Making Caring Common
Raising kids who care about others and the common good.
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Resources For Educators

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators, Teachers, Counselors, School Administrators, and School Leaders!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. You can review the list of resources below or click to sort by the following topics: Bias, Bullying, Caring and Empathy, Gender, Leadership, Moral and Ethical Development, Romantic Relationships, School Culture and Climate, Sexual Harassment and Misogyny, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and Talking Across the Aisle.

 

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. Our work includes key topics, all connected by our commitment to forefront caring and concern for the common good at school, at home, and in our communities. You can review the list of resources below or use the dropdown to sort by topic.

 

 
Posts tagged Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)
For Educators: Ethical College Admissions: A Guide for High Schools

How can high schools shape a college search and application process that promotes rather than undermines ethical character? What are key ways that high schools can reduce harmful achievement pressure and promote equity and access that advance the recommendations in our first Turning the Tide report? We offer the following guideposts.

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For Educators: How to Build Empathy and Strengthen Your School Community

To help educators learn how to build empathy among their school communities, the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education reviewed existing research on empathy and the strategies of evidence-based programs that promote it. Our work shows that there’s more to developing empathy than simply asking students to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

In this resource, you’ll find steps you can take to build real empathy in your students and your community.

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For Educators: What Would You Do? Strategy

As children get older, they face ever more complex situations that can be difficult to navigate.

Particularly salient are moral or ethical dilemmas, which concern issues of fairness, justice, and caring. These are decision-making problems without definitive right or wrong choices that affect other people as well as the self, and thus, they are fruitful exercises in moral reasoning.

With this light-lift strategy, students will practice evaluating and constructing moral or ethical dilemmas to get them thinking critically about others’ perspectives and feelings in challenging situations. Students will reflect on their own judgments of others and the importance of context, and what they themselves could do in challenging times.

Currently, our What Would You Do? strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Story of Us Strategy

Storytelling is a powerful tool for eliciting emotion and curiosity. It can be especially valuable in prompting students to reflect on their own identities and values, and to recognize that despite people’s differing stories, we all share commonalities. Stories are a great reminder that we are all human and that we are all capable of bridging difference through understanding and connecting emotionally with others.

With this light-lift strategy, students will identify and investigate their personal set of values and what/who matters to them. Students will use these values to guide the telling of (and making sense of) their own story. Using Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” as a guide, students will then learn about real people’s stories, particularly those often marginalized or misunderstood. Finally, students will make connections between their own and others’ stories to appreciate the similarities and differences in their values.

Currently, our Story of Us strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Listening Deeply Strategy

There are many approaches to good listening, and this lesson centers around three primary skills: engaged body language, true focus, and expressing empathy.

The more students practice active listening, without being in a two-way conversation, the more they’ll come to value showing interest when someone is speaking, trying to understand their thoughts and feelings, and making them feel heard. The personal nature of the listening prompts also sets the stage for student sharing, which can build trust and connection in the classroom.

With this light-lift strategy, students will practice being active, authentic listeners with a partner — listening to make the speaker feel heard and without the need to reciprocate the conversation, but rather, to better understand and communicate with the speaker. By speaking for up to a few minutes, speakers will also get more comfortable sharing about themselves and expressing vulnerability.

Currently, our Listening Deeply strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Humans of Your School Strategy

Students’ capacity for empathy can be developed by learning to appreciate other people’s stories.

By engaging with others in a structured way and trying to shape a narrative that encapsulates a piece of that person, students will understand the nuances of lived experiences, values, and perspectives. By interviewing others, especially those who may be different from them, they will practice vulnerability and develop trust, which in turn will strengthen their school community.

With this light-lift strategy, students will dive into narratives of self and others to offer more nuanced perspectives and feelings around people’s stories. The narratives will mirror the “Humans of New York” series, and students will study a few of them to get a sense of the expectations (e.g., interviewing other students or faculty members). Humans of Your School provides students with opportunities to connect with those different from them, to listen to different stories and try to understand their different perspectives, and to appreciate differences while also finding commonalities.

Currently, our Humans of Your School strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Everyday Caring Strategy

Research shows that being kind and caring makes people feel good — by recognizing the appreciation of others as well as beginning to view oneself as altruistic or compassionate.

Studies have also shown that feeling care and concern for others is linked to altruism, and an effective strategy to spark caring is to encourage people to imagine what others are going through and how they feel. Kindness and caring are also contagious. Literally. They can spread and influence people to do good deeds beyond their existing networks.

With this light-lift strategy, students reflect and discuss how to encourage more kindness and caring, for themselves and others, at their school and beyond. They will practice regular intentional acts so they become routine and normalized parts of students’ lives. By reporting back, students will learn about each other’s experiences and likely use them as sources of inspiration. The activity encourages a variety of kind and caring acts, including self-improvement.

