PROMOTING RESPECT & EMPATHY: A Toolkit for Educators of All Grades

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Educate your students about respect and empathy! 

In the absence of empathy, differences have the potential to breed conflict. Members of the First Book Network know this well, and in our daily work with children, we recognize our responsibility to teach kids the importance of being able to step into the shoes of another, and see the world through their perspective. This is true empathy. This is preparing our kids to create a more caring and compassionate world.

The First Book Network is deeply engaged in helping children from birth to age 18 develop respect and empathy. Whether in a classroom, health clinic, afterschool program, local community center, or another meeting place, First Book knows that developing these skills takes time, repetition, practice and interaction with others. We cannot truly know the meaning of respect or empathy without others. And we learn best when we work together. 

In this toolkit, Promoting Respect & Empathy: A Toolkit for Educators of All Grades, is a collection of activities, tips, book recommendations, and more gathered from First Book members across the U.S., who, like you, support kids in under-resourced communities and programs. All of the content comes from educators in urban cities, rural communities, suburban towns and Native American reservations. These activities show the creativity of First Book members, as well as how fun, imaginative and meaningful interactions can help students learn and practice building respect and empathy.

This project is the third installment in a series of resources sponsored by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) and First Book to address bias, cultural competence and empathy. In a recent survey of educators, we found these areas to be of critical importance across the country. It is our hope that in sharing the great work already being done across the First Book member community, you will find even more ways and ideas to promote respect and empathy.

Did this resource promote respect and empathy in your classroom!

Visit to find more great resources to infuse into your classrooms! 

Lesson Plan Resources

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Lesson Plan
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This resource is a part of the following collections: 
prevent bullying
49 Lessons and Resources, 7 Collections


January 2020
The document is clearly marked by grade level, making it easy to find the right resource for me. I got several ideas for respect-building activities for my middle school health class.