Editor’s Note: Guest Post: What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project is a very popular post by Pam Buric, the writer of today’s post, about an annual project students do at our school – ELLs write about their lives and share them face-to-face with other students. That post includes a detailed explanation of the process, including downloadable student hand-outs and student stories.
Pam’s class did it again this year!
I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Helping To Build Empathy In The Classroom – Help Me Find More
By Pam Buric
I believe that everyone has a story that is compelling, thought-provoking, relatable, awe-inspiring and empathy-inducing. A couple of years ago, my EL students wrote their stories and shared them with other students and their teachers in our school library.
My seniors did the same this year, and were asked by Mai Xi Lee, the SEL coordinator in our district, to share with educators at the 2019 CASEL Cross District Convening. My students were so nervous, afraid that adults wouldn’t listen to them, or worse yet, wouldn’t hear them.
We worked on their stories for several months in the midst of applying to college and filling out the FAFSA, both time-consuming and stress-producing necessities. We talked a lot about inducing empathy and compassion in their readers and practiced using specific words to do that. They produced draft after draft as they tweaked their stories, struggling to find the precise words they needed to express themselves.
The outcome is amazing. The adults listened and HEARD the students. But the most significant result was in the students themselves. Their joy at the end of the experience has lifelong reverberations. They understand that each one has a voice that deserves to be heard. The found their voices. They continue to be heard. They are published authors!
Please, enjoy the stories of these fine, resilient young people. You can download the book, put into book form by Mai Xi, here.