TeachersFirst's Resources Related to Empathy

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Empathy is our desire and ability to understand and share another person’s feelings and use that information to guide our actions. It’s the foundation of respect and inclusivity and is an essential component of relationship building, resolving interpersonal conflicts, and understanding cause and effect. In this collection, we share resources that will help you create lessons and experiences that cultivate empathy in your students and informational websites about this important topic.

 

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Whiteness Project: Millenials in Dallas, Texas - Whitney Dow

Grades
9 to 12
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The Whiteness Project features a series of interviews with millennials from Dallas, Texas. The short video interviews share their understanding of their whiteness. At the end of each...more
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The Whiteness Project features a series of interviews with millennials from Dallas, Texas. The short video interviews share their understanding of their whiteness. At the end of each interview, a statistic providing context is shared to encourage the viewing audience's self-reflection. View all of the statistics used on the site by selecting the data link at the top of the page.

tag(s): character education (68), civil rights (142), cross cultural understanding (150), cultures (116), difficult conversations (37), empathy (24), racism (58)

In the Classroom

The Whiteness Project provides a unique and interesting resource for introducing and discussing difficult topics in the classroom, including racism, prejudice, bias, and empathy. Share this site with students and provide them time to listen to some of the conversations and the provided statistics. Encourage students to choose one statistic as a starting point for additional research. For example, one piece of data shared is the number of adults who have two or more races in their background. This provides a starting point for researching race in your community, state, or in the country. As students complete research, ask them to share their findings in a multimedia presentation using a tool like Sway, reviewed here, to add graphs, charts, images, and video that support their findings.

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Spent - Urban Ministries of Durham

Grades
8 to 12
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Spent is an online game that teaches the challenges of poverty and the difficult choices facing low-income earners. Throughout the game, players make choices related to income options...more
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Spent is an online game that teaches the challenges of poverty and the difficult choices facing low-income earners. Throughout the game, players make choices related to income options and spending needs. Choices include decisions that affect the health, education, and living conditions of the player's family. The game ends when you run out of money or reach the end of the month.

tag(s): character education (68), difficult conversations (37), empathy (24), financial literacy (108)

In the Classroom

Include Spent as a learning resource to include with your lessons on empathy or difficult conversations. Ask students to spend time playing Spent as a way to explore how choices they make affect their living situation. Ask students to take a screen recording of a difficult choice they make while playing Spent and discuss their thinking behind the option chosen. Use Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, to record and share student's recordings. If you teach older high school students, use Spent to introduce a research unit into understanding poverty in your community. Have students share their learning using multimedia presentation tools like Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, or Visme, reviewed here.

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Making it Meaningful: Interrupting Biased Comments in the Classroom - Rosalind Wiseman

Grades
K to 12
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How do you address racially insensitive, homophobic, or other biased comments in your classroom? This article shares tips for handling these comments through immediate responses that...more
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How do you address racially insensitive, homophobic, or other biased comments in your classroom? This article shares tips for handling these comments through immediate responses that turn into teachable moments. Whether you only have time for a quick response, or if you have time for a more meaningful lesson, these ideas provide opportunities to turn the comments into moments for reflection and change.

tag(s): bullying (56), character education (68), difficult conversations (37), empathy (24), identity (21), racism (58)

In the Classroom

All classrooms face difficult conversations at some point; bookmark this article to use as inspiration on how to address those moments and help students understand and develop empathy for others. Even if you don't have time for an extended lesson, encourage students to think beyond the moment by creating a Padlet, reviewed here, that curates and shares resources based upon your conversation. For example, one topic discussed in the article is "bonding" teasing and "annoying" teasing. Ask students to share examples of teasing in a Padlet that has columns for each form discussed. Use FlipGrid, reviewed here, as a platform for discussing difficult moments and ask students to share ways to handle biased or insensitive comments.

