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Character Education Lesson Plan

Teaching Compassion with How to Heal a Broken Wing

by Bob Graham

teaching compassion

Grades: K-2

CASEL Standard: Social awareness:  The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures and contexts

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand what compassion is and identify ways to show compassion


Part 1: 

  • Today, we are going to be talking about compassion.  Compassion is a big word.  Does anyone know what it means?
  • Compassion is caring about other people, treating them with kindness and wanting to help someone who needs help.
  • Raise your hand you have ever helped someone who needed help.  Do you know how it made the person feel who you were helping?  How did it make you feel to be helping someone?
  • When we show compassion, we are helping someone who needs help and making them feel better, but we also make ourselves feel good by helping.
  • Can you think of a time when someone showed you compassion? 
  • I have had people show me compassion.  One time, I was walking outside and it was raining and I slipped and fell.  I dropped what I was carrying and hurt my leg.  I had someone come over to help me stand up and pick up what I had dropped.  The person asked me if I was alright and asked if there was anything that they could do to help.
  • By stopping and helping me, the person showed me that they cared.  They showed kindness by helping me get up and pick up what I had dropped.
  • Now, I am going to give you a worksheet.  I am going to read each situation to you.  I want you to think about how someone could show compassion and then write it down or draw a picture.
  • Do the worksheet with the students.  Be sure to discuss the different ways of showing compassion that the students identified.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham.
  • Read the book.
  • Will noticed the bird when no one else did.  Why do you think that he stopped to help it?  What do you think you would have done?
  • Will’s mom and dad helped him to fix the bird’s wing, give it a place to rest and feed it.  Do you think that Will would have been able to help the bird if his parents were not helping him?  What do you think Will learned from his parents?
  • How do you think Will and his parents felt when the bird was able to fly away?
  • When you show compassion and help someone who needs help, it can make you feel really good to know that you helped and made a difference.

Part 3: 

  • We have talked about compassion and how there are many different ways to show compassion.  As long as you care about other people, treat them with kindness and want to help someone who needs it, you are showing compassion.
  • Helping someone who has fallen down, making a card for someone who is sad and inviting a friend who is alone to play with you are all ways to show compassion.
  • You are now going to be illustrating the word compassion.  I want you to think about a way that you show compassion or think about what compassion means to you.
  • Then, you will illustrate or draw a picture showing what compassion means to you.
  • When you are done, we will all share.
  • Allow the students to share what compassion means to them.  Reiterate that compassion means showing someone you care, treating them with kindness and helping them when they need it. 

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Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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