Empathy Interview & Bringing Joy

Learning Target OR Standards & Connections
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
  • California Media Arts & English Language Development Standards (Grade 6) 

A. Collaborative 

1. Exchanging information and ideas with others through oral collaborative discussions on a range of social and academic topics

Essential Outcome(s) Level(s)
Students will…

  • Conduct empathy interviews
  • Listen intently to empathy partner
  • Write, record, edit  & publish a creation (musical or audio)  to bring joy to their empathy partner
Adaