Wagonload of Compassion

Share individual stories of people in need. Identify what everyone can contribute. Where could we find the needed materials? Together as a group, deliver the donated items to a nearby organization in wagons, if available. Work with the accepting agency to provide further information about the services and supports they provide (examples: donation to a …

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What Should We Do?

Show pictures and/or video of certain situations at school and in the surrounding neighborhood. Examples include: seeing garbage on the floor, an elderly person dropping their cane, a person not able to get through a door because their hands are full, a child crying or looking sad, or classmates arguing or fighting. Hold a classroom …

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Structured Academic Controversy

An opportunity to explore controversial issues and divergent positions and work to reach consensus on what may have happened– highlighting the complexities of particular perspectives, opinions and events. Have youth argue one side of an argument and then have them switch sides before negotiating an agreement between the two sides. The controversial issues can be …

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Socratic Seminar

Titled after the Greek philosopher, Socratic dialogue transforms a student’s learning experience by allowing youth to generate and express their own ideas via the teacher asking questions as their primary method of instruction. It is collaborative, intellectual dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a topic, text, or issue. When done purposefully, the outcome is improved …

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Snack Meditation

Opportunities to share healthy snacks together builds community. Everyone begins eating together, often marking the time with a simple shared message. Parents or teachers can assist our youth in appreciating where our food comes from, asking what part of the snack took the longest time to grow, how the snack is helping our bodies, what …

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Web of Life

Youth sit in a circle, often at a transition point in the day. Holding a ball of yarn, they share one thing (something they like to do, someplace they have been,  something they learned recently) . Then they throw the ball to someone else while they hold on to their bit of yarn. The next …

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Think Pair Listen Share

Have youth think individually and record their views about a particular issue. Then have them share their ideas with one another. Teachers/parents can foster careful listening by having youth be responsible for representing their partners in a group share-out and discussion. The act of sharing another person’s ideas builds compassion and collaboration. By entrusting our …

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Seeds of Empathy

An international evidence-based early childhood (age 3-5 years) program started in Canada in 2005 as the “younger sibling” of the Roots of Empathy K-8 program. The mission is to raise social/emotional understanding and literacy, and develop empathy in the youngest of children. See: