The Mind’s Eye: Viewing Identity with an Empathetic Lens

Mary Draper Hager, Second Grade, Selwyn ES

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This curriculum unit explores the recognition of shared attributes between
students and the characters they read about in books. Reading selections will be shared during a read aloud by the teacher in class. Reading these aloud will allow some of the text to be a higher level than second grade, with teacher led discussions to explain unfamiliar vocabulary. Both shared and different physical and internal traits will be discovered through access to their “mind’s eye”. Using strategies such as palming, Venn diagrams, drawings, and photographs students will delve into similarities and differences of these characters, and compare them to their own lives, and their own identities. Through the books we read, we will discuss how to recognize personality traits and which characters they relate to most and least. Recognizing fairness and respecting differences is key to patterning and developing an empathetic nature.mInferencing is a skill that is not only useful in literacy, it will help them develop the necessary empathy to become balanced and productive global citizens. Awareness of the characters motivations, personalities, and physical items that describe the character will be discussed. A reflection into students’ own likes, dislikes, and similar objects that describe them will be included in the unit. Narrowing our focus to the “one thing” that describes them will then be incorporated into a culminating art project.