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Character Education: Empathy {Lesson Plans and Activities}

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After several years in the classroom, I realized that my students needed instruction on HOW to be kind, respectful, and all the things I was asking them to be. I developed these units to support teachers in teaching and rewarding great character in the classroom! Building a classroom community is one of the most important things teachers can do and it greatly impacts our students academically! This unit on EMPATHY is part of a year-long curriculum for teaching students how to have great character! However, this unit could also be used as a stand-alone resource for teaching all about empathy in the classroom. :)

Lesson 1-What is Empathy?
Your class will watch a short video explaining empathy in kid-friendly language and then you'll discuss what empathy means and create an anchor chart about it. Then you'll read different situations and students will share how the person might feel with their shoulder partner. After your discussion, students will draw and write about showing empathy.

Lesson 2-How Can I Show Empathy To A Friend?
Your class will discuss various situations and ask, "how would that feel," and "how can I help?" I've included situation cards for you about situations that your kiddos might encounter or you can choose your own. Then students will draw and write about a time something happened to someone they know and how they showed empathy.

Lesson 3-How Can I Show Empathy When Someone Is Different Than Me?
Our classrooms are becoming more diverse every year, and it's so important that our students know how to handle differences and understand each other. In this lesson, I've included situations about different abilities, races, religions, living situations, and more. Your class will read them and discuss each situation. You'll use apples and oranges to show students how we are the same and different and students will write about a friend that is different that them.

Lesson 4-How Can We Support Other Kids?
This lesson allows students to take everything they have learned and put it into action. I've included resources and links for sending cards to students who are hospitalized. It allows students to put themselves in another's shoes and truly act on it. They will LOVE being actively involved and you will love watching their hearts grow as they think about other kids!

This Resource Also Includes
-An Poem about Empathy
-A Parent Letter to send home that explains how parents can support the unit
-Chin Up, Buddy writing page that students will use to write a letter to a friend that is sad
-We're All Alike writing page where students will draw and write about how we are all the same on the inside
-My Bad Day writing page where students will consider a time THEY had a rough time and how someone helped them
-Empathy Is writing page
-What Would You Do? writing page where students write how they would support a friend in various situations
-My Friend writing page

This unit is part of a BUNDLE that includes TEN units on character education. You can read more about each unit below!
Conflict Resolution

Giving Back

You can read more about this unit on my blog.
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Haley O'Connor




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