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Understanding Empathy - Tolerance.org

Grades
2 to 6
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This lesson provides activities for upper elementary students to help them understand the meaning of empathy and includes activities that help them identify ways to become more empathetic....more
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This lesson provides activities for upper elementary students to help them understand the meaning of empathy and includes activities that help them identify ways to become more empathetic. The lessons include real-life situations that ask students to put themselves into others' positions and then rewrite scenarios that demonstrate how others show empathy. Registration on Tolerance.org isn't necessary to print and use materials found in this lesson; however, it allows you to bookmark favorite lessons for use later.

tag(s): bullying (56), character education (68), empathy (24)

In the Classroom

Include this lesson and others found at Tolerance.org as part of your teaching the character trait of empathy. Engage students as you gather responses to questions using Google Jamboard, reviewed here. Post a question onto your Jamboard, then share the link with students and ask them to add sticky notes onto the board with their response. Have students return to the Jamboard throughout your activities to modify or add additional responses. Use the extension activities to encourage students to produce and create scenarios that teach younger students about empathy. Have students use the tools found at Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, to create short video presentations, flyers, and engaging web pages to share.
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Developing Empathy - Tolerance.org

Grades
5 to 9
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Developing Empathy is a middle school lesson plan that teaches students how to build and put empathy into practice. The essential questions focus on students reflecting upon their ability...more
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Developing Empathy is a middle school lesson plan that teaches students how to build and put empathy into practice. The essential questions focus on students reflecting upon their ability to empathize with others and practice using this character trait with fellow students. This lesson includes printable worksheets for students, including a self-evaluation and practice activity cards.

tag(s): bullying (56), character education (68), empathy (24)

In the Classroom

Include this lesson with others as you teach the character trait of empathy and incorporate these ideas into lessons about bullying and bias. As you begin your lesson with the essential questions, use a digital question response site such as Answer Garden, reviewed here, to share student responses. This site offers the opportunity to look at the entire class's responses while still allowing students to provide anonymous thoughts. Take advantage of the suggested extension activities to allow students to use their creativity to share their understanding of empathy in various ways. Some tool suggestions for the extension activities are to create comics using ToonyTool, reviewed here, share videos created with Powtoon, reviewed here, or publish podcasts using Buzzsprout, reviewed here.
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Start Empathy Toolkit - Ashoka

Grades
K to 12
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The Start Empathy Toolkit provides a roadmap and materials for teaching empathy to students in all grades. The 85-page downloadable PDF guide focuses on three steps to learning - Prepare,...more
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The Start Empathy Toolkit provides a roadmap and materials for teaching empathy to students in all grades. The 85-page downloadable PDF guide focuses on three steps to learning - Prepare, Engage, and Reflect & Act. Lessons included in the toolkit have suggested time, directions, appropriate grade levels, and materials needed.

tag(s): emotions (44), racism (58), social and emotional learning (37)

In the Classroom

Include lessons and materials found on this site within your classroom to develop empathy and community. Engage students in your activities by creating word clouds of words that promote empathy and understanding using a word cloud creation tool such as WordClouds, reviewed here. Develop those words even further by using Answer Garden, reviewed here, as an anonymous answer response tool. For example, one activity focuses on Appreciating Those Behind the Scenes. Create an Answer Garden poll for students to share specific ideas on those that help behind the scenes and ways to express appreciation for their work. Extend student learning by asking them to create and share ways for others to demonstrate empathy. Provide options for students to create videos using Adobe Spark Video Creator, reviewed here, design digital books using Book Creator, reviewed here, or write a poem using the Poem Generator, reviewed here.
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Activities for Teaching the 3 Kinds of Empathy - Samantha Du Preez

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K to 12
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Understand the three different forms of empathy and teach students how to respond appropriately using the information shared in this article. As the author describes the different forms...more
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Understand the three different forms of empathy and teach students how to respond appropriately using the information shared in this article. As the author describes the different forms of empathy (cognitive, emotional, and compassionate), she also suggests activities broken into different grade levels using resources found on Everfi, reviewed here.

tag(s): character education (68), emotions (44), social and emotional learning (37)

In the Classroom

Use this article to show students how to develop empathy for others and provide appropriate emotional support to those in need. Engage students in learning about the different forms of empathy by creating mind maps using a creation tool such as Whimsical Mind Maps, reviewed here, to provide a visual representation of how to support others in distress. If you teach younger students, help them understand emotions by creating word clouds at WordClouds, reviewed here, using words provided by students that describe feelings. Extend learning further by creating a Padlet, reviewed here, divided into three columns representing each form of empathy. Ask students to share ideas on recognizing the different forms and methods for showing compassion towards others.

