The Polka Dot Shoes

Empathy/Acceptance of Difference

The new girl at school is really grumpy and mean to the other kids. They don’t know much about her, but they’re finding it hard to like her. When she gets dragged out of the school carnival’s bounce house by a teacher, another little girl tries her shoes on and suddenly knows how she feels. It’s like magic! She gets other kids to try on the new girl’s polka-dot shoes—and they suddenly understand how the little girl is feeling too: She misses her friends from her last school, and her mom has to work out of town a lot lately. She didn’t get enough breakfast because she slept too late… and she isn’t sure if she’s going to be able to go to dance class anymore. Now that all the kids understand how she’s feeling, they can help her out and make her feel welcome.

Learning Objectives

  • Define empathy.
  • Identify various emotions by learning how common emotions are expressed in the face, body and voice.
  • Brainstorm times when empathy is and isn’t shown.
  • Explore the consequences of not thinking about others’ emotions.
  • Demonstrate how to read another person’s emotions, imagine how that person might be feeling, and respond kindly.
  • Encourage students to be kind to others.