Class Meeting

COMPASSION-a missing element....

Love Drop

Imagine taking a walk or reaching for a shopping cart and finding a rock with a cheerful or kind message written on it! Well, I hope you do have this encounter as our students will be making them at the health fair. We all need a kind word and we know that we are willing to pass on that kindness when we have experienced it. The small rocks will hopefully spur our community to take action and find ways to show compassion in a time that seems as it is an action of the past. So what is next.....see below.

Richard Davidson spoke at the Momentous Conference where COMPASSION was the focus. He suggested a compassion circle activity in which basic questions are asked and students form a circle or group in which they identify with. Based on grade, think of a few questions for students to connect with one another. The blog post below gives a wonderful example of how to move from surface questions-to the deep for real compassion.

So how might we nurture these seeds for compassion? Growing our compassion circle.

By Richard Davidson, Ph.D

(Momentous Blog)

How do we reconnect with compassion when it’s undermined and stifled by our culture and daily habits?

I’m reminded of a practice called “Compassion Circle” from our lab’s work in classrooms, where we ask students to form circles based on their answers to simple questions like “Do you own a pet?” or “What’s your favorite color?” Students mix and converse with classmates they might not have known much about, encouraging them to relate differently to one another, to remove a sense of “otherness” that tends to block compassion.

I’ll never forget hearing from one of our education experts what happened when students were asked to form a circle based on their answer to the question, “Have you ever felt left out or bullied?” Nearly everyone came to the circle, and one young girl who consistently felt this way commented that she didn’t know others felt this way too. It brought her to tears to know she wasn’t alone, and it created a moment of shared compassion and appreciation for one another’s vulnerability among the students and instructors.

This expansion of relating with others is at the heart of another way we can reconnect with compassion through what we call “compassion” or “loving-kindness” meditation. In these practices, we intentionally recognize our innate basic goodness and acknowledge that all humans share this same capacity.

I Wish You More Activity

We can start with truly teaching compassion by acknowledging when a student is absent and sending him/her well wishes. Momentous teachers share that a classmate is missing and to take a minute to send them a well wish. The younger students hug themselves and then extend their arms out as they "send" them the wish. The older students may write a note or create a sticky with a note of "We missed You!" The book I Wish You More is a great book to start the conversation. The goal is to move our students to think of others, show compassion, make an effort to act on the compassion and spread it to others!

As teachers, we can model the compassion by expressing well wishes for others, writing notes, and sharing ways in which one can make a difference. Though our students hear our words-they learn through our actions.

Feel free to use the video below, or if you have the book share it as a read aloud. Also, at the bottom is a link to some great video clips about teaching kindness. They are all really good-if you feel like using one for your class, feel free to do so. Please watch before so that you will be prepared to guide the conversation and reflection. Enjoy!

I Wish You More | Reading Stories for Kids Aloud!