Cultivating Student Empathy: Acting to Understand

Social Justice & Empathy

How do we help students to move beyond their own perspectives to understand the lives of others? How do we challenge them to deeply understand another person whose life and experiences differ greatly from their own? How do we cultivate empathy, compassion, and even love across the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, and disability?

These questions lie at the heart of social justice education.

To create a truly equitable society, we must be able to empathize with experiences we may never share. We must break down “empathy walls” to transform our society. But how do we do so?

Theater in the history classroom provides one possible answer.

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Hamilton: The Ten Dollar Founding Father Proves Priceless in American Classrooms

Revolution, independence, the founding of our nation — this was my favorite era to teach. I have more creative, exciting lessons for this period than for any other, no matter the course or Hamilton the Musicalcontent.

Fascinated by the often fortuitous folly of the Founding Fathers, I made it a point to show my students that this nation was created by a group of brilliant but imperfect men — and women.

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#TchLIVE: The Art of Teaching

So much about teaching comes in waves, and the end-of-the-year wave is often marked by an immersion in the science of teaching: assessments, grades, proving what was accomplished. But as we ride out one wave and onto summer’s, I think we should welcome back into our lives the notion of the art of teaching.

Although the art of teaching may seem more elusive, it’s no less crucial to the pulse of learning. It’s the part of the craft that’s about our creative impulse, our read of a child’s emotional state, our instinct to make this decision or that in the midst of the thousands of decisions we make each day.

If you’re ready to kick off your summer thinking by sharing what you’ve learned about the art of teaching, about the importance of creativity in your professional life, then join us for June’s #TchLive chat this week! Share what has supported you to become better in this area of your practice, whether it’s a mentor, a colleague, professional books, or just plain old lived experience. If you’ve just completed your first year or your 20th, you’ve got knowledge and wisdom to share on this subject. And, if you’re looking for a few resources to get you thinking before we chat, you may want to check out these:

The #TchLIVE chat will be on June 18th, at 4pm PDT.

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Special Download: 10 Ways to Be a Creative Genius for Teacher Appreciation Week

Celebrate a teacher or set of teachers at your school or in your district! All it takes is a little creativity, paper, scissors and glue! Well, sometimes a lot of glue…. Consider some of these ideas as a way to say thanks to a teacher in your life.

When you are finished take a snapshot of your amazing creation, perhaps even with your favorite teacher in the snapshot and share it with us on Twitter and Instagram. Use #TeachersRock so we can find and share your projects! We’ve also created a week’s worth of Twitter prompts to keep the love and support going throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.

Download the PDF of 10 Ways to Be a Creative Genius for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Don’t forget to sign up for our annual Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway! We’re giving away hundreds of Thank You gifts to teachers across the nation. All you need to do is create an account with Teaching Channel.

Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway

Paul Teske works for Teaching Channel Teams as an Engagement Manager, helping states, districts, and school launch and sustain professional learning in Teams.

Claims, Evidence, Reasoning: Integrating Art & Science

Arts Integration: Videos and Resources

Antoinette Pippin teaches fifth grade at the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center School in Los Angeles. Antoinette’s school is the result of a collaboration between the California Science Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District. Antoinette’s students have the opportunity to dig deep into science, but when we take a look into her classroom, we get to see how using the arts allows students to express and strengthen their science learning in new ways.

In this lesson, Antoinette’s students compare and analyze paintings by evaluating their scientific and artistic qualities. Students begin by discussing paintings as a whole class. After the discussion, they work in small groups to analyze more paintings. Students apply their knowledge of science and art as they fill in T-charts of the scientific and artistic qualities they notice in the paintings. Though they work together to fill out the charts, students are given different color markers. What a great way to monitor their participation!

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8 Habits of Thinking Learned from Artists

Studio Thinking is a framework designed by practitioners at Project Zero (the research arm of Harvard’s School of Education). Out of the Studio Thinking framework comes the Studio Habits of Mind, a set of eight dispositions that an artist uses. The wonderful thing about these dispositions is that they offer a language for critical thinking that spans across every discipline.

Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) empower students to articulate their learning in any subject matter, and provide an entry point for learning based on individual choice and need. They are not hierarchical, and they can be used in guided instruction or constructivist teaching modalities.

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Celebrating Arts Integration

Getty Museum at night

The stars were out at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, January 24th. Elizabeth Escamilla, acting Assistant Director of Education and Public Programs, along with other dignitaries from the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Pat Wasley, CEO of Teaching Channel, hosted a star-studded screening of the Teaching Channel video series showcasing arts integration. This series was a collaborative effort between the J. Paul Getty Museum, Teaching Channel, and filmmakers Zachary Fink and Alyssa Fedele.

At the screening, the four teachers who took part in the series, Antoinette Pippin, David Cooper, Lindsay Young, and Lorenza Yarnes, were recognized for their efforts in opening their classroom doors and sharing their professional practice through video. The selection of videos received accolades from members of the audience, including educators, students, and community members alike.

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Three Ways to Engage Visual Learners

Arts Integration: Videos and Resources

I work with a variety of students, many of whom are English Language Learners or have specific learning disabilities. I have found that these students often have more difficulties with auditory processing and language than other students. Luckily, when one sense is struggling, our other senses come to the rescue: these students are usually visual learners. The majority of my students are so visually acute that if I change one small thing in my room, they will walk in and say, “What did you do? The room looks completely different.” Knowing their visual perceptiveness is such a strength means I can leverage it as much as possible.

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Arts Integration, Special Education & ELLs: A Recipe for Success

Arts Integration: Videos and Resources

Teaching through the arts can be a great entry point into content. Through engaging, arts-rich instruction, students are hooked into learning. But even more than just an entry point, arts-integration can provide a scaffold for helping students tackle increasingly complex cognitive tasks.

Lindsay Young, a High School teacher at Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, California, does an amazing job using the arts to scaffold important reading skills. Lindsay teaches an English Language Development class for long-term English Language Learners who are in Special Education. Close reading, a key reading skill, can be hard to master, but Lindsay helps her students develop their abilities by close reading portraits the way that they would a text.

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