Usually around the holidays, we all start talking about thankfulness, and giving, and acts of service, and everything else. And even though WE SAY we're going to keep it up all year, we sort of don't. It slides. Carla at Comprehension Connections runs a regular gig called Thematic Thursdays- and this week it's about Celebrating Gifts of the Heart. Seemed like a perfect time for me to link up and share out some thoughts.
As an IBPYP school- we are meant to be teaching children empathy, and in particular, empathy on a global scale that would inspire an action project. When I taught second grade- teaching empathy really came down to really hitting that idea of "caring hearts" and "kind deeds". Now teaching fifth grade- all these kids are great at saying what IS caring, and what IS kind- but they aren't the greatest at DOING caring and kind to everyone. And they are great kids- but they just don't "get" what empathy is.
Here is a video I show my kids to try to help them make a connection:
But I also know that there are lots of different charities that do similar events where you pay to donate different types of livestock to villages to help them not only nutritionally, but also to set up an economic system where they can survive selling fresh eggs or goat's milk, for example.
My city kids are fascinated by the idea of giving someone a goat. Mostly because they initially imagine the goat being mailed, and someone unwrapping one. Which is not what happens- but it is a charming visual.
I also know that there are plenty of people out there with arguments against participating in these programs for a myriad of reasons. So, I simply say, educate yourself on both sides of the issue before doing anything like this. I merely offer it at a jumping board for other ideas of how giving is not limited to a pair of socks and a tube of toothpaste (though your local homeless shelter would love donations of socks- as that is the one item most overlooked during the holiday season when people donate goods).
If we don't show our kids what it looks like to be charitable (because we are feeling empathy for someone) how will they know what it is? We know kids learn better by doing - this is a great vocabulary lesson to follow up with some hands-on practice.
What do you do in your classroom to help promote empathy and acts of service with your students?
The Meek Moose would love to know.
Also- be sure to check out all the other great link's on Carla's page by clicking the picture below. And add your own post if you've got a great idea to share!