HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 1: Kindergarten to Grade 3

Below are discussion questions and activities to foster compassion for animals, people, and the environment. Both the discussion questions and activities are part of the ‘Choose Compassion’ character education theme for the 2018-2019 school year! To see other character building themes, click here!

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be caring?
  • What are some words that describe caring?
  • What are some ways that you demonstrate you care for others? Animals? The environment?
  • How do you feel when people show they care about you? How do you feel when caring for someone else? An animal? The environment?
  • Why is it important to show you care for others?
  • Look at the poster, how do you think these animals are feeling? Why?

Introduce the word compassion (being aware of others’ needs and acting to help them, especially when they need it most). Provide students with scenarios when someone/something require our help. i.e.: A student slips and falls in the classroom. What does it mean to show compassion in these scenarios?

Activities:

1. Caring Classroom

As a class, brainstorm a list of specific behaviours that would contribute to a caring classroom environment. Hang the list in your classroom!

2. Circle of Compassion

Using this template, have students write their names in the center of the inner circle. Next, have students write (or draw) inside the inner circle the names of people, animals, environment that they care most about (this is a Circle of Compassion). Invite students to share what they wrote. Next, encourage students to widen their circle to include other that are deserving of our compassion. i.e.: other students, members of the community, stray pets, farm animals, wildlife, the environment.

Watch this short video, AnimalSmart – Widening Our Circle of Compassion (5:11) for further explanation of what it means to widen your Circle of Compassion. AnimalSmart is an Ontario SPCA humane education program that fosters similar concepts as the Alberta SPCA education program.

3. Chain of Compassion

Cut pierces of construction paper into strips and leave them readily available for students. When a student notices an act of compassion, encourage them to write it down and hand it to you. Share the stories with your class and join the strips together to form a chain. The goal of this activity is to see how long of a chain your class can make!

Curriculum Connections

Social Studies
  • K.2 I Belong
    • General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the characteristics and interests that unite members of communities and groups.
      • K.2.3 appreciate how their participation in their communities affects their sense of belonging
        • Develop an awareness of the importance of sharing the responsibility of caring for the environment.
Social Studies
  • 1.1 My World: Home, School and Community
    • General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how identify and self-esteem are enhances by their sense of belonging in their world and how active members in a community contribute to the well-being, growth and vitality of their groups and communities.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will:
        • 1.1.4 determine what makes their communities thrive by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry:
          • In what ways do people help one another at home, at school and in groups to ensure the vitality of their community?
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 1-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Needs of Plants and Animals
    • General Learner Expectation: Students will:
      • 1-11 Describe some common living things, and identify needs of those living things.
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will:
        • 3. Identify ways in which living things are value
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 2-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Small Crawling and Flying Animals
    • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
      • 2-10 Describe the general structure and life habits of small crawling and flying animals
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will:
        • 5. Describe the relationships of these animals to other living and nonliving things in their habitat, and to people.
        • Identify ways in which animals are considered helpful or harmful to the environment.
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 3-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care

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