Perspective Taking & Listening Activity for Classroom Counseling

This year in 5th grade, we’re working on peaceful conflict resolution. We’ve covered sharing feelings, and social filtering so far, and up next in our sequence is perspective taking. I want my students to be able to communicate their points of view clearly and also be able to truly listen to their peers and hear their perspectives. Keep reading for details on the perspective taking activity I used with my 5th graders. You can also watch here as I explain it on IGTV.

Check out this perspective taking lesson I did for a classroom guidance activity with 5th graders! Use it in classroom counseling or small group counseling. Practice clear, calm communication and listening skills in engaging activities that keep all students interested and active!

Perspective Taking Activity

Materials:

  • Simple drawings
  • Blank paper
  • Pencils
  • Clipboard

Hook:

To hook students from the start, I began the lesson by asking for 2 volunteers. We did this partner listening activity in which students sit back to back. One has a picture and is tasked with giving the partner understandable instructions so that the partner can draw the picture. It’s a great activity to practice communicating clearly and calmly and listening intently and following directions.

I gave one student the picture shown below. It has some really simple shapes that if communicated clearly can be easily duplicated. The students love this activity and it’s a great jumping-off point to talk about communicating to show others our perspective.

Check out this perspective taking lesson I did for a classroom guidance activity with 5th graders! Use it in classroom counseling or small group counseling. Practice clear, calm communication and listening skills in engaging activities that keep all students interested and active!

Discussion:

From here we talk about sharing our perspectives with others. Why is this important? How can we effectively communicate our points of view? How can we push our own perspectives aside so that we can truly hear others? We discuss these points as a whole group and talk about strategies like imaging our thoughts in a box while we listen and maintaining a calm demeanor while using I statements.

Whole Group Activity:

To practice sharing and hearing perspectives, we have a debate. I divided students into 4 small groups. Groups 1 and 2 were assigned to argue in favor of school uniforms. Groups 3 and 4 were assigned to argue against school uniforms. Presumably, most students in groups 1 and 2 were arguing for a perspective they did not agree with, so we talk about how actually having to think through why the “other side” likes or wants something helps us to better understand their perspective.

For the actual debate, groups 1 and 3 and groups 2 and 4 lined up face to face so that each student was facing a student in the other group. Each student debated one peer for a few minutes and then I had one line shift so everyone had a new partner. Debating in this way takes the pressure off of students who don’t want to debate in front of the whole class and keeps everyone engaged because every student is participating and engaged all at once.

Debrief:

  • What was it like to argue for a perspective you didn’t agree with? How did it help you to better understand that perspective?
  • What strategies did you use to show your debate partner you were listening?
  • How did it feel when your debate partner was yelling? Were you more and less interested in hearing their perspective?
  • Who communicated clearly and calmly? How did it feel to communicate with them?
  • How can these skills we practiced today be applied to your life right now?

Picked for You

More Perspective-Taking Activities:

Check out this perspective taking lesson I did for a classroom guidance activity with 5th graders! Use it in classroom counseling or small group counseling. Practice clear, calm communication and listening skills in engaging activities that keep all students interested and active!

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