Resources for Teaching Empathy on Valentine’s Day
Classroom SEL Resources that Come Straight from the Heart
Valentine’s Day is a time for cupid, cards, and candy hearts, but in the classroom, it also presents ample opportunities for social and emotional learning (SEL). In particular, lessons on empathy support CASEL’s core competency of social awareness, while drawing timely connections to the love, friendship, and kindness that Valentine’s Day celebrates.
Below is a list of resources for teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans next week, ones that encourage empathy and Valentine’s Day fun. What are your classroom plans on February 14? Let us know in the comments below!
The Compliments Challenge
In her post on empathy and inclusivity, Special Education Teacher and The Art of Teaching guest blogger Theresa Amoriello describes one of her favorite social and emotional learning activities, the Compliments Challenge. She writes,
“Using whiteboard or sheet of paper, have the students sit one-by-one in the front of the room with their backs facing the board or paper. Then have the students one by one come up and write a compliment about one student. Once everyone has gone you can have the student turn around and read what their friends have written about them. The students do not see who writes what about them, taking away the awkwardness of being put on the spot. The students can see and learn just how unique and special they truly are and their friends see it as well.”
Promoting Empathy in an Inclusive Special Education Classroom
By Theresa Amoriello, Special Education Teacher
Free Resource: The Individual Heart
PBS offers a range of free resources that further support conversations on equity. In this particular lesson, students will listen to stories about stereotyping and consider how those stories make them feel. Students will also share their own experiences and learn the power of kind words.
Bullying:The Heart Exercise for Individuals Lesson Plan | PBS LearningMedia
Help students recognize the power of words and stereotypes with this powerful lesson plan for groups. It helps students…
Connect older students with younger grades at your school through this relationship-building program. In her guest blog, sixth grade teacher Shannon Diven explains the Buddy Up! program she established, and the profound positivity it brought to her school. She writes,
“We started small, with the sixth graders being assigned a first grader for a two-week period. During that two weeks, the first twenty minutes of each day were spent sitting side by side and reviewing sight word flash cards; the older student held the cards and kept a record of how the younger student performed. The sixth graders were responsible for showing up on time with all of the materials — the cards, the record sheet, a pencil, etc. and the younger students were responsible for coming to school on time and reviewing their words at home, so they could improve their scores. I never would’ve believed that this one activity could have such a significant impact on my students!”
Buddy Up! The Benefits of Pairing Learners from Different Grades
By Shannon Diven, 6th Grade Teacher
The Science of Love and Empathy
Valentine’s Day and empathy are also welcome in science class. Share with your students the biological and psychological origins of love, empathy, and kindness. They will learn about mirror neurons, the evolutionary advantage of empathy, and how showing kindness can make you happier.
The Psychology of Emotional and Cognitive Empathy
Experts in the field of social neuroscience have developed two theories in an attempt to gain a better understanding of…
Your students will enjoy this free, printable Valentine cards that they can cut out, color, and share. Ask your students to create their own Valentines that center on kindness and empathy. Share what they came up with in the comments below!