Sunday, February 26, 2017

Are You an Empathetic Listener?



I have a new and exciting activity to help your students learn about kindness and understanding for others. First, a free questionnaire for the class to fill out which will help them to get in touch with  their empathy.

Just a little bit of prep for you:
   1.  If you have 24 students, you’ll need 2 sets of cards numbered 1-12. Cut out the cards and put them all into a bag or box. 
   2. Copy the character traits supplied here, and/or write your own on index cards.

The Lesson:
Ask students if they know what is meant by standing in someone else’s shoes. For example:
   *Tell them that one way they can understand this is by asking 
     themselves how they would feel in the same situation.
    *Ask what behaviors show that you are an empathetic listener.
     They should be able to tell you that an empathetic listener
     makes eye contact, they don’t fidget or interrupt, and they
     ask great follow-up questions, or make 
     appropriate comments.

Freebie Questionnaire
It's time to introduce the questionnaire. Go over the instructions and have them  write their responses. Then let them know that they are empathetic if they answered yes to the majority of the questions. Talk about what they discovered about themselves.
Next:
1.  Each child will pick a number
     card without looking.
     2.  Once everyone has chosen, they must find
          their partner. If you have 25 in your class, 
          one group will consist of 3 
          members. Make sure you’ve prepared for that.
Now the fun begins…
 1. Let them know that they are going to be given 
     a character card and they will become 
     that person have them think about the way
    their character is feeling.
2. Pass out the character cards. Each partner should have a 
    different one.
3. Partner A acts like the character whose role he/she has read, while Partner B listens.
4.  Switch roles
5.  When the role play is finished, partner A tells partner B how
     they did or didn’t show empathy towards them. Use “I” statements, like, ”I could really tell you were listening because you were looking at me the entire time," or "I could tell you cared by the expression on your face."
6. Partner B tells partner A how they felt.

Drum Roll Please...The Culminating Activity
 1. Everyone should return to their desk and remain standing until they've shared something they've learned. Once they've shared, they may sit down.

 2.  For a homework assignment they will write about what they learned. This can also be written as a journal entry.

Here are some role play ideas that you can use, just copy them onto index cards.
*Jose is the star forward on the soccer team. During one of the final  games of the season, he suffered a severe concussion and was told he couldn’t play for the rest of the season.
*Ever since she was a little girl, Maria wanted to be a cheerleader.. During tryouts she fell flat on her face and was so embarrassed. Kids started laughing and worst of all, she didn’t make the cut.
*Mica found out that an old friend of hers spread a nasty rumor about her.
*Shondra was so excited to be part of the school talent show, but tripped during her routine. One of her peers was using her cell to tape the show and posted Shondra’s fall on the Internet that night.
*Lee’s bff told her about a surprise party she was planning to throw for her boyfriend. Lee let the secret out by mistake and now her bff won’t talk to her.
*During a field trip, LeBron was sick to his stomach and threw up all over himself and Juan who was sitting next to him.  Everyone was grossed out.
*Nathan found out that his bff cheated by copying his paper during a math test. 
*Ali, a muslim, moved into your neighborhood and no one wants to hang out with him.

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This post is part of our monthly 3E blogging cooperative where we share ideas
for making Equity, Empathy, and Empowerment a part of your classroom routine. Don't forget to pick up your freebies.


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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lighting the World with Kindness

Did you know that there is a Random Acts of Kindness Week? It runs from February 12 through the 18th. Actually, this is the first I’ve heard of it, but what a groovy way for all of us to unite by being kind to each other.  It begins with one simple act - one hello to a stranger, a simple smile, a pat on the back, a cup of coffee for someone you don’t know. This is a chance for participating individuals to make our world a better one and inspire others to follow suit. 

FREEBIE from Socrates Lantern
Random Acts of Kindness (RAC) is an international non profit foundation that believes a little kindness is the key to helping people make the world a better place to  live. Their goal is to remind people that kindness is a choice.  In light of this, they have free tools to help make kindness a part of our everyday lives. 

Learning about kindness in the classroom is one of the most essential things for children to understand.  Scientific studies have shown that it improves our self-worth and helps us feel that we belong to a group.  It improves our health by lowering blood pressure, while decreasing depression and anxiety. This not only helps the receiver, but it REALLY helps the giver. It’s such a wonderful feeling when you know you’ve done something to make another person feel happier.

When a child is happier and more content, grades will improve, attention span will increase, students will be better able to remain calm during stressful situations, there will be less bullying, drug use, violence and school drop outs.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your classroom and school participated in kindness week. Here’s a video with a link for you to sign up.
https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/rakweekpartners




Here are a few ideas that you can use to get your charges thinking about kindness. 
 1.  Introduce the concept that kindness begins with ONE person. If every 
      ONE person does ONE kind thing for someone else, it would make the
      world a better place.
 2.  Set up a kindness bulletin board and whenever a child does something kind for someone, add their name and what they did. You can cut out large hearts to use for your valentine bulletin board.
 3.  Have students participate in a game where they say kind things to each other. You can then discuss how they felt about receiving a compliment, and how it felt to give one. Later they can write a paper about this.
 4.  Write this phrase on the board..."Walk a mile in my shoes."  Ask what it means and discuss it. Introduce the subject of bullying and pose this question...Have you ever been bullied, or do you know anyone who was bullied. When someone answers, Have a different child view the situation and share what they might have done to defend the person being bullied. Also ask how the bully may have felt. They can then write about this experience.
 5.  Role play different situations that show random acts of kindness. The children can work in groups to write short skits about this.

You may be interested in this resource entitled Caught in the Act of Being Kind.


Caught in the Act of Being Kind @ Socrates Lantern
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This is part of our Teacher Talk Monthly Blog Link-up. Please read what the rest of the teachers have to say for the month of February...





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