~20 minutes

Try ONE of these strategies.  

1. I am a bucket filler!! Lesson

This social-emotional learning lesson gives kids the opportunity to fill each other’s emotional buckets. An interactive, engaging way to teach kids ways to fill someone else’s emotional bucket, and that when you do, you also fill your own.

2. Practice PAC

One way to “switch on” empathy is through curiosity and imagination.  Teach students this protocol and ask them to try it in one interaction this week. At the end of the week ask students to share what they discovered as a result of trying PAC

Pause— interrupt yourself in the flow of blah blah.
Ask — use curiosity and imagination to wonder: What’s going on inside this person?  What are they struggling with?
Care — find in yourself a genuine concern for this other person.

3. Empathy Journal

Try this with yourself and your students. 

Keep a journal for several days this week, and each day write down at least one “incident” where you perceive you did not use enough empathy (in other words, one of those “oops” or even “train wreck” interactions).  

  • In your journal, write a summary of what happened in one sentence.  
  • Then, make a timeline of your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions (TFA).  
  • What were your TFA just before the incident?  During? After?
  • Then, review the journal at the end of the week:
    • What are some patterns you see about yourself when it’s time to empathize?  
    • Which of those patterns are working well for you, which do you want to change?

Summarize your findings to the extent that you feel comfortable doing so. 

4. Parking Ticket Violation

WATCH  the following video. 

This experiment from Soul Pancake highlights the stark difference between sympathy and empathy.

The Parking Ticket Experiment | Soul Pancake (6.48 minutes)

Remember Brené Brown’s video about Empathy? This video illustrates how it works. While you probably can’t give out parking tickets to your students, you can try actively listening and “being in the space” with someone this week. Model it for the students and then ask everyone to take this into their week and try it themselves. 

At the end of the week, have students report back about what they discovered.