Cultivating a Compassionate Classroom
Dear Teachers, We ask you to please think of those teachers who impacted your life in inspirational and positive ways, and those who did just the opposite. In that reflection, you gain a clear understanding of how much good and healing can be generated by the experience in the classroom - or hurt. Humanitarian Albert Schweitzer said, “at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Inspired by our original art and science exhibition, “HEALING & THE ART OF COMPASSION (And the lack thereof!),” we are delighted to share some wonderful resources and lesson plans centered on the themes of compassion and healing, with free offerings appropriate for K-12. We hope these teaching and learning activities will assist you and your students in creating your own more thoughtful, kind, civil, safe and compassionate classroom. By being kind to ourselves and to others, practicing empathy and forgiveness, respecting, valuing, and helping others, we build lives of joy and trust together.
Visionary Activities for the Classroom
VideOS WE LOVE on compassion
An Artist Practicing Kindness
Artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles acted IN A KINDRED SENSE TO DR. KING. UKELES elevated the concept of recognition and “thank you” in our society to an art. She took more than two years to shake the hands of Manhattan’s more than 8,000+ garbage collectors in her personal acknowledgement of their daily devotions which make happy life possible for everybody in New York City. Mierle put it beautifully, “I have created work out of a yearning to expand the social contract until everyone, simply everyone, is in the picture. We are still in the beginning of this world revolution of learning to see everyone as B’Tzelem Elohim, an image of the Divine; which means, as well, to see the whole world as our holy home.
- Excerpt from Rebecca Hoffberger's essay "The Art of the Thank You"
Mega gratitude to our extraordinary educators for their COMPASSION lesson planning and collaboration: Mama Rashida Forman-Bey, Dara Feldman and the Virtues Project, Annie Bobbitt and Emily Conner, as well as AVAM’s own visionary educators, Beka Plum and Mavet Rosas.