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Compassion and Solidarity of the Heart: Journal Reflections

By Rosalina San Nicolas

High School Educator, John F. Kennedy High School, Guam

About This Lesson

The following lesson plan was developed as part of the Culturally Sustaining Education: The Micronesian Context professional development workshop held 24-26 July 2018. The workshop was held in Guam and made possible by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa in partnership with Chaminade University of Honolulu’s Center for Teaching and Learning, the Department of CHamoru Affairs and the Senator Antonio Palomo Guam Museum and Educational Facility, the College of Micronesia, Alik Translation Services, and Guampedia. All lesson plans developed as part of this series were authored by a Guam-based educator with contributions from workshop facilitators.


History, Technology, English


High School, 9-12

Guam & Common Core State Standard

  • GH.2 Students learn how human beings view themselves in and over time.
  • GH.2.1 Examine and interpret primary and secondary source documents.
  • 9-12.4 Students demonstrate safe, legal, and ethical behavior when using technology to communicate or create a product.
  • ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

Lesson Plan


In this lesson, students will begin to explore the concepts of compassion, solidarity, and the value of the interrelatedness of all humanity through their study of historical pieces to include tools, artifacts, sketches, drawings, paintings, photographs, music or films from a variety of Guam’s historical periods available through links in Guampedia. Students maintain a journal of new learnings throughout the year. Length of Journals and evaluations are according to individual teacher’s preference or needs.


  • Given opportunity to browse Guampedia media resources of images, students will select a piece that reflects compassionate actions and identify three reasons how the items may be interpreted as demonstrating the value of compassion. (Ideas: people helping others, teaching, sharing resources, being awarded an honor, sharing responsibilities, honoring the deceased etc.)
  • Given the opportunity to browse Guampedia media resources or images, students will select photographs or images that reflect a lack of compassion and identify three reasons how these items reflect a lack of compassion. (Ideas: map labels, forced indoctrination, forced labor, forced relocations, beatings, slavery, physical abuse.)
  • Given the opportunity to browse Guampedia media resources, students will select items that reflect solidarity of the heart specifically people working together for justice and identify three reasons how the items reflect justice and solidarity of the heart. (Ideas: Guam’s quest for self government, images of Guam’s legislature.)


Teacher prep

  1. Reserve library time for access to tablets or internet for students to access Guampedia. Preview Guampedia images related to the themes in order to assist students who may not be able to navigate the site with ease. Expect the “digital divide” meaning different levels of internet use capabilities among students. Anticipate pairing students with different levels of internet search skills.
  2. Peruse relevant materials in Guampedia: CHamoru Cultural Values and CHamoru Cultural Values Workshop (Pages 3 and 4).


  1. Teacher led discussion on what constitutes compassionate action. What constitutes non-compassionate action? What are ways we show compassion? Why is compassion lacking in today’s society? What are indicators of lack of compassion in society? A T- chart graphic organizer can be created on the board as a visual to be filled in during discussion.
  2. Teacher led discussion what is solidarity? What makes people unite behind a cause? Discussion of current movement in the United States against guns. How did the school shootings activate youth to stand up against automatic weapons? Discussion of current movement for deportation of illegal immigrants in the United States. What makes people stand up against governments? Where do they derive their courage from?
  3. Teacher assist students in defining the terms compassion and solidarity. Discuss dictionary definition and ask students to redefine the terms in their own language or common slang.
  4. Extension activity: Ask students to keep an eye out for acts of compassion or non-compassion in their school day. Ask students to record their impressions and share findings in-group discussion. Ask students to brainstorm how their generation can build compassion in their own communities.
  5. Extension activity: Ask students to find a cause they would like to support and show solidarity for. The cause may be local or international. Students could share in-group discussion why the cause appealed to them and how they could participate or initiate interest in the cause at the local level.

Quotes about compassion

Compassion is often thought of as akin to pity, but whereas pity may be condescending, compassion springs from a sense of the equality and interconnectedness of life. Compassion is rooted in respect for the inherent dignity of life – our own and others’ – and a desire to see that dignity triumph. The transformation of society can only occur through a transformation of people’s hearts. A life based on compassion means a staunch belief in the unrealized potential of others and ourselves. It is easy to give up on ourselves and others in the face of our failure and foolishness; such loss of faith in humanity is characteristic of our troubled world today. To continue to believe in and encourage the innate goodness and potential of our own and others’ lives is…the bedrock of a firm optimism upon which all people can base their actions to bring about positive change in our world.

SGI USA World Tribune 2018

When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.

Dalai Lama XIV

When the sense of solidarity has been developed to such a point that each one feels the cause of all others as his own, we shall be drawing near to international and to social peace.

Ellen Key