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We’re eight weeks into the school year, including my pilot Long-Term English Language Learner support class.

I’ll be writing lengthy quarterly reports on how that is going. But, for now, I’d like to share a very simple lesson I’ll be doing with them on empathy. I also sent out a tweet asking for suggestions on empathy lessons, and am sharing all the responses I received.  They were helpful and informed my thinking about what I ultimately decided to do….

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Helping To Build Empathy In The Classroom – Help Me Find More.

First, here’s the lesson (feel free to leave a comment helping me make it a better one):

First, I’ll give a simple definition of empathy and sympathy.

Next, I’ll show these two videos and ask students to write down three things they learned about empathy from them:


Then, I’m going to have students duplicate a lesson I did in my IB Theory of Knowledge class earlier this year.   Our TOK textbook provided three scenarios that looked something like this (I don’t have it with me, so can’t remember the exact wording):

Describe and draw what a dying child looks like through the eyes of a parent, doctor, and religious figure

I’m going to give my students three options, and they have to choose one.  The dying child will be one, and the others will be:

Describe and draw what a student looks like through the eyes of a parent, teacher and friend.

Describe and draw what an athlete looks like through the eyes of a fan, teammate, parent and coach

This was a challenging exercise for my TOK students.  The only reason I think it will work in my support class is because I have several examples from other scenarios (one using a sunrise and the other a tree) drawn by my TOK students taped on our classroom windows.  So I’ll be able to give my ninth-graders some time to look at those examples before they start working on their own.

Finally, students will share their creations with classmates.

I wanted to keep the lesson simple, yet challenging.


Here are the responses I received on Twitter to my request for assistance: