“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change” Michael Jackson
It has been a long time since I posted here. Lot of things have happened and I would like to share with you some lessons plans for Young Learner. Actually, I have done with my students and also with my kids at home these activities. It might be helpful for your students as well. Moreover, I have been involved with some projects, adapting some materials for an inclusive curriculum.
We have just started a new school year in Brazil. Maybe some of you are working in a new School, of course new students (just a typical situations for us, right?). In some cases, new methodologies and approaches will come in our ways. Perhaps it may be our first time teaching these methodologies (well, you left your comfort zone?! that’s totally fine and very important to your own development!). There is a moment that you realize that everything is not awesome! It can be very complicated sometimes (yes, it is) – new friends, new staff room, everything is different and WE FEEL ALONE and no empathy…
According to the dictionary Merriam-Webster ‘Empathy is the ability of being aware of and sharing another person’s feelings, experiences, and emotions’
I will share with you what a cartoon suggested by one of my kids made me thinking about ’empathy’ and create a lesson plan for my new students.
Last Sunday, we went to see a movie called ‘The Lego Batman’. My daughter was so excited to watch it. One of her friends recommended it and, it was my son’s birthday too. My son simply loves Lego and Batman (perfect combination).
I have to confess that at the beginning it was pretty silly, just coloful bricks building situations, what I could not have taken into account, it was how many “hidden messages” appeared in there. Every new scene tried to touch us straight to the head and heart. It was not only for kids, but it was also for all of us.
In a world where ‘egocentrism’ is showing its ugly face, some people don’t see the power of togetherness, community and friendship with good eyes. Lego Batman nailed it. We can not live isolate, NO WAY!! So this is the same thing to our classroom, our school and on.
Just telling a little bit about the story, Batman (Lego) was very confident about himself! No super hero was better than him! He did everything alone in his ‘entire’ life. However, he could not have imagined that ‘Team Work’ would helped him to defeat his most powerful enemy – ‘loneliness’.
Most of the time, we face some situations as shown in this kid’s movie. In our classes, We have the outgoing kids and the shy ones. It is not an easy task to make them working together. However, they have different behaviors, working their differences can turn into a wonderful team work full of empathy.
And How can we engage these two opposite personalities? Well, there is not a magic formula, but building some strategies to raise ’empathy’ in class, it might improve themselves to work as a big group in and outside school.
Everything was not awesome this time with that poor Lego character. Batman went to visit Superman, he thought that Superman was really sad and alone. However, He had no idea that The Justice League Compatriots were having a good time all together with Superman and no one cared about Batman’s presence at the party. Surly Batman’s isolation was the huge problem in his life but when he decided to change his way of living and worked as a Team, he saw that it was easier to handle. This time Batman did everything right! In a movie it seems to be easy. On the other hand, how tough is to deal with ’empathy’ in everyday life?
Therofore, in an inclusive classroom team work is essential to make a better place to interact and learn. There are no limitation, no fear, no isolation. We are all together, helping each other to overcome our barriers or trying walk with our friends’ shoes. We can make it possible by doing from simple actions to a big challenge. For an inclusive atmosphere, it is necessary set up some goals during the semester and measure how these actions will develop with the whole group.
I will share with you an activity that you can help your students to work their ’empathy’
Young Learners activity – 7-10 years old
Time:10-15min (It can be a warm-up or a ice-breaker activities)
Aim of the activity: Raise the idea of team work to create a board for Superhero of the day. One day of the week, one student will be the super hero in class. He or She has to help a friend in needed. So, let’s see how it goes.
Super hero in our class!
1- Find out what kind of abilities your students may have:
- someone who loves to draw or write
- someone who can sing, dance or play an instrument
- someone who knows other languages (Spanish, English)
- someone who practices sports…
2- Motivate the “Hero of the day” share with the entire class what is his/her superpower and weakness.
First give them your own example (Modeling) – My super power is ‘sing’ and ‘dance’, you can show them a videoclip and ask them to dance and sing all together to break the ice. I usually use this video ‘What does the Fox say’ it is top #10 in my classes and they love Just Dance games.
3- Encourage them to be superhero everywhere.
The good things they have shared with you during the classes, you can ask them to do it outside as well. Stimulate them to be a good friend and citizen.
- Help their parents, granparents at home (doing their errands, make their beds, go shopping…)
- Read or tell a story to a small kid, or special friend, or for elderly people
- Help them to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle things at school and at home.
- Teach them the importance of playing Fair games.
4- Use the social media to interact with other classroom*
This is an example how I use social media (Twitter) with them. I posted just the chorus from Michael Jackson’s song from Lego’s soundtrack, and an Unofficial Lego Batman just replied . It was cool, the kids got really surprised when I showed them the tweet, they just said ‘WOW’.
Most of the time, when I use social media, I ask for permission. In Brazil, we have some laws that it is not allowed using classroom pictures without parental consent* (*parents should be aware of using social medias during your classes. It is part of your lesson but it is necessary for their kids securities.
This activity help them to interact with everyone. Not only the school enviromnent but also wherever they will be. Their superpower is there, ready to help a friend, their family or even improve themselves. It is an active that raise equality, diversity and friendship. If we teach our kids kindness and respect, we will let them grow up in a better place. Don’t forget that kids learn by examples.
Good readers quotes
U.S Department of Health and Human Services