Empathy - 1

Basic

Lesson Plan

Goal: In social situations, the student will exhibit empathy in 8 out of 10 times, as measured by a teacher assessment tool.

Objectives:
1. Identify an action that demonstrates understanding of empathy.
2. Define the meaning of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”.
3. Identify up to 2 nonverbal cues that help determine how others are feeling.

Definition of Key Terms: Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another person. Empathy means you try to understand how someone is feeling and you try to see a situation from their point of view.

Discussion Points

  • Have you ever felt sad when a friend or family member was feeling sad? How did it make you feel when they were sad?
  • How does it make you feel when you’re laughing and other people are laughing with you? Now think about how it would make you feel if they weren’t laughing with you.
  • Have you ever heard the expression “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes?” What do you think this phrase means?

Directions for In-Person or Virtual Learning: You have three options for students to complete this lesson.

  • Option 1: Print the Student Activity Sheet for each student. Complete the lesson as a group and assign the activity sheet to the students.
  • Option 2: Click the Student link to access the activity sheet electronically and post to your Learning Management System (if your school has one) or send the link to the student. The student may complete the activity sheet electronically within the classroom on a shared computer or device.
  • Option 3: Click the Student link to access the activity sheet electronically and send the link to the student. The student may access the link from a home computer, chromebook, iPad or other device.

Activity 1: Showing Empathy

Share with the students the book We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio. (Available on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/cJurUTRt6as?t=5)

Materials Needed:
  • We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio
  • Student Activity Sheet A - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student

In the story the young boy shares some ways he is the same as other kids. He also shares that he doesn’t look like other kids. Some people make fun of him because he doesn’t look like other kids. Have you ever been hurt by someone making fun of you?

Ask students to share their experiences that might be similar to the boy in the story. Record answers on chart paper or the board. Ask them to think how someone could have shown them empathy or how they can show empathy in situations they may encounter.

Ask students to complete Student Activity Sheet A. When all students have finished, gather them together and discuss their answers.

Student Activity Sheet A

Directions: Read each scenario. Check thumbs up if it demonstrates empathy. Check thumbs down if it does not demonstrate empathy.


Scenario 1:
Donny: Hey Tori, wanna come play soccer with us?
Tori: Sorry, I wish I could but I really hurt my leg the other day. I can’t play soccer but I would love to play another game.
Donny: Geez, that stinks! Oh well, we’re gonna go play see you later!

Scenario 2:
Donny: Hey Tori, wanna come play soccer with us?
Tori: Sorry, I wish I could but I really hurt my leg the other day. I can’t play soccer but I would love to play another game.
Donny: Wow I’m so sorry Jenny, I didn’t realize it was that bad. Hmm, you know what, we don’t have to play regular soccer, we can change the game so you can still play with us. How about we sit on the grass and use our hands to pass the ball back and forth.
Tori: That would be great, I would love that!

Scenario 3:
PJ: Hey Silas, what’s wrong?
Silas: My dog Ellie is lost, we can’t find her anywhere.
PJ: My dog Rex is awesome, he can catch frisbees in the air and he can jump really high! Man I can’t wait til school is over so I can go home and play with him. You can come over and play with him if you’d like.
Silas: Yeah, uh no thanks...

Scenario 4:
PJ: Hey Silas, what’s wrong?
Silas: My dog Ellie is lost, we can’t find her anywhere.
PJ: Aw man, I’m so sorry. Hey do you mind if I come over after school to help you look for her? We can put signs up around town together and ask the neighbors if they’ve seen your dog.
Silas: Really?! Wow, that would be a big help, I didn’t think of that.
PJ: If we work together, I’m sure we’ll find her.

Activity 2: Showing You Care When Someone Is Scared

Read the following book to the students Otis by Loren Long (Available on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/IZn1eKefnhw?t=13)

Materials Needed:
  • Otis by Loren Long
  • Chart Paper or Interactive Board
  • Student Activity Sheet B
  • Pencil for each student

In the story, Otis helped the calf when it was scared. As a class, brainstorm a list of ways you can help others when they are scared. Record answers on chart paper or the board.

Ask students to complete Student Activity Sheet B. When finished have students share their answers and discuss.

Student Activity Sheet B

Directions: Draw a picture to show how you could help a classmate who is scared.

Activity 3: Helping Those Who Are Lonely

Review the key points from Activities 1 and 2. Read the following story to students: The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Available on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/okAJ62ia63Q).

Materials Needed:
  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Discuss the following questions when finished with the story:

  • Why did Brian feel lonely; like an invisible boy?
  • Why did Brian feel lonely; like an invisible boy?
  • What did the kids do that helped Brian begin to feel less lonely?
  • What can you do when you notice someone who feels lonely?

Ask students to share cues that people may display that helps you know how others around you may feel. Be sure to discuss facial expressions, how a body looks (such as standing up tall or slumped over) or acts (such as shying away from something scary) and others.

Application Activity

In small groups, have the students create scripts demonstrating how to appropriately show empathy towards others. Use the script sheet to assist the groups in creating scripts.

Materials Needed:
  • Script sheet for each group
  • Pencil for each student

Have students record their scripts using the SiLAS software. Remind students to name and save their recordings. Premiere the movies with the group members at the end of each session.

Ideas for modifying this activity based on your students’ needs:

  • create a script as a class
  • pair or group students so that skill levels are varied and assign each a role or task that uses their skill
  • create the script by recording the dialog with a phone or other recording device.

Example script of demonstrating empathy inappropriately:
Silas: Hey Chris, we’re all going to jump into the waves are you coming?
Chris: (Scared Look) Ummm…
Silas:Chris!!!...ugh forget it! I wonder what his problem is.
Chris: I don’t know how to swim.
Silas: Really, that’s weird. Everyone knows how to swim in our grade, you should’ve learned by now.”


Example script demonstrating empathy appropriately:
Silas: Hey Chris, we’re all going to jump into the waves are you coming?
Chris:(Scared Look) Ummm…
Silas: (Says to himself) “Hm, I wonder if he knows how to swim or is afraid of big waves."
Silas: Hey Chris, are you ok, is there something wrong?
Chris: I never learned how to swim, my mother couldn’t afford swim lessons. And I’m afraid of the waves.
Silas: Well it’s ok, I’m afraid of the monkey bars and I know you’re really good at those.
Chris: Yeah, I am. I didn’t know you were afraid of the monkey bars.
Silas: You know what, I don’t have to swim now. Why don’t we go play on the playground.
Chris: Sounds good. Thank you!

Topic Checkout

Review the key points from the previous activities, discussions and stories.

Review sample scenarios with students asking them to show thumbs up if the scene described people showing empathy; ask them to show thumbs down if no empathy was shown or described.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Assessment Sheet - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student

Ask students to complete the Student Topic Checkout. Discuss answers after all students have completed the sheet.

Student Topic Checkout

Directions: Circle thumbs up if the statement is correct. Circle thumbs down if the statement is incorrect.


1. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another person.

2. Empathy means you don’t try to understand how someone is feeling.

3. Empathy means you try to see a situation from others point of view.

4. Laughing at someone who is lonely shows empathy.

5. Ignoring how someone feels shows empathy.