6 Ways of Teaching Empathy to Kids in the Classroom
2021 Editors note: While this blog was written in 2019, we believe these activities can be used online with classes, or at home with families. To learn more about Red Nose Day in School's remote-friendly lessons, head here.
We believe you’re never too young to help impact change, and we believe it starts with fostering empathy in the classroom. But how do you go about teaching empathy to kids?
That’s where we come in: Red Nose Day in School is here to help!
In collaboration with Scholastic, we’ve created an entire program focused on teaching empathy to kids in the classroom while fine-tuning SEL and ELA skills for grades 2 - 5. So follow along with the guide below or get started with our lesson plans on teaching empathy activities now!
1. Practice Empathy Year-Round
This year, we’re talking a lot about Everyday Heroes. But what does that really mean?
An Everyday Hero in your classroom is a child who makes a difference in their school community and in the lives of children in need, of course!
With Red Nose Day in School, your students can – nay, will – become Everyday Heroes.
Kindness is contagious. Using our empathy-building activities year-round will inspire students to take action and realize their potential to make a positive impact.
Just take a look at how others are using Red Nose Day in School to build empathy in the classroom:
2. Show and Tell
They say “empathy is seeing with eyes of another,” and in this digital age, video is one of the best ways to show students how poverty impacts children in America and around the world.
Join Ed Sheeran, Paul Rudd, Ludacris, Jack Black and more as they explore the issues of child poverty. You can pair these videos with the Red Nose Day in School lessons, or use them as stand-alone teaching tools!
3. Learn real-world examples of how we’re changing lives
We don’t have to tell you – there are so many benefits to reading! And by reading our real-world examples of how poverty affects children, and how Red Nose Day is changing and saving lives, your students will learn the issues through these stories. These lesson plans will build empathy, too – by helping them understand the experiences of others.
You can check out these lesson plans here!
4. Have an Open Discussion
There are few things more effective than good ole’ open dialogue. After learning about the different issues surrounding child poverty, students will build empathy by sharing their thoughts and feelings and hearing about the perspectives of others.
5. Actions Can Speak Louder than Words
Having an open dialogue can lead to a discussion about taking action. And the good news? There’s so much students can do. With the Red Nose Day in School writing lesson, students can use the power of words to help impact change in their communities by writing letters to local elected officials. It’s a great way to put their newfound empathy to good work, all while working on writing and research skills.
6. Raise Some Laughs ...and Some Money
After learning, your students will want to take direct action to help solve the issues of child poverty, and this is a great, practical step they can take to make a difference. Luckily, we have everything you need to make it a success!
This year, we launched the “Joke-Ha-Thon” -- the funniest fundraiser of all time. It gives students the opportunity to tell and sell their best jokes within their classrooms, schools, and communities to spread some much-needed joy and raise some life-changing cash for children in need.
Want to learn more? Let Kate Mckinnon break it down for you :
How do you foster empathy in the classroom? Let us know by tagging @RedNoseDayUSA and #RedNoseDayinSchool