My students are English learners, at-risk students, high-functioning autistic/Asperger's syndrome kids, and gifted and talented pupils. They are eager second graders who love to learn and apply their learning to real life experiences. They come from a wonderful school that contains a diverse learning community of over 1,000 students, from kindergarten through grade five. The children are from low-income families and have different learning styles and developmental needs. They need all the help they could get and hope to receive it from you.
My students imitate what they see and experience. I want to foster the concept of empathy with my class. It is perhaps the most effective way to inhibit aggression and bullying behaviors. Empathy helps them become more inclusive and tolerant of differences.
As in most other areas of social emotional development, I believe empathy and caring need to be nurtured through direct involvement in meaningful activities.
So I would like to encourage the class to use colorful animal masks and finger puppets to enact and identify with some endangered animals through purposeful plays. The activities would happen after they view video clips, read articles, and discuss on specific animals and their habitats. As children learn that other living things have basic needs which must be met for them to survive, these experiences help them make the connection between caring behaviors and empathy.
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