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30 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Journal (optional), How would you feel? resource


To help students become more understanding and compassionate towards others


  • What does it mean to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”?
  • What actions can you take to help you understand someone’s feeling/situation?

Read: “How would you feel?” (See “Supplementary resources”.)    Reflect:

  • How do Finn, Mike, Suri and Meegan feel following the actions/comments of their friends?
  • What could Jacob, Durrell, Tina and Valerie have done to put themselves in their friend’s shoes?
  • When would they have needed to put themselves in their shoes?
  • If they had done so, would the situation have ended differently? If so, how?

Ask students to set a small goal to practice understanding someone else’s situation. These experiences can be captured as a class or individually in a journal.

  • Write in any format (e.g. comic strip, skit, short story, poem, song, script).
  • Use fractured fairy tales.
  • Other possible stories include: Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell), All the Bright Places (Jennifer Niven)
  • Consider using local examples of literature when available 

Understanding our differences, and the unique perspectives others bring to situations is highly related to empathy and quality peer relations (Caputi, Lecce, Pagnin, & Banerjee, 2012). Students who are taught to attend to, and value these differences are more proficient in regulating their own emotions, so they can respond to peers with compassion and empathy (Barnett et al., 2008; Eisenberg & Fabes, 1995).

Barnett, W. S., Jung, K., Yarosz, D. J., Thomas, J., Hornbeck, A., Stechuk, R., & Burns, S. (2008). Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(3), 299-313. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2008.03.001

Caputi, M., Lecce, S., Pagnin, A., & Banerjee, R. (2012). Longitudinal effects of theory of mind on later peer relations: The role of prosocial behavior. Developmental Psychology, 48(1), 257.

Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1995). The relation of young children’s vicarious emotional responding to social competence, regulation, and emotionality. Cognition and Emotion, 9(2-3), 203-228. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699939508409009