Lesson Plan

Empathy

In this lesson, students will explore and discuss the term "empathy" by hearing stories from two different perspectives and identifying the feelings of each of the characters. They will also discuss what it means to be true to ourselves.
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Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to define "empathy."
  • Students will be able to explain what it means to have different perspectives.

Introduction

(15 minutes)
Being True to You!
  • Bring students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Ask them to raise their hands if they have heard of the word "empathy." (Let them know that it is okay if they have not heard this word before.)
  • Ask, "Does anyone know what the word means?"
  • Write the word "empathy" on the board and all that the class already knows about the word.
  • Explain that empathy means putting yourself in someone else's shoes and trying to understand how they feel. Sometimes, when challenging things happen to us, it's hard to have empathy. But it can help us connect with others who have been through similar experiences, and be there for them in a truly meaningful way.
  • Give the class the following scenarios to see if they can give you more information on what empathy may mean, and add their responses to the list on the board:
    • Your friend is having a bad day, and you want to do something special for them. You draw them a picture of one of their favorite things to cheer them up.
    • A new girl in class is sitting by herself at lunch, and you decide to go over and talk to her.
  • Explain that these are both stories of empathy. Ask, "How can we add to our definition on the board?"
  • Show the students the book Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall.
  • Explain to them that empathy is about understanding different perspectives. Ask them to try and notice the different perspectives in the story. Write on the board "Red's perspective," "Teacher's perspective," and "Mom's perspective."
  • Read the story to the class.
  • Afterwards, ask them, "How did Red feel? How did his teacher feel? How did his mom feel?"