Through My Eyes
- Create a set of glasses that represent their own unique perspective
- Explore different situations from a classmate’s perspective by “trying on” their glasses
Researchers have identified several benefits of perspective taking, such as forming and strengthening social bonds between people through decreased prejudice and stereotyping, and increased social coordination and competence. This activity focuses on students’ self-awareness as they reflect on different factors that shape their own perspective, and perspective taking and inclusivity to seek out, imagine, and respect their classmates’ differing perspectives.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- "Through My Eyes" handout
- Art materials (e.g., pens, pencils, markers, crayons, and paint)
- Introduce the activity to students by explaining: "Our perspective is like a unique pair of glasses that we wear, formed by our experiences, beliefs, values, and more. Just as glasses affect how we see things, our perspective shapes how we understand the world. But here's the cool part: we can take off our own glasses for a moment and try on someone else's! Perspective taking is like borrowing someone’s glasses to see things from their point-of-view. It helps us imagine their thoughts and feelings in different situations, and while we can never truly see things exactly as they do, perspective taking allows us to get closer to understanding them and strengthens our connection!"
- Invite students to select one of the glasses from this packet, and personalize their own pair of glasses by adding words, symbols, and pictures that represent important parts of their life. For example, if they love animals, they might draw a paw print on their glasses. Or, they might draw a small tree to express their respect for nature.
- Once everyone has finished creating their glasses, ask students to form pairs or small groups, and take turns "trying on" each other's glasses. Students should carefully observe and examine their partner’s glasses to gain insights into their perspective, and consider the following questions:
• What do you notice about your partner’s glasses?
• What are some important aspects of their life, and how might these characteristics shape their perspective?
• Are there any similarities or differences between their glasses and your own?
- Encourage students to explore different situations through each other’s unique perspectives. For example:
• Trying to make a new friend: How might their partner approach someone new? What common interests or personality traits might they look for?
• Experiencing different emotions: What might make their partner feel happy or peaceful? What situations might make them feel sad or anxious? Why?
• Celebrating holidays: What do they think are some important holidays or festivals for their partner? How might they enjoy celebrating these occasions?
Students should try to imagine how their partner would experience these situations by “trying on” their partner’s glasses. For example, if their partner cares deeply about nature, they might imagine that their partner feels happy when they spend time outdoors, and sad when they see people throwing trash on the ground.
Afterwards, students can discuss their reflections with their partner to see how well they understood each other’s perspective, and ask clarifying questions to deepen their understanding.
- To end the activity, gather students for a group reflection and ask the following questions:
• How did your classmate’s glasses help you imagine their feelings or behavior in these situations?
• Was it easy or difficult to imagine your classmate’s perspective? Why?
• How accurately were you able to predict your classmate's thoughts and feelings? Is it ever possible to be completely correct in our understanding of others? Why or why not?
• Did anything surprise you or challenge your own assumptions during the activity?
• How can you use perspective taking in your everyday interactions with others?
- While reading books in class, encourage students to use this exercise to deepen their understanding of a character’s perspective. For example, students might consider the following questions to create a pair of glasses for the character:
• What is the character's background and upbringing?
• What are their goals, desires, and fears?
• How do they see the world around them?
• What are some important experiences or relationships in their lives?
• What conflicts or challenges do they face, and how do they respond to them?
- As students read the book, encourage students to use the glasses to immerse themselves in the character’s perspective.
- Afterwards, ask reflection questions such as:
• How did the glasses help you see the story from the character’s point-of-view, and better understand their emotions and behavior?
• Were there any moments in the story where you felt a strong connection to the character's emotions or experiences while wearing their glasses? What made those moments particularly impactful?
• How is the character’s perspective different from your own? What aspects of their life are unfamiliar or surprising to you?
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.