Currently, our Everyday Caring strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: One and the Same Strategy

Research shows that “likeness begets liking” and that when people find similarity along various dimensions, they can build a sense of relatedness. This strategy helps students get in the habit of noticing similarities — but it’s also important for students to learn how to acknowledge, appreciate, and even value differences from others.

With this light-lift strategy, students will be given the opportunity to talk about differences and similarities with others through various ways of “grouping” themselves. They will also consider how their opinions or viewpoints might differ from others based on certain elements of their identity or experiences. Critical reflections and discussions will highlight why it matters to understand the experiences of self, and others.

Currently, our One and the Same strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Everyday Gratitude Strategy

Research shows that gratitude is a predictor of both physical and mental well-being and can be regarded as a moral emotion related to recognizing the feelings and intentions of others. In turn, gratitude can lead to increased motivation to reciprocate and extend generosity to others.

Many students might not give or receive gratitude in their lives, even though it is shown to foster positive relationships, and also to mitigate the effects of depression and anxiety. By providing students with intentional and varied opportunities to practice gratitude — for instance, through writing thank you notes and considering positive events in their daily lives — students will come to appreciate others, and ideally be inspired to think and act more generously, factors that have been associated with empathy.

Students explore the concept of gratitude through self-reflection and writing thank you notes to people in their lives to recognize things they appreciate about people in their classroom, school, and beyond. Students also engage in activities that encourage them to consider both real and hypothetical situations around the positive things in their lives.

Currently, our Everyday Gratitude strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common, to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Take a Stand Strategy

Getting students to physically stand along a continuum that represents their beliefs or values can be a vulnerable yet empowering experience, and often helps students find commonalities rather than differences.

With this light-lift strategy, students arrange themselves in different configurations based on their level of agreement or disagreement with an ambiguous or open-ended issue or statement. Student discussions and teacher-led questioning promote thoughtful inquiry and engage the class through disagreement in a structured and safe environment.

Currently, our Take a Stand strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Confronting Stereotypes Strategy

Stereotypes are all around us, and we are all prone to stereotyping others without even knowing it. The Confronting Stereotypes strategy and related routines gets students in the habit of noticing and understanding the components of stereotypes, including distinctions from bias and prejudice. In the process, students develop their understanding and concern for certain groups or identities that they might be apt to make assumptions about.

With this light-lift strategy, students reflect on their implicit associations, and learn about the connections with and between stereotypes, biases, and prejudice. Students engage in a stereotype scavenger hunt and generate a list of stereotypes they recognize in their everyday lives and discuss how the stereotypes can be re-framed. They watch and discuss short clips about one girl’s story of inspiration or view different media to discuss its role in perpetuating stereotypes.

Currently, our Confronting Stereotypes strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. The related routines are available below. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Communication HUB Strategy

Communication and listening skills form the foundation of empathy-building in the classroom and beyond. However, teaching good listening ignores the often poor listening we do daily. By naming and understanding what good listening does not look like, students can better acknowledge their own areas for improvement. The simple yet creative nature of this lesson allows students to reflect on their vulnerabilities, while having fun and building relationships with classmates they might not know very well.

With our light-lift Communication HUB strategy, students will learn about what gets in the way of truly effective listening and practice poor and good listening skills in free-form “School HUB” sessions. Students will create specific goals for their own listening and report back over time.

Currently, our Communications HUB strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Mindfulness Strategy

A growing body of research supports the potential benefits of mindfulness, including stress reduction, emotion regulation, better relationship satisfaction, and improved memory and attention.

Applications of mindfulness, the practice of focusing our attention in a particular way, can be relatively easy to implement and are not time intensive. Given the benefits and feasibility, mindfulness has become increasingly popular across a variety of fields, including medicine, psychology, business, and more recently, in education.

Evaluations of school-based mindfulness practices have shown positive findings, including increased attention, self-control, class participation, and respect for others. Mindfulness practices can also serve as a powerful classroom management tools, reducing stress for teachers and students. Many mindfulness activities can be easily interwoven into routine classroom activities and lessons. They can also be extremely useful during transitions, for example, settling down after beginning a new class. Given the potential benefits and the ease of implementing mindfulness practices, these strategies are well-suited for schools.

While there are many methods of practicing mindfulness, we have provided the following short practices to serve as an introduction. We have also included a list of resources where you may find additional information about mindfulness as well as other mindfulness exercises.

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For Educators: Elderly Case Study

Too often the elderly are invisible to others, and perhaps especially to teenagers. As adults, we can teach students to show respect and to demonstrate compassion towards the elderly by giving students opportunities to better understand the impact of discrimination or apathy toward the elderly. We can also help students develop empathy and practice compassion and respect for the elderly in their day-to-day lives.

The following case study includes a short story from multiple viewpoints and a set of questions designed to facilitate discussion about respecting and caring for the elderly and the importance of maintaining commitments and volunteering for selfless reasons.

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