Monday, December 23, 2013

Teaching Empathy and Other Social Skills Resources

Taken from Easy Peasy Kids
{Building Empathy in Children: Do you have kind eyes?}  
I'm struggling with this in my classroom this year.  It's tricky to teach kids how to be empathetic.  It's not that my students aren't loving, caring kids.  They are, and they do show it.  But we are also having a really hard time being helpful and supportive and encouraging to each other.  We are very caught up in ourselves and not thinking about other kid's feelings and personalities.  

We can talk about this all day long, and they can give me all the "right" answers.  They can figure things out and tell me how someone is feeling and what they can do.

But when they see a fellow student struggling in class, or someone that is a little different, or they think something that someone said wasn't correct, they suddenly forget everything we've talked about.

I love this video from RSA that shows how to show empathy.

As usual, I've searched my classroom and scoured the web to find resources I could be using.  Here's a few that I'm particularly fond of...

Second Step

My school got the {Second Step program} a few years ago.  It's a super program for bullying prevention and social skills.  I haven't pulled it out in awhile because the edition we have has extremely dated photos.  Like black and white photos from the early 90s, complete with scrunchies, white washed denim, and stirrup pants- and not the cool kind (is there a cool kind?.   Let's just say that what I have looks nothing like the above picture.  My students just do not relate to the pictures.  But the scenarios are wonderful and have led to a ton of excellent discussions in my classroom in the past.  I think it's time to dig it out again and give it a shot.  Or invest in the newer edition which I'm assuming has much better pictures...because I really do like what the program teaches.


Of course, there are other programs out there as well.  This year, our resource room has started using the {SuperFlex program} from Social Thinking with our K-2 kids.  You can attend training and buy the books to help use the program in your school or classroom.  The students learn about different characters that reflect social skills or social difficulties, and then show students how to interact with each other.  Here's an example: {The Un-Wonderer}.  It's really cute and a great way to get students to see traits in each other.

Pinterest (the go-to resource)
Of course I've scoured Pinterest for lessons on {Empathy}.  I'll be trying a few to see how they work for us.

Other Web Resources: PDFs

An amazing 45 page online teachers guide with activities and lessons for teaching Empathy to kids.  Awesome.

How do you show students the real life instances when empathy is needed without embarrassing someone else in the room by making them an example?


Happy Teaching! 

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