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Pause for Thought in the Classroom: Smile a Greeting

A smile makes a difference

by Revd Catherine Williams (adapted)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that a smile is a smile in any language.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to have the means available to play the following videos:

    ‘How to say “Good morning” in 40 different languages’, available at: (2.01 minutes long)
    ‘When you’re smiling’ by Michael Bublé, available at: (2.48 minutes long)

  • Have available a range of smiling emojis and the means to display them. Examples are available at:

  • You will also need to write ‘Good morning’ in ten languages on separate pieces of paper. Write the names of the languages on other pieces of paper. For example:

    - Bonjour (French)
    - Kalimera (Greek)
    - Jo sun (Cantonese)
    - Goeiemore (Afrikaans)
    - Guten Morgen (German)
    - Shu probhat (Bengali)
    - Boker tov (Hebrew)
    - Buenos días (Spanish)
    - Asubuhi njema (Swahili)
    - Maj po (Klingon, from Star Trek)

    The children will try to match the words to the language during the Assembly, Step 3.

    Note: you may wish to substitute one or more of the languages to make sure that the children’s first language is included.


  1. Show the range of smiling emojis.

    Ask the children how they feel today. Do they feel like smiling?

  2. Sometimes, we don’t feel like smiling, but someone cheers us up.

    Ask the children what cheers them up when they feel sad.

    Point out that we can cheer other people up, too. Sometimes, even saying hello and smiling at someone can make their day better!

  3. Show the children the pieces of paper with various translations of ‘Good morning’ and the language names.

    Explain that there are 20 cards: ten show the phrase ‘Good morning’ in various languages and the other ten show the names of the languages. You would like the children to match each phrase to the correct language.

    Work together to match the phrase to the language.

  4. Show the following video of a child saying ‘Good morning’ in 40 different languages. 

  5. Point out that even when we don’t know the words for ‘Good morning’, we can always offer a smile as a greeting.

    Play the song ‘When you’re smiling’.

Time for reflection

In the Bible, Jesus tells his friends to love their neighbours and do good to the people around them. One way in which we can show love is to smile a bit more. Smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning, so it should be less tiring to smile than to look serious or unhappy. When we smile at people, it makes them feel good about themselves.

You may wish to use the following prayer.

Dear God,
Thank you for people who make us happy.
Thank you for our families and friends.
Please help us to work at making others happy.
We pray for people who are sad or lonely.
Please help us to take the time to smile at and be kind to others
As we walk through this world together.


‘Don’t worry, be happy covered by Playing for Change, available at: (3.59 minutes long)

Smile’ sung by Gregory Porter with Gary Barlow, available at: (3.08 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Have you ever tried painting pebbles? You could try painting some smiling emojis on pebbles and then give them as presents to cheer up someone. Instructions are available at: (10.01 minutes long)

  2. Some children find it more difficult to smile than others. The charity Smile Train helps people around the world who have been born with cleft palates. You might like to find out more by visiting its website at:
Publication date: September 2020   (Vol.22 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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