Empathy & Inclusion

“The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig

In this lesson, Ms. Shaw talks all about what it means to be included and why it is so important to include others. Ms. Shaw talks about what it looks, sounds, and feels like when people are included. Ms. Shaw also reads the story, “The Invisible Boy,” which tells the story of a boy who goes from being excluded at his school to included. Students are encouraged to consider how they can include others by drawing an example of one thing they can do to include others.

“We’re All Wonders” by R. J. Palacio

In this lesson, Ms. Shaw reads the picture book version of the bestseller, “Wonder,” by R. J. Palacio. “We’re All Wonders” is a beautiful story about empathy, acceptance, and kindness. Ms. Shaw focuses on empathy and discusses what it means and ways we can show empathy for others. This lesson also includes an “Everybody Needs Empathy” coloring sheet to download as well as a relaxation technique using a calm down glitter jar to practice taking slow and deep breaths.

“You, Me, and Empathy” by Jayneen Sanders

In this lesson, Ms. Shaw talks all about empathy by teaching about the two key components of empathy: 1) understanding and 2) caring for how someone else is feeling. Ms. Shaw reads a great book that teaches all about empathy. Afterwards, Ms. Shaw helps students practice the two parts of empathy. First, with feelings cards, students practice identifying how someone is feeling. Next, students are invited to do an empathy craft to explore how they can show empathy to others. Some of the ideas Ms. Shaw offers include using encouraging words, offering to help, giving a hug, and more.

“How Full Is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

Kitty is back to talk to students all about being a “Bucket Filler”! In this lesson, we learn that each of us has an invisible bucket. Throughout each day, every interaction we have either fills or empties our bucket. And when we do something to fill someone else’s bucket, our’s even gets filled, too! Ms. Shaw and Kitty talk about ways we can be “Bucket Fillers” by filling the buckets of our friends, families, teachers, and others. This lesson also includes a “mindful moment” technique on kindness.

“Be Kind” by Pat Zietlow Miller

“Be Kind”—our school theme and something that is more important than ever! In this lesson, Ms. Shaw reads a wonderful book that teaches children the power of kindness. Ms. Shaw also shares some ideas for ways students can spread kindness right now, including this kindness calendar. This lesson also includes a breathing strategy and “mindful moment” technique to practice greeting people with kindness.

“Just Ask!” by Sonia Sotomayor

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and special, different types of people make our world more vibrant and rich. Ms. Shaw reads the story, “Just Ask,” which celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Ms. Shaw challenges students to think about what things make them unique and different from others through a flower craft activity.

“So Many Smarts” by Michael Genhart

You have lots of different Smarts. Some louder, some quieter. Each plays a part. And no one smart is better than another.”

That is an excerpt from the book “So Many Smarts,” which introduces students to a variety of “smarts”—from numbers and word smarts, to people and music smarts—there are so many! Ms. Shaw teaches students that there is no one way to be smart and no smart is better than any other. Using this worksheet, Ms. Shaw challenges students to think about their own smarts—maybe it’s Lego smarts, Minecraft smarts, kindness smarts, or skiing smarts. There are so many smarts!

“Learning with Ernie: Diversity” by Jennifer Robinson

“One isn’t right, one isn’t wrong. We must accept our difference to all get along.”

That’s an excerpt from this wonderful story that uses a rescue dog to teach children important messages of acceptance and love. Ms. Shaw and her dog, Tino (who happens to be the same type of dog as the one in the story!) talk about differences in how people can look and that no matter how someone looks they are worthy of acceptance and love. This lesson also includes a “mindful moment” technique to practice spreading love, kindness, and peace to everyone, starting with ourselves.

“I Am One: A Book of Action” by Susan Verde

In this lesson, Ms. Shaw talks all about kindness. To help students see how they can make a difference, Ms. Shaw does a fun science experiment that illustrates how one small act of kindness can have a big impact. The story in this lesson, “I Am One: A Book of Action,” is also full of examples of how students can make an impact through kindness. Ms. Shaw also invites students to complete Kindness Bingo!

“Say Something” by Peter Reynolds

Our words have so much power! In this lesson, Ms. Shaw talks about our voices and how we can use them for good. The story, “Say Something,” helps us see how we can make a difference by “saying something”—both through our words and through our actions. This lesson includes a Say Something worksheet for students to consider how they can “say something” through the choices they make and the words they use.

“I Am Love: A Book of Compassion” by Susan Verde

“And with love we will weather the storm and light up the sky together.”

That’s how the story, “I am Love,” ends and that’s what Ms. Shaw challenges students to do in this lesson! Ms. Shaw talks about and shows two simple activities students can do at home to spread love in their families, neighborhoods, communities, and to the entire world. 🙂