after giving the compliments.

 

PROJECT IDEA

Have your students take their notes and write a short paragraph about each compliment they gave and how the compliment affected the recipient and themselves. Then have them draw a picture of the person before the compliment and after. After they have their writing and illustrations complete, have them get into small groups and discuss how compliments made a difference in another person’s day. They will see patterns in how people reacted to their peers and really see how compliments can help others feel good across the board. Once the discussion is complete collect their work to create a classbook of compliments. This will be a good reminder of how a few nice words can change someone’s day.

 

With the amount of negativity going on in schools and around the world it helps to show your students the value of helping others and being kind.

Start Your Classbook and Find More Resources

Ready to bring these writing prompts to life? Start your classbook today!  If you would like to take a look at more resources, our online teacher’s lounge is an excellent place for you to find more suggestions on ways to improve your students’ writing.