This blog has gained many new readers over the past year. Because of that, I thought it might be worth sharing a daily “A Look Back” where I share a best post from the past twelve years. You can also see all of my choices for “Best” posts here.
This post appeared in October, 2018.
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:
Picture books. Flood them with stories that will help them see empathy in a meaningful, authentic context.
— Jillian Heise (@heisereads) October 21, 2018
Check out Roots of Empathy. Not sure what they have for educators on their site but they’re all about empathy programs for students https://t.co/m2TMJ2O84g
— Kelly Holmes (@kellyjholmes) October 21, 2018
Just used this video in my class. So powerful. Joy Story: Joy and Heron https://t.co/b3o2x264pT
— H Ingalls (@TweetHeather) October 21, 2018
I would second the picture book recommendation if you’re looking for something simple/short. @pernilleripp has a couple great lists of books to spark empathy. https://t.co/mTK9dtMY2i and https://t.co/LKM326EOvi
— Eric Schlabach (@Mr_Schlabach) October 21, 2018
Novels have always worked better for me than any didactic lesson. From Wonder to The Bluest Eye. https://t.co/7QbrJgNAxo
— Carol Jago (@CarolJago) October 21, 2018
I kicked off a lesson on empathy recently with actually bringing in a pair of old shoes. They are now displayed in our 3rd grade classroom as a visual reminder to always have empathy. @ClassDojo recently had a lesson w/ the book Quit Calling Me a Monster. https://t.co/mW9CD8EGmG
— Meg Cernaro (@TCHRMeg) October 21, 2018
Hi Larry! For teaching empathy we recommend @bobsornson’s book Stand in My Shoes. There’s been some lovely lesson plans shared online by teachers to accompany the book if needed. Thanks for prioritizing empathy with your students. 👊🏼 https://t.co/cmtXwBi5B7
— Early Learning Foundation (@EarlyLearningFo) October 21, 2018
I was once recommended @Peekapak which includes lessons on several topics: respect, gratitude,etc. https://t.co/DNOS4xL5sQ It was also on an @edutopia article I read. It reminds me of those games my daughter played and plays: Animal Crossing and Roblox.
— Fabiana Casella (@FabLCasellaEdu) October 20, 2018
One of my fav sites is https://t.co/2w4z4TZbE7 or https://t.co/vvkn3SKdAl Tons of short videos there but the one that gets me everytime is this one – https://t.co/hR7PqjmI3o The girl at the end has #empathy It’s the music that grabs ya and twists the heart. #KleenexAlert 🙂
— Cliff Kraeker (@kraekerc) October 21, 2018
https://t.co/Tsy2m6Mlx8 This video is excellent.
— Faith (@She_is_a_Tripp) October 21, 2018
@EmpaticoOrg Has wonderful resources on empathy lessons & the entire concept of this amazing organization is empathy in K-5 classrooms. Their hashtag is #sparkempathy I also LOVE this RSA of Brene Brown on empathy. I use this 4 6-12 & PD 4 Ts: https://t.co/pwhpy34mth powerful!
— Dorina Ebuwa (@2014FloridaTOY) October 21, 2018
Health perspective & kickstarts my mirror neurons https://t.co/F84hof23FN
— Sam Boswell (@SoSamBoswell) October 21, 2018
Look for lessons that feature these stories for middle-level students:
* Thank You, M’am” by Langston Hughes.
* “The War of the Wall” by Toni Cade Bambara
* “Dirk the Protector” by Gary Paulsen
Also look at the Global Read Aloud (#GLA18) novel Refugee. My students love the book! https://t.co/mbMmmOeU2s
— Joseph Pizzo (@ProfJPizzo) October 20, 2018
Fog of War Lesson 1…I think you can find it on YouTube
— David W Fortin (@stuckinphilly1) October 20, 2018