One of the most important things we can teach our little ones is how to be empathetic towards others. Seeing things from someone else’s point of view instead of our own is a skill that not all kids are being shown at home. This collection of books and videos do an awesome job of showing little learners what it means to have empathy and how they can apply this trait in their everyday lives.
Books That Teach Empathy
This small selection of books about empathy pairs extremely well with The Encouraging Classroom curriculum. Each book teaches empathy in a unique way, which will further solidify their understanding of what it truly means to be empathetic. Within The Encouraging Classroom you will also find question and answer sheets that are super helpful post-read if that is something that interests you!
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1. The Invisible Boy by: Trudy Ludwig
This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.
2. I am Human-A Book of Empathy by: Susan Verde
I Am Human affirms that we can make good choices by acting with compassion and having empathy for others and ourselves. When we find common ground, we can feel connected to the great world around us and mindfully strive to be our best selves.
3. Hey, Little Ant by: Phillip and Hannah Hoose
This parable about mercy and empathy asks readers to look at life from an insect’s point of view.
4. Last Stop On Market Street by: Matt de la Pena
This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.
Videos That Teach Empathy
Each of the videos below depicts empathy in a fun and engaging way. You may even find your kids humming along by the end! In The Encouraging Classroom we provide follow-up questions for each of these videos, so class discussion is now easier than ever!
1. Communication Skills: Empathetic Listening – Inside Out
Effective listening skills are the basics of building successful relationships with people. How we engage others in verbal and non-verbal communication, what do we hear behind words, how we understand and empathize the emotions of others, ask questions and clarify the messages — all these contribute to our emotional intelligence and effective social skills, influencing our lives both on a personal and professional level.
Teaching the importance of Empathy through this animated video about how to treat others with respect.
3. Empathy for Students – Episode 1/3
In this three chapter video series on empathy, Mojo and the ClassDojo monsters star in a school musical. But, Mojo’s ego as the director gets in the way!
4. All About Empathy (for kids!)
Today, we will be learning all about empathy! You’ll learn what empathy is, why it’s important, and ways to start practicing empathy with others.
Empathy Activities for the Classroom
We have found that the following activities are extremely valuable when it comes to teaching your kids about empathy in your classroom. All of these activities can be found inside of The Encouraging Classroom full-year curriculum. There are a total of 12 different character traits and each module includes, daily lessons, songs, videos, read alouds with questions, art projects, home connections, and more! You can also find video trainings about Calm Down Corners, Breathing Techniques, Morning Meetings, Self Regulation, Developing Student Relationships, and other great extras within the curriculum!
1. Empathy Scenario Cards
Use these as a tool for a whole group discussion or even writing prompt! There are 8 scenario cards included. Each scenario is relatable to your students and prompts them to decide what they would do if they were faced with the same scenario. We have also included full page scenario card options for you to display on your SMART board. These are great to use for morning meeting discussions!
2. Read and Respond Passages
These read and respond passages include a 1st grade and 2nd grade set with correlating text level complexity. Students can do this independently, in a small group, or whole group with the teacher walking them through the activity. Students read the passage. The passage has a difficult situation with no ending. The students need to decide how to respond to the situation. These are similar to the scenario cards except with a longer passage and guided opportunities to respond with writing.
3. Home Connections
Home connections help bridge the learning that is happening at school and brings it into the home. Home connections are a quick task that all families can do at home with their child(ren) to help reinforce the character focus skill. There is one per week for the entire month.
4. Empathy Paper Dolls
PAPER DOLL CREATION•Print a paper doll body on cardstock for each student.•Print a copy of the emotion faces for each student.•Students color the paper doll and emotion faces. They cut out the faces and paper dolls. Cut around the tabs on the faces so they can be folded over the face on the paper doll body.
USING THE PAPER DOLLS•Students can use the paper doll to tell a story about when they felt different emotions.•Students can show how someone is feeling in a story or real life using the paper doll.•Students can act out scenarios when they are showing empathy using the paper dolls.•Students can write about a time they showed empathy and use the paper doll to help them think about the emotions and feelings involved.