Special Report
Teaching Video

Teachers, Try This: An SEL Lesson That Teaches Kindness and Empathy

By Lauren Santucci — November 7, 2022 4:29
An 8th grader works on a class project at Paw Paw Middle School on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Paw Paw, Michigan. The students were asked to write a word that was important to them and their work in the classroom. They then added the words to a poster to serve as a class "contract." The district has upped its social-emotional curriculum during the pandemic, as more students struggle. That is common nationwide. A recent AP-NORC/MTV poll found that nearly half of U.S. teens said the pandemic has made it harder to be happy and maintain their mental health.

Carey Arensberg, an elementary school teacher in Alabama, uses a “reflections of me” lesson to teach her 4th grade students about kindness, empathy, and the power of words.

The lesson starts with watching a video. Then students share what they think is special about themselves, and their classmates follow up with what they think is special about that student.

Arensberg shared the lesson in a popular TikTok video and discussed how it helps build better relationships among the students and encourages more positive behavior.

Here, she explains how she leads the lesson, and how she prepares her class for it by teaching them about the power of their words.

Lauren Santucci is a video producer for Education Week.

Coverage of leadership, summer learning, social and emotional learning, arts learning, and afterschool is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.

Video

Classroom Technology Video How Pedagogy Can Catch Up to Artificial Intelligence
Educators need to start considering how AI's capabilities should change what students learn, experts say.
1 min read
052224 EW LeadSym 406 BS
Chris Ferenzi for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Video Cellphone Policies in Schools, Explained
Educators have multiple factors to consider when deciding how to handle cellphones in schools. Education Week breaks them down.
052124 Cell Phones jb BS
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
Curriculum Video A Look Inside the Creation of a New Asian American Studies Curriculum
This state is including the experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the curriculum. Here's what that looks like.
4:22
Special Education Video How Schools Can Use AI to Lighten the Load for Special Education Teachers
A look at some of the use cases for AI in special education, and some of the precautions educators should take when incorporating AI.