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?