HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 2: Grade 4 to Grade 6

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 are some ways you demonstrate you care for others? Animals? The environment? Yourself?
  • How do you feel when people show they care about you? How do you feel when you do something caring for someone else? An animal? The environment?
  • Look at the poster, how do you think these animals are feeling? Explain.
  • In your own words, what is compassion? What are some examples?
  • Do you think you can choose compassion? Explain.
  • Can you think of times where it may be difficult to show compassion? What are some ways to overcome these difficulties?

Activities:

1. Circle of Compassion

Using this template, have students write their name in the center of the inner circle. Next, have students write inside the inner circle the names of people, animals, and 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 others 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.

EXTENSION: Have students write a persuasive paragraph to encourage others to widen their Circle of Compassion. How does expanding our Circle of Compassion impact others, animals, and the environment?

2. Animal Art

As a class, discuss the animals on the poster. How are the animals feeling? How did the artist use colour, lines, and texture to express emotion in this picture? Do a google search for animal portraits/art and select a few pieces that evoke different emotions. Show paintings one by one and ask students what emotion they think the artist is trying to convey. Have students create their own animal art! Have them use colour, texture, and lines or brushstrokes to convey emotion.

3. Chain of Compassion

Cut pieces 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

Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 4-4 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
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 5-4 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
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 6-4 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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