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Technology & Character Education: A Lesson in Empathy

Empathy is an important cornerstone in character education; developing empathy can help prevent negative social behaviors such as bullying, spitefulness, and alienation.  It is a key social emotion and when developed brings an awareness of ones own emotions as well as those of others.  Using Apple’s Photo Booth and Pages (or Seenly and Microsoft Word), students can make a “How are you feeling?” poster of emotions.  These posters teach students to recognize what their own emotions look like and help them to recognize them in others. If you don’t have access to built in cameras or web cams, digital cameras can be used in their place.  The completed posters can be used for various character education lessons throughout the year and make for a nice year-long bulletin board in the classroom. The posters are also useful when discussing literary characters and their feelings/emotions, as well as an aid in conflict resolution for younger students.  The Feelings posters are a helpful tool for autistic children as they help them recognize facial expressions and emotions in themselves and others.

The lessons in empathy is perfect for kindergarten through sixth grade.  Three templates are included in the lesson k-1 grade, 2-3 grade, and 4-6 grade.  As a computer teacher, I completed this lesson with my students every year from kindergarten-fifth grade.  By the fifth grade, students had a collection of 6 feelings posters that showcased each year of school.  Parents saved these posters as a keepsake.

This collection includes a lesson plan, templates, an emotions card game, and suggestions for sharing the template with student computers.  There are two options for download, one for use with Apple’s Pages and PhotoBooth (or digital camera) and one for use with Microsoft Word and Seenly (or digital camera).  The Pages option is for use with Macintosh only.  The Microsoft Word option is for use with Mac or PC. In this lesson students will practice using text boxes, drag and drop, mouse manipulation, inserting images, and resizing.  Click here to find the Feelings Poster Lesson in Empathy in the iLearn Technology store.

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