Teaching first grade is just as much about teaching social skills as it is about the academic curriculum.  Because my kiddos are obsessed with spies and ninjas, I thought it would be fun to re-teach the importance of kindness, I had an idea to “crack” some kindness codes with an addition math activity!

I work all year to help my students learn different ways of kindness.  Some examples are how to talk things out, look a speaker in the eyes and build healthy relationships.  Sometimes it’s hard to carve out extra time to go over these important skills.  So, I’m always looking for ways to integrate character lessons into our everyday routines!

The freebie’s addition activity is a fun way to practice math and spark conversations about social skills at the same time!  For more math skills fun, check out our Editable Math Fact Games in our shop!

To prep, I printed off the two Kindness Code sheets (below) for my students.

Since the sheets have a thin rainbow border, I went ahead and printed them in color.

Then, I took out two manila envelopes and wrote “TOP SECRET CODE” on the outside of each one.

I put the papers in the envelopes for dramatic effect and I was ready to go!

To get my kids excited and into the “kindness zone,” I gave them a little surprise when we gathered on the carpet for our math mini-lesson.

Instead of taking about MATH, I told them we were going to take time to compliment students we’d noticed being kind.

We love giving shout-outs in my classroom, so hands immediately shot up in the air!

Although it took time to work our way around the room, I thought it was worth it.

Next, I pulled out the envelopes and we voted on the one we should open first.

When they made their choice, I quickly opened the envelope and then popped the kindness code sheets under our classroom document camera.

I explained that we would be reviewing double digit addition but with a twist!

Without giving too much away, I showed the class how to add the numbers in each box.  Then, I used the answers to fill in the blanks at the bottom!

My students perked up when I let them that there were TWO different kindness phrases that needed cracking.

I sent my kiddos off to their seats to get started. They began to “crack” the codes (writing in pencil).  But, after they had it all correct, I let them color in the clipart of the kids!

The math part was a bit of a review, so my students didn’t have much trouble with adding the ones column first.  I did, however, walk around to make sure their answers were correct so that they could fill in the blanks at the bottom.

To wrap up the addition activity, we came back onto our carpet.  We had a classroom meeting about how we could always be kind and why kindness is cool.

My students were able to practice some essential math skills and we had a great classroom conversation about kindness – a double win!