Building Empathy Through Writing

Students can write about things they do and then share with others.

Photo of Sharon Taylor
6 1

Written by

CHECK OUT THE UPDATES on the link above.

Walking in another child's shoes.....

To help build empathy the teacher can complete a writing assignment based on student experiences.  Have the students journal what they did either during a particular day of the week or weekend.  Have the students share their writings in class and then do an exchange of experiences.  The students have to use another student's experience and then write about how they would feel if they had done the same thing.  (Example:  student went to CICI's pizza, what did the student order, did he or she have fun, etc...).  Then another student that had a different experience (example:  stayed at home and watched T.V. or played with friends, etc.) These students would exchange their experiences and then write about how the others experience would have made them feel.  The students can also create a play (script) or role-play.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sharon Taylor

The link should be working now. Thanks.

Photo of Megan McMahon

Hi Sharon! I think this is a great idea and I'd love to see what you've started to build out in the google doc--can you adjust the sharing privileges in the doc so that others can also see it and collaborate? : )

Photo of Chuck Holland

I really like this idea. It is so simple to implement, but has the potential to be very powerful. Have you had the opportunity to try this in your class at any point? I wonder if they could add some creativity to the mix by allowing students to create video to capture their thoughts and feelings?

Photo of Marjorie Rehlander

I love a Day in my shoes! I think this is a great literal way to feel empathy, and learn about different perspectives. I have always wondered if images can do this too? Do we all see the same ideas of strength and risk in the same image? Not only for kids but for adults? What experiences do we have that influence our interpretation of these things?

Photo of Erin Quinn

Wouldn't it be interesting to have the students interview one another about an experience, and then describe how it went and felt through writing? And then the students could share back what they had written with the person who they interviewed to see how accurate they were to the actual experience? There could be multiple iteration loops in here, where students get feedback from their subject to continue to iterate their writing. I have found when students think of writing as a "prototype," it shifts their mindset about the editing process.

Photo of Lisa Yokana

This is great-thanks for posting it here. I love the idea of adding role play. How might that add to the empathy experience for students, I wonder? And if you get a chance, adding a photo to your post helps helps others find it. Happy to help if you can't figure that out. I think this would work with all ages of students. What ages have you tried it with? Would love to hear more...