Exploring Empathy through Role Play

Each week on the QuaverSEL Blog, we highlight one of the core CASEL competencies and a sub-competency. Today, we’re diving in to self-awareness and a role playing activity that can help students develop empathy for others.

Let’s dig in! 

It can often be hard for students to understand the emotions of their peers and loved ones, or even their own!”

To assist students with understanding the emotions of others, take five minutes this week to introduce students to the activity “How Do They Feel?”

How Do They Feel? 

To access this activity, head to the Lessons menu on your Teacher Dashboard. You’ll find this activity in Lesson 23 of the Kindergarten Curriculum.

Understanding the emotions of and empathizing with others is no simple task. Sometimes, we don’t know how others are feeling until we ask them. This activity will invite students to ask themselves the question “How do they feel?” in relation to the characters and situation on the screen. 

Spin the wheel to generate a character, place, and action. For each spin, invite students to act out the scene they imagine in their heads. Let their imaginations soar! There are no right or wrong interpretations.

One spin may be…

With this spin, we can tell that the character received a gift at their house. The students can then make up the character’s name, what type of present they received, and how that action might make them feel. 

One student may say, “Jordan received a birthday present from his grandma. It was a puppy! Jordan is excited to have a new friend in his home.” 

Allow time for the students to discuss their scenes and how it felt to walk in the characters’ shoes. Explore the kinds of responses they might make (feelings and actions) when they observe how their friends are feeling.

If a student mentions their character feels excited because of the new puppy they received, explore that emotion with them. Some questions for the students could be:

  • How does someone act when they’re excited? 
  • Is being excited a good thing or a bad thing?
  • When have you felt excited?

This activity is a great way to explore empathy through role play, however, you might also choose a song to reinforce ideas learned during a lesson.

“Walk in My Shoes”

To find this song, head to the SEL Music library located on your teacher dashboard. Type “Walk in My Shoes” into the search bar and select the Lyrics activity.

This song is a great way to reinforce the ideas learned in today’s lesson and open up the discussion question, “Why is it important to put ourselves in other people’s shoes?”

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How do you address empathy in your classroom? 

*Looking to use these activities but aren’t a QuaverSEL user quite yet? Try these activities and hundreds more free for 30 days at QuaverSEL.com/Preview!