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Developing Empathy - Equality and Human Rights Comission

Grades
8 to 12
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This high school level lesson teaches the development of empathy through role-play activities. The activities include slides and student worksheets to download as PDF documents. In...more
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This high school level lesson teaches the development of empathy through role-play activities. The activities include slides and student worksheets to download as PDF documents. In addition to the lesson, extension activities include suggestions for examining your school's anti-bullying policy and ideas to differentiate instruction based upon students' literacy skills.

tag(s): character education (68), emotions (44), social and emotional learning (37)

In the Classroom

Include this lesson with others as part of character education and empathy activities. The starter activity includes students sharing a time they experienced different feelings. Use AnswerGarden, reviewed here, to post each question and ask students to share their response. This allows students to answer anonymously while still creating a visual word cloud with responses. Copy the embed code to include each of the word clouds on your class website or share using your AnswerGarden poll's link. Include all of the polls within one collaborative Wakelet collection, reviewed here, that includes students' responses to the other lesson activities including written reflections, analysis of your school's bullying policy, and discussions of how to recognize and encourage empathy in others.
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Be Fearless Be Kind - Hasbro Children's Fund

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K to 5
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Be Fearless Be Kind is an empathy toolkit (PDF with lots of links) developed to help kids become "change-makers" through fostering not only empathy, but leadership, creative problem...more
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Be Fearless Be Kind is an empathy toolkit (PDF with lots of links) developed to help kids become "change-makers" through fostering not only empathy, but leadership, creative problem solving, and teamwork. You'll first find a definition of empathy and why it is important. Then comes the nitty-gritty to use in the classroom: videos, projects, lesson plans, and activities. Some categories include Build the Foundation, Identify Feelings, Self-Regulation, Practice Perspective-Taking, Self-Awareness, Use Problem-Solving Procedures, and several more. All have many resources for you to use with your students.

tag(s): bullying (56), conflict resolution (9), emotions (44), empathy (24), problem solving (281), school violence (14), social and emotional learning (37), social skills (28)

In the Classroom

Be sure to investigate the abundance of resources and information shared in this free toolkit for use in classroom lessons on social and leadership skills, empathy, and problem-solving. Several portions in the booklet include scenarios and questions for discussions. Extend student learning by challenging student groups to create weekly podcasts addressing common social issues along with suggestions for dealing with them. Podcast Generator, reviewed here, offers free tools for podcasting. Use the resources and suggestions with character education activities throughout the year. Share ideas from this site with parents to use at home with their children. Create a class (or school) bulletin board with examples of students demonstrating empathy.

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Teaching with Testimony - Discovery Education and USC Shoah Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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Engage students through the use of testimonials of holocaust and genocide survivors as a guide for planning for a better future. Teaching with Testimony provides several activities...more
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Engage students through the use of testimonials of holocaust and genocide survivors as a guide for planning for a better future. Teaching with Testimony provides several activities for middle and high school students that use first-hand testimonies as the starting point for lessons in empathy, injustice, immigration, and more. Download the standards-based lesson plans that include lesson procedures, student handouts, background biographies, and all additional materials related to the lesson.

tag(s): character education (68), civil rights (142), emotions (44), empathy (24), holocaust (45), immigration (71), social and emotional learning (37)

