Empathy Scenarios

Continuing on with our lessons about RESPECT, my class moved on to Empathy.  For those of you following along, this lesson went with the "E" in Digital Divide and Conquer's RESPECT posters. 

I began by showing the students this Sesame Street video defining Empathy.  Let's face it, empathy is a hard word to understand and Sesame Street has a knack for breaking hard concepts down for kids.  I will admit, when I first projected this up, there were several groans from my fifth graders.  But by the end of the video, they were laughing and fully into it.  Plus, they understood Empathy :)

Once we had a good working definition of what it means to be empathetic, I walked them through the five steps towards showing empathy in any given situation.  I got these steps from this lesson here, and I thought they were just perfect for breaking down the process we go through when putting ourselves in another person's shoes.

I then broke the students into groups of 4.  Each group was given a scenario in which they could possibly show empathy to the person being effected by the circumstances.  I also gave each student a different colored sticky note.  I had them cut each sticky in half, so they would have a total of 5 stickies (actually 6, but they used that 6th one for a book mark or something.)  On each of the five stickies, I asked the students to write how they would respond to the scenario according to the five steps.

For example, if the scenario was "A student, who studied hard for her test, failed." the kids would write how they would watch that student's body language and listen to her words in step one, or show the student who failed that they care in step five.

Once all of that was done, each student placed their sticky on the "step" on the recording sheet I gave them.  Then, taking the idea from these collaborative posters from Runde's Room, the kids read each idea and combined them into one "best" way to respond empathetically to each step in the scenario.

Finally, each group presented their scenarios and the steps towards empathy that the kids decided upon.

All in all, this was a great way to get the kids thinking about putting themselves in each others' shoes.  They now have a new word in their vocabulary and ways to help them show empathy.

Would you like the two printables I gave the students?  You can get them by clicking here.

If you are following this series, you can find the rest of the lessons below:

R -  Heart Mending
E -  Empathy (this post here :))
STHINKing before you Speak 

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  1. What an awesome post! I was planning on doing a lesson on empathy this week. This came at a great time. Thanks for sharing your process!
    Tales of a Tenacious Teacher

    1. Perfect timing then! I am so glad you found something in this post you could use :) Let me know how it goes!

  2. I did this today with the Grand Rapids bullying video making the internet. I have done all three of them so far and look forward to more. Thanks for doing this.

  3. I'm not able to download the 2 printable's? Is there any way you can send them to me?

  4. Will you be posting more lessons? Love what you have done so far, thanks for sharing!

    1. When I do more in my classroom, I will share them here for sure :)

  5. Have you done anymore lessons? Coming back from break next week and I would love to start the first few weeks with character education.


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