Empathy in the Classroom Part 1

Jul 20, 2018

 Earlier this week I shared some information I learned about the 7 Essential Skills that our students need to possess once they leave the education system.  Let's take a closer look at empathy.

A list of Six silent videos to work on facial expressions and body language
 This is, for sure, a lifelong skill that we need to work on with our students but continue to work on even as  adults.  It can be difficult to understand the feelings and emotions of another person.  Especially if you come from different backgrounds, life styles, or belief systems.  But this makes empathy even more important.  But how do we help our little kids to understand this skill?

We have to start at the beginning.  Feelings.  Emotions.  Body language.

Language is a key component to this. Busy schedules and technology have put a strain on the language children hear and the facial expressions that they see.  As teachers of the younger grades, we need to make sure they have a good grasp on the variety of feelings/emotions that are out there (not just happy, bad, and sad).  We also need to ensure they understand and can read the body language associated with these emotions.

One suggestion that was given during my session at Nerd Camp was silent films.  With a silent film, you must pay attention the body language, not the words.  The way that I envision using these in the classroom is to stop and really look at the facial expressions on the characters.  How are they feeling?  How do you know?  Why are they feeling that way?

Each of the videos listed below come from Youtube.  You can click on the image to watch the video but I also included the title and author in case you want to find the video on your own.  I picked these silent films because each one focuses in on the character's face.  You can read the emotions through the face and body.

 Mouse for Sale by Wouter Bongaerts

Embarked by Mikel Mugica, Adele Hawkings, and Soo Kyung Kang

Bridge by Ting Chian Tey
Good one to also discuss how animals are not being empathetic

For the Birds by Pixar

Broken Wand by Anne Yang and Michael Altman

Runaway by Susan Yung, Esther Parobek, and Emily Buchanan

I hope you can use one or two of these to build empathy in your classroom.  Do you have any other silent videos that work well for this skill?


  1. These are fantastic! I can't wait to use them with my kindergarten class. Thank you for sharing.

  2. What a great way to start at the beginning! Thanks for sharing.


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