Friday, July 29, 2016

Showing Compassion

One of my most popular classroom lessons this past year was a character education lesson on compassion. My objectives through this lesson were for students to understand the definition of compassion, understand that showing compassion may inspire others to do the same, and correctly identify behaviors that show compassion towards others.

compassion-when we show or tell others that we care how they feel 

I began the lesson by getting student feedback on what compassion means to them. After providing my definition for purposes of the lesson, I read the story Bernice Gets Carried Away, by Hannah E. Harrison. (You can check out some of Hannah's other wonderful books here.)

This story involves a cat named Bernice who, quite literally, gets carried away after repeatedly not getting her way during a friend's birthday party. Eventually, Bernice realizes what she must do in order to return to the party-show compassion and acknowledge that there are others who are having a worse day than her. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I enjoyed the moment when students realized the double definition of 'getting carried away'. :) 

Afterwards, I de-briefed the story with students, and had them share new ideas for showing compassion to friends, family, teachers, etc. 

I then asked students if it was possible to show compassion to people we don't even know. We discussed making donations, helping younger students in our school, etc. I then showed them the following YouTube video, entitled 'Kindness Boomerang'. 

Students really enjoyed this video. I made sure to process afterwards, seeing if students could recall the acts of compassion that they saw, as well as acknowledge why the video was entitled Kindness Boomerang-due to the acts of kindness or compassion coming back to the gentleman who got it started. I then posted the video on my website for students who wanted to re-watch it at home. 

DATA! I used 'Exit Tickets' to be sure that students met the lesson objectives. Each Exit Ticket included two questions, and I differentiated the tickets for K-2 and 3-5. View a sample of each below.

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