Agents of Change - The Empathy Effect

Using student groups to facilitate empathy building activities

Photo of Denise Webster
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Two groups of seventh graders and two groups of eighth graders will be selected to serve as the first cohort of student empathy leaders.    These students will represent a cross section of our student population and who are identified as student leaders.  Starting with a one day summer "camp" students will begin learning about empathy through lessons, activities, and book studies.   This will continue into the first nine weeks of school.  Starting in the second nine weeks, students will begin planning lesson, activities, and school community events to promote empathy among their peers.  

During the third and fourth nine weeks, students in these groups will go into other advisory classrooms to implement the lessons and activities they created about empathy.

The goal of these advisories is to create students leaders who will teach their peers about empathy and serve as examples of what empathy can look like on a regular basis within our school.

Here is my working document with my ideas.

Empathy Resource Template

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Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Hi Denise Webster I love your pitch video! This is a great idea and I look forward to seeing it come to life!

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Hi Denise Webster You're making great progress on building out this idea! I would love to see you link a collaborative Google Doc with links to sample schedules and empathy camp agenda. This is a great idea!

Photo of Denise Webster
Team

I have added that information into my template, along with some resources. Thanks for the feedback.

Photo of Chuck Holland
Team

Denise, I really like the idea of getting students to work with other students. I'm also a big fan of developing student leaders in non-traditional areas. Have you thought about how you would work with these students and what sort of training they would receive in order to work with the other students? If you need any help talking this through let me know.

Photo of Denise Webster
Team

Our PTO president approached me today with the idea of implementing Rachel's Challenge (http://rachelschallenge.org/). Part of this program is to train about 100 students in the ideas of empathy and inclusion. PTO has agreed to help with raising the money so we can do the immersion program at our school. My thought is to hold the training with these students prior to school starting, so they can hit the ground running.

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

Love this idea. What do you imagine these expert groups might do? How would they facilitate the activities?

I'd love to see you build your idea out a bit. Let me know if I can help!

Photo of Denise Webster
Team

Our PTO president approached me today with the idea of implementing Rachel's Challenge (http://rachelschallenge.org/). Part of this program is to train about 100 students in the ideas of empathy and inclusion. PTO has agreed to help with raising the money so we can do the immersion program at our school. My thought is to hold the training with these students prior to school starting, so they can hit the ground running.

Photo of Denise Webster
Team

To build on this description...our school already does a daily advisory. My thoughts are to ask teachers to nominate a diverse group of students currently in 6th and 7th grade (all academic levels, ethnicity, etc.) who have strong leadership skills or the potential to develop strong leadership skills. With these groups create a least one single gender group at each grade level (15-18 students - an all female and all male group) to practice empathy skills. After working with these students for a semester, we will send them to other advisories (8th graders go to 7th grade, and 7th graders go to 6th grade) to facilitate similar lessons / activities about empathy.