Yesterday at the 2016 Annual NCTE Conference, I had the honor of presenting strategies on how to get students moved to write about their experiences with struggle, oppression, and controversial topics that most people shy away from in classroom discussion.

The empathy journal proved to be one of the most favored strategies; it allowed the participants to freely write from a critical perspective and point of view. An empathy journal entry can be written in prose or poetry. The focus of the empathy journal is to write from the perspective or point of view of the protagonist, antagonist, main character, or sub-character. The response should consider:

  • Fairness
  • Suffering
  • Self-esteem
  • Dignity
  • Contribution to society
  • Action Plan

Using protest videos as prompts, I challenged the participants to create an empathy journal in 60 seconds. See it in action! Here is a sample from @IamMeysha one of the 55 participants  who stayed after the workshop to share her empathy journal on camera.