During the holiday season and beyond understanding the feelings of others is so important.
I Know That Feeling!: On Empathy (K-5)
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Update: Today/this week/last week/earlier this month, our Social Emotional Learning Coach visited our classroom to talk to us about empathy. We discussed the definitions of empathy and sympathy, and discussed the difference between the two. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of another, while sympathy is feelings of pity or sorrow for another's misfortune. Crow Boy, by Taro Yashima, OR The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, served as a mentor text and a short video from Sesame Street demonstrated the concept beautifully: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_1Rt1R4xbM
We also reviewed five steps to strengthen empathic development - Observe, Remember, Imagine, Ask, & Show - and applied our learning to hypothetical scenarios. For continuity at home, consider asking your child to tell you the difference between empathy and sympathy and to tell you about the steps in greater detail. A simple, yet powerful way to practice empathy with young people is to simply observe : look at others' faces, their body language, and listen to what they're saying -- or not saying. A trip to the grocery store can serve as a rich setting for this practice: we're sure to cross paths with happy, friendly shoppers, and those that are less so. Reflecting out loud on what you observed with your child might sound like: "The woman checking out our groceries had a smile on her face and told us to have a great day. She made me smile, too!" or perhaps, "I noticed the man in the bakery aisle had a mad look on his face and his tone didn't feel very friendly when he asked us to make room for his shopping cart. I wonder why he's having those feelings."