In the Classroom

Be sure to view these free materials to use as a supplement to your current social studies lessons and character education activities, including empathy. These materials also are an excellent way to demonstrate the use of primary sources as a learning tool. As you build supplemental materials to include with these activities, use Padlet, reviewed here, for you and your students to curate online information instead of sharing a list of links. Use Padlet's shelf option to organize your resources by topic. For example, divide your Padlet into sections for biographies, videos, newspapers, and books related to the resource studied. Enhance learning when sharing online articles for students to view together by using Fiskkit, reviewed here, as a collaborative study tool. Fiskkit offers the ability to collaborate by adding highlights, tags and comments on information, and to label information as true or false. As a final project and to extend learning, ask students to use Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, to share their projects demonstrating their inspiration for the future. Adobe Spark offers a variety of creation tools, making it easy to provide options for students to choose how to share their learning. Provide students the option to create a video, build a webpage, or create a series of custom graphics as part of a multimedia presentation.
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Reading Treks: Every Single Second - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 8
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TeachersFirst Reading Treks create a virtual field trip of resources about a piece of literature or text using the My Maps feature of Google Maps. This Reading Trek provides inspiration...more
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TeachersFirst Reading Treks create a virtual field trip of resources about a piece of literature or text using the My Maps feature of Google Maps. This Reading Trek provides inspiration and suggestions for using the trade book, Every Single Second. In Every Single Second Nella lives in a blue-collar, Little Italy neighborhood where her life is changing as racism is tearing apart her community. This book is a coming-of-age story with an examination of change. Nella learns every second matters and the importance of empathy and kindness. Use our robust Instructional Guide with students in grades 5-9. Content correlates to Common Core Standards, ISTE Student Standards, National Core Arts Standards for Visual Arts, and National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. Find the entire selection of Reading Treks here.

tag(s): character education (68), empathy (24), family (60), racism (58), virtual field trips (77)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many suggested classroom uses for this resource found on the Instructional Guide (PDF). Include this Reading Trek as part of lessons in empathy, racism, and character traits. Consider using content from the book as an inspiration to have students create a timeline of their friends. Find a variety of free online timeline creation tools located here. Using the map and locales, trace and then calculate distances for some Little Italy locations. Use Google My Maps, reviewed here to create and share custom maps.
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Global Youth Perspectives - Global Oneness Project

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K to 12
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This collection from the Global Oneness Project includes a series of lessons based on stories of youth around the world, ranging from preschoolers to 12th grade. The films and images...more
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This collection from the Global Oneness Project includes a series of lessons based on stories of youth around the world, ranging from preschoolers to 12th grade. The films and images provide perspectives on the daily lives of the featured youth, along with their future hopes. Search this site to find photos, articles, and videos used to explore various issues spanning the world. Each lesson includes a correlation to National Teaching Standards and additional resources for exploration. Registration on the site isn't required to access the lessons; however, it allows you to add materials to an account as favorites to find easily. Sign up for the newsletter to receive more free lesson plans, stories, videos, and more to go along with spreading cultural awareness.

tag(s): africa (156), alaska (26), anthropology (12), cross cultural understanding (150), cultures (116), empathy (24), india (30), middle east (44), native americans (86), Project Based Learning (9), psychology (66), scotland (7), south africa (11), south america (40)

In the Classroom

Utilize these free lesson ideas and videos to incorporate into any lessons on tolerance, empathy, culture, and to bring a personal touch to learning about nations around the world. Consider using the embed code found in each video and add the video to your class website for students to view at home before your lesson. Ask students to provide a short response to the video on an online bulletin board like Pinside, reviewed here, then use these responses to guide your lesson. The following ideas lend themselves to using this resource for project-based learning or blended learning: As part of students' ongoing research, share iCyte Education, reviewed here, to use as a browser add-on. iCyte Education allows you to save portions of online information and create the proper citation using just a couple of clicks. Enhance learning by using information learned to create infographics with Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here. Instead of a typical report or assessment at the end of your unit extend students' learning by having them use Story Maps, reviewed here, to build a virtual field trip to tell the story of students in other cultures. Include links to articles, videos, student-created infographics, and more.

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@stake - Engagement Lab Emerson College

Grades
8 to 12
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@stake is an online game for 3-5 players (all in the same room) to build creativity and empathy through small group deliberations. Set up the game following prompts on the ...more
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@stake is an online game for 3-5 players (all in the same room) to build creativity and empathy through small group deliberations. Set up the game following prompts on the site. Begin by choosing a stakeholder deck from the four options. Share the game code with players to enter the room. The game consists of three rounds of discussion and debate ending with the choice of the best idea shared from the group's deliberations.

tag(s): creativity (111), emotions (44), empathy (24), game based learning (160), social and emotional learning (37), social skills (28)

In the Classroom

Use this game as part of any lessons on persuasion and empathy. Use the four options from the card deck as models to create your own role play game using different situations specific to your students. For example, debate the use of mobile devices in your classroom or the ability to go off campus for lunch. This could be done easily by writing the Deciders role cards out on 3x5 cards and using a timer. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create the cards using a Google doc, reviewed here. An alternative would be to allow your "techies" and or gifted students to modify their technology use and create a game using Twine, reviewed here, or Quest, reviewed here. These two tools create text-based interactive games. Have school counselors use @stake to model non-confrontational methods for problem-solving and deliberation.

