Walk a Mile in His Shoes

17 Nov

In looking for writing inspiration, I was browsing my pinterest boards and found this gem I had forgotten about.  It is definitely worth sharing. Barbara Gruener writes a blog called Corner on Character.  She has loads of great teaching ideas to help kids learn character education values.  This one is called Empathy in a Shoe.  Basically, you have several different types of shoes in shoe boxes for children to look at.  Inside each one, she has written a situation that the person wearing those shoes might be in.  Then she asks students to answer the questions posed as that person.

(Note to self:  Change the wording in the box from ‘the person that’ to ‘the person who’.)



 I can still get to the blog posting from my pinterest account, but when I added it here, it would not open.  Hopefully you have better luck with it than I did.  

It’s a great technique for teaching empathy, but as I was browsing I realized it’s also a great technique for writing as well.  Once you know a little bit about your character, take a few minutes to walk in his shoes.  There’s so much more to learn.  I decided to try it out with one of my new story ideas and I was amazed at how much better my character sounded on the page!

Have fun working with this technique.  Leave me a comment, I’d love to know what you’re up to!

7 Responses to “Walk a Mile in His Shoes”

  1. Barbara Gruener January 26, 2014 at 11:02 AM #

    What a fun post to stumbled upon this morning! While I do love to craft lessons like this, this particular strategy was shared with me by one of my readers, Tanya Kirschman, a wonderful counselor in Montana. I simply piggybacked the idea by writing my own three scenarios that would fit my students and they LOVED that chance at walking in another person’s shoes for a spell! Thank you for sharing it and for your kind words about the Corner on Character, Juliana.


    • Juliana Lee January 27, 2014 at 9:01 AM #

      Hi Barbara! I’m so glad you found it. It really is a wonderful lesson to teach students in a classroom, and a great writing prompt for us working on children’s books too. It’s nice to know you approve!


  2. Milka Pejovic Photography November 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM #

    That’s a great idea, and you could use this shoe box technique for many, many writing assignments, not just empathy. It could be cowboy boots, dancing shoes, running shoes, etc. So many possibilities…


    • Juliana Lee November 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM #

      Thanks for stopping by Milka. It’s always fun to find something old and find a new purpose for it!


  3. Patricia Tilton November 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM #

    I love what Barbara teaches her students. And, her character building initiative is a beautiful idea — what better way to start than with young children who naturally care. Liked how you used her techniqued when writing a character. Great idea.


    • Juliana Lee November 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM #

      Thanks, Patricia! It’s always fun to run across something important and be able to use it for something else entirely different.



  1. Empathy | Choose A Good Life - December 21, 2013

    […] Empathy in a Shoe (juliana56lee.wordpress.com) […]


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