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Character Activity
Tips for activity:

 To help practice empathy (and "walking in someone else's shoes") statements should be written in the "I" format to make it more personal for the writer and the receiver.

If necessary, the teacher/facilitator can pre-write suggestions to encourage student creativity.

Examples:
“I have a way of saying things that make others feel good about themselves.”

“I have a great sense of humor, and am fun to be around.”

“I am very creative, and have a unique way of looking at the world.”

“I am a hard worker, and always do my best to tackle challenges.”

“I am smart and am able to figure out complicated problems.”

“I am a good listener, and make other people feel important.”

“I am flexible and easy going. People feel comfortable when they are around me.”

“I am my own person, and unafraid stand out.”

“I am very clever, and can figure out how to make things work when others get stuck.”

“I am a positive person. I help other people feel positive about themselves too.”

“I have a kind heart. I care about how others feel.”

“I am trustworthy. I can always be depended on to come through for others.”

Part Two (20 min)

Although at first glance this activity may seem designed for younger audiences, it is an effective practice for putting empathy into action.

Activity: Each student is given a stack of blank note cards or stickers. On each card have students write (in statement form) one special character quality that they appreciate about each of the other teens in the class on one card— something that they may perhaps like to adopt into their own character (5 minutes). Another approach would be to imagine that someone was speaking unkindly about this person, and it was your responsibility to defend their character. What would you say?

After everyone writes a statement for each student in the group, have them walk around the room and casually tape the cards on the backs of each person they wrote about (5 minutes). (This can be a little chaotic at first, but have fun with it!)

Eventually, every student should have numerous cards taped all over his/her back that the rest of the kids can read. After everyone has had a chance to read each others' backs, they can take the cards off and see what was written about them.

Finally, have each participant read the labels/statements said about them and sit quietly to write a personal reflection on the activity.

Reflection on yourself: Reading over the statements that people wrote about you, what did you read that surprised you? Were you aware that other people felt this way about you? Do you agree with all the things that were written?

Reflection on others: Recall the different statements that were written about others. Do you think that anyone might be surprised to read what others wrote? Were you surprised to discover what other people think of their classmates? How?
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