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Peekapak - Ami Shah and Angie Chan

Grades
K to 3
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Peekapak teaches social-emotional skills, including self-regulation, gratitude, and respect, through short teaching units. Each unit contains an introductory story, classroom activities,...more
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Peekapak teaches social-emotional skills, including self-regulation, gratitude, and respect, through short teaching units. Each unit contains an introductory story, classroom activities, and activities for learning at home with parents. The entire curriculum contains ten units aligned to English Language Arts standards; the free version comes with access to their original stories and one introductory lesson per unit.

tag(s): emotions (44), empathy (24), preK (278), social and emotional learning (37), social skills (28), Special Needs (44)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free materials provided by Peekapak to introduce or reinforce social-emotional lessons including character traits such as empathy in your classroom. Share the included digital books on classroom computers. After your lessons, enhance classroom technology by having students contribute to an online bulletin board of the important terms they learned from this site using a tool such as Dotstorming, reviewed here. Then ask students to vote on each word they agree with. Tally up the votes. At this point, you can create a word cloud of the words or allow students to create their own using a tool such as Word Clouds for Kids, reviewed here.

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Darfur is Dying - Games For Change

Grades
7 to 12
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Step inside the life of a Darfurian refugee with this narrative-based simulation. Start by choosing a Darfurian to represent your camp, then begin by foraging for water while avoiding...more
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Step inside the life of a Darfurian refugee with this narrative-based simulation. Start by choosing a Darfurian to represent your camp, then begin by foraging for water while avoiding death by the militia. Fulfill other tasks throughout the experience including collecting food, building shelter, and staying healthy. Along the way learn facts and information about the genocide that has taken place in Darfur throughout the years.

tag(s): africa (156), character education (68), empathy (24)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students as part of any study of Sudan or Africa. This site also fits well into any unit on character traits such as empathy for others. Facts and information on the site are from 2006, ask students to research and update and statistics of life in Darfur. Create a class wiki with information about Darfur and other refugee situations. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. If your community has someone with first-hand knowledge of the refugee situation, invite them to speak to your class. Have students transform their learning by creating a timeline (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Timeline JS, reviewed here, to illustrate events leading up to this crisis or the events that have occurred since 2006.
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Big Ideas Video Series - Class Dojo

Grades
K to 8
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The Big Ideas Series, offer by ClassDojo, provides nine video topics encouraging students to explore different ways to healthy social emotional development. The videos discuss concepts...more
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The Big Ideas Series, offer by ClassDojo, provides nine video topics encouraging students to explore different ways to healthy social emotional development. The videos discuss concepts such as Empathy, Perseverance, Positive Thinking, Gratitude, Mindfulness, and more. Each topic has a series of short videos and includes a discussion guide to download for classroom use and a page with take-home questions for parent use. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): brain (65), emotions (44), empathy (24), learning styles (19), social and emotional learning (37), social skills (28)

In the Classroom

You may want to start your school year by sharing the three part video series on Empathy. Each video is five minutes and has a discussion guide. As a follow up use the Ripples of Kindness activity in small groups. Share younger students' observations on a whiteboard or poster. Older students can share their observations using a tool like Dotstorming, reviewed here. Dotstorming allows participants to add comments Share other videos with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard to introduce a video each week and explore the discussion questions together. These videos could be very useful when preparing and motivating students for upcoming standardized testing or at the beginning of a school year to set a tone that everyone can learn. Include a link to videos on your class web page for parents to discuss at home with their student, and be sure to send home the take-home questions with topics to talk about.
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