Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Different Perspectives and Showing Empathy

"How Do I Stand in Your Shoes?"

The purpose of this lesson is to teach children the importance of taking the perspective of others and showing empathy. I always love to have fun when teaching my little ones and I thought I would try a new method of presenting my lesson through Prezi, which is a cool and updated version of a slide show. You can insert videos, pictures, etc. just like a slideshow you would present through PowerPoint; however, Prezi offers a little more pizzazz! 

My Prezi Slide Show on Empathy

I hope you enjoy using the Prezi slide show I created in your classroom! 

To start the lesson, we looked at several pictures that could be looked at in different ways. Here are just a few…

Old or Young Woman?

Do you see a landscape or a baby? 

 Which one is right?

The kids had a blast discussing these pictures! It was also a lot of fun to hear their different perspectives and thoughts about each picture.


This video is a fun way to discuss the word "empathy". Although it's a Sesame Street video, my 4th grade students even got a kick out of it.


If you have not seen the "Wilting Rose" by YouthLight, Inc., go to this link. I would highly recommend purchasing it for your counseling program. It can be used in many different ways. I used it in this lesson to practice our "empathy" techniques. 

To start the activity, I began bullying the rose and telling it, "You stink!", "You're an ugly color!", "Nobody wants you!", etc. Each time I said something negative, I would make the flower wilt. (It's a "magic" rose, so the kids are totally amazed when it droops!) We talked about how the rose feels just by looking at its body structure. This is a great opportunity to discuss body language and watching other people's reactions to know how to respond to their feelings. We discussed ways we could show it empathy and how using our positive words would make it feel better. Therefore, the kids started giving examples of how to make the rose feel better. They would say things like, "You're beautiful!", "You smell nice!", "I like your color.", etc. Every time the kids would say something nice, the flower would perk up. The kids LOVED this activity!
After our empathy activity, I read the book "How Do I Stand in Your Shoes?" by Susan DeBell. This is a great book to read with the younger students; however, for my older students, I read, "Stand in My Shoes" by Bob Sornson.


We created a circle and put our feet in the middle. We talked about our shoes and how they are all unique and different, just like each one of us. We also talked about how each person has a special story. It's called their "Life Story". We discuss the importance of their "Life Stories" and how equally important it is to show empathy to each other's life story because we never know what someone is going through.
I brought in different shoes from home and gave each one a character. For example, I would hold up one of the shoes and say something like, "This one belongs to the janitor of a school and each day the kids at his school would show disrespect by throwing paper on the floor and not picking up after themselves. Were those kids showing 'empathy' to their janitor? What are some ways the kids could show their janitor 'empathy'?" This gave students the opportunity to see things from another person's perspective. It also gave them another avenue to practice their empathy skills. 

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