“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” By John Holmes

Character education may not be in the Common Core but as a teacher I often think about the ‘hidden curriculum’ of teaching a well-rounded student. Learning about our differences can be a powerful way for children to see from another person’s point of view helping them understand cultures; becoming more globally aware. Many wonder, ‘Can Compassion Be Taught’?

I believe compassion can be but it also needs to be modeled. This is a wonderful time of year to help teach and model compassion in the classroom. Having the class help a charity or run a food drive can teach compassion. Past service learning projects I have done with my students:

– Collecting Tabs for the Ronald McDonald House (My favorite service learning project because we do it all year and the students graph the number of tabs each month and we can see how much we have made a difference.

Toys for Tots

– Food drives for different soup kitchens

– Wrote letters of persuasion to a tree farmer asking to donate a few trees to those who couldn’t afford them.

– Reading Buddies and Tutoring help with a different grade level

– Coat drives

This is a great site to find more service learning ideas for the classroom: National Service Learning Organization

Books that help teach students about  compassion:

The Book Thief   by Markus Zusak

Wonder by R.J. Palacio 

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Yoko by Rosemary Wells

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Great article on teaching compassion: Instilling Compassion

An Infographic by www.OpenColleges.edu.au

I would love to know what others have done in the classroom to help teach compassion and service learning project ideas.

I wish all my readers Happy Holidays! ♥


Comments on: "Teaching the Hidden Curriculum: Compassion" (3)

  1. Jill,
    Nice post. Thanks for bringing up this important topic. It is full of information! A reminder about the important thing in our job–modeling compassion, a peephole into your classroom, books and other resources, and an interesting infographic. Thank you!

    I have a great opportunity right now to teach in a Catholic school system. They take SO seriously the call to serve others. They are an inspiration to me. It seems there is always a big project going on, and I am honored to serve with them in American Cancer Society fundraising, collecting pillows and towels for the poor, food drives, and Christmas gifts for needy families.

    I did try to find the link for the embed code of the infographic at the Open Colleges site, but I couldn’t find it.

    Denise Krebs

  2. Jill,
    Great post, I really liked all the resources you included in your post. It sounds like you are modeling kindness for your students and giving them lots of experiences to teach them how to be compassionate to others.

    I have been thinking a lot about this recently myself, and think we can go a long way towards creating and cultivating caring classrooms by smiling often, letting our students finish speaking before answering, speaking softly, and putting relationships before content. Don’t get me wrong we want our students to get a good education, but I believe that can’t happen if we focus solely on content to the exclusion of kindness in our classrooms.
    Jasper Sr.

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