Our Empathy Promise

Create a classroom pledge to showcase students’ commitment to fostering a positive community.
Ages 8-14 / 30
min Activity
Perspective Taking


  • ‍Identify personal values associated with a positive school community, and find shared goals with one another
  • ‍Create a classroom “Empathy Promise” to inspire and motivate actions that foster a more compassionate community

Supporting Research

When people identify a shared problem and goal, research shows that this experience empowers them to put aside their differences and focus on what they share in common. Educators should encourage students to practice self-awareness and perspective taking to identify shared problems and goals, and practice collaboration as a team working together to solve a problem and achieve a goal. 

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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  1. Begin the activity by discussing the meaning of empathy. You might say: “Empathy is an important skill that helps us understand and care about others’ feelings and experiences. Empathy has three parts: feeling, thinking, and acting. We recognize and show concern for someone’s feelings, think about their unique situation and perspective, and take action to support them.” 
  2. Engage students in a Think-Pair-Share exercise about your school’s community. Students should:
    individually about the following questions:
    • What is important to you in a school community? For example, do you value strong friendships or the freedom to be yourself?
    • What are some actions that enable these values?
    • Do you think that our school does a good job at achieving these values? Why or why not? What could students do differently? What could you do differently?
    • What are some values that might be important to other students? 

    Pair with a classmate to share their reflections. To guide the conversation, you might ask:
    • What does your partner’s ideal school community look like?
    • What values are important to them, and why?
    • Do you notice any similarities or differences in your school experiences, and the types of actions that are most meaningful to you?

    Share their responses with the rest of the class, while you create a list of their ideas on a digital or physical board that is visible to everyone.
  3. Help students identify common goals that overlap the ideas that they shared, and write down statements that encompass these shared goals. For example, 
    • “We care about fairness.”
    • “We care about being respectful.”
    • “We care about everyone feeling included and supported by others.” 
  4. Invite students to work on an “Empathy Promise” that captures these shared values and goals, and demonstrates their commitment to taking actions that foster a positive school community. 

    For example:
    We will be curious and open-minded about the world,
    As we build and strengthen new friendships.
    If any disagreements or misunderstandings arise,
    We will take responsibility for our words and actions, 
    And how they affect others.
    We will inspire and support each other to be kind, 
    And be patient with ourselves as we grow and learn,
    So we can create a more caring, supportive community. 

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.