Totems: Empathy for Students

An Exercise to Focus your Empathy for your Students
as you Launch into a New School Year



Supplies:

  • Whiteboard or large paper
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Prototyping supplies (cardboard, scissors, tape, colorful knick knacks, etc.)
  • Smaller Paper (8.5 x 11) or large post-it
  • Markers

Picture and describe a student

Think of a student who has stood out to you this past year. When you closed your classroom door for the year, who had you really wanted to get through to but didn’t? Who made progress that completely blew your mind?

Choose a student and write their name at the top of your whiteboard /paper (you can write an alias if you would like).

Then, make three categories: ‘Adjectives’, ‘Challenges’, and ‘Passions & Interests’:


  • In the ‘Adjectives’ column, write down all adjectives that describe the student you are imagining. Is she/he creative? Disengaged? Calm? Popular? Speedy?

  • In the ‘Challenges’ column, write down challenges this student faces in your classroom. For example, a student might get easily frustrated in math and give up quickly

  • In the ‘Passions & Interests’ column, write down all the talents and passions that your student has.

If you’re doing this exercise with other educators, share your brainstorms in small groups to each other (2 minutes each).


Build a totem!

Using your table, spend about 15 minutes building a totem that represents your student in a literal or figurative way. You can use any materials you have on hand. Some extra cardboard, paper, tape, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, and markers are always useful.


Point of View statement for your student.

It’s time to distill the visual information from your totem and your student descriptions down to a statement that you can design and work from. You can use this madlib below, though you might start your madlib with whatever your particular classroom goal is. Ours was to more fully explore STEAM-based subjects, so we started with that:


Write this down on a large stick note or piece of paper.

Or use worksheet with example

Download file "Empathy Statement.pptx"

Create a living totem gallery

Place all the totems on a table and tape your Point of View Statement underneath it. Have all your fellow educators take a gallery walk around the table so that everyone can see the uniqueness and variation in the student totems.

Revisit your student totem frequently and add to them during the year to keep your curriculum design student-centered!

Comments

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When: April 28, 2016 at the d...Falsedyoung2016-05-23T16:46:27+00:00Added tag - hotdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 18:05:46+00:002016-06-09 18:05:46addTag16Added tag - full-cycledyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:15+00:002016-06-09 06:22:15addTag15Added tag - designed by k12 labdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:11+00:002016-06-09 06:22:11addTag14Added tag - educator workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:06+00:002016-06-09 06:22:06addTag13Added tag - 2-daydyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:01+00:002016-06-09 06:22:01addTag12Added tag - 2016dyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:58+00:002016-06-09 06:21:58addTag11Removed tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:52+00:002016-06-09 06:21:52removeTag10Removed tag - discover design thinkingdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:50+00:002016-06-09 06:21:50removeTag9Added tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 15:59:14+00:002016-06-06 15:59:14addTag8Removed tag - savedyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 15:59:10+00:002016-06-06 15:59:10removeTag7Added tag - discover design thinkingdyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 21:41:41+00:002016-05-23 21:41:41addTag6Added tag - savedyoungDevon Young2016-05-16 20:35:23+00:002016-05-16 20:35:23addTag5dyoungDevon Young2016-05-13 21:14:20+00:002016-05-13 21:14:20updated4dyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 15:57:56+00:002016-05-11 15:57:56updated3dyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 03:15:39+00:002016-05-11 03:15:39updated2First createddyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 03:01:09+00:002016-05-11 03:01:09created1wiki2016-05-13T21:14:20+00:00groups/k12/wiki/7c78cFalseDiscover Design Thinking workshop: May 5-6 2016/groups/k12/wiki/7c78c/Discover_Design_Thinking_workshop_May_56_2016.htmlDevon Young16 updatesDiscover Design Thinking workshop: May 5-6 2016 Edit this page Create a new page Delete this ...Falsedyoung2016-05-13T21:14:20+00:00Added tag - hotarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 18:05:38+00:002016-06-09 18:05:38addTag13Added tag - prototypearazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:30:10+00:002016-06-09 06:30:10addTag12Added tag - full-cyclearazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:30:00+00:002016-06-09 06:30:00addTag11Added tag - grades 9-12arazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:29:55+00:002016-06-09 06:29:55addTag10Added tag - student curriculumarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:29:51+00:002016-06-09 06:29:51addTag9Added tag - 1-weekarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:21+00:002016-06-09 06:28:21addTag8Added tag - 2016arazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:18+00:002016-06-09 06:28:18addTag7Removed tag - student workshoparazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:07+00:002016-06-09 06:28:07removeTag6Removed tag - fail forwardarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:03+00:002016-06-09 06:28:03removeTag5Added tag - student workshoparazAriel Raz2016-06-06 16:37:11+00:002016-06-06 16:37:11addTag4Added tag - fail forwardarazAriel Raz2016-06-06 16:36:53+00:002016-06-06 16:36:53addTag3arazAriel Raz2016-03-14 03:01:39+00:002016-03-14 03:01:39updated2First createdarazAriel Raz2016-03-14 02:48:24+00:002016-03-14 02:48:24created1wiki2016-03-14T03:01:39+00:00groups/k12/wiki/0502dFalseMt. 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