To open class today, I'll ask students to view the video below. I'll stop the video after the initial clip with Audey Hepburn and Fred Astair and ask if they think Fred understood empathy. Obviously, he did not.
After a discussion, I'll start the video again, but I'll move up to 1:15. After the video we'll move into the lesson.
*Shout out to Nelson Intermediate School who posted this video.
To open the lesson, we'll discuss the empathy shared between the girl and man in the video and why that is important in life. Then, I'll ask students if they think empathy is important to practice when we read books. Of course, the response I'm looking for is "yes".
I want students to see the value in empathizing with characters in order to understand and perhaps appreciate their role better. At the same time I want them to analyze the character, their motivations, etc. So, I ask students to pair up at their tables. Each pair will select the character they feel needs empathy the most -except Cinder. I'll put up a chart (I've linked one possibility here. See my video for more detail.) on screen and review the basics of analyzing their character based on what they say, how they act, etc. (We covered Characterization in an earlier lesson, so I will not spend a lot of time here.)
Next, they will work together to write a one page letter to that character to (practice empathy) make them feel better about something that has happened in the book so far.
I'm not going to dictate what has to be in the letter, except to say that they should help the character feel better. I'll suggest doing that by explaining why their perspective/role is important in this book, and how the students understand where they are coming from. I will also ask students to remember the tips given in the video:
1. Read the persons face (Can we do this in a book? Yes -description)
2. Ask why they feel like they do? (Inferences!!) Look at things from their point of view.
I'll also explain that on the most basic level, everyone wants to be understood. I'll ask, "Did you notice the smile on the little girl's face? On the man's face? Right or wrong, old or young, rich or poor, admitting it or not - we all want that. Yes, even the bullies." When students have finished, I'll ask that they share the letter at their table and listen to the conversations. It's always interesting to hear what they "realized".
I'll ask students to put the letters in their caddy for my review when they are finished. Obviously, if they did not have time to finish, they may turn them in tomorrow.
Students will listen to the audio -picking up where we left in the last class - and follow in their books. As they do they will be very involved in the text, actively reading per the instructions on the Reading Circle sheets.
I will allow the class to read until the last five minutes of class time and record their stopping point.
Wrap up time is spent allowing students to "debrief" independently - collecting their post its and/or completing their thoughts on their Reading Circle sheets. We always discuss questions or concerns before class is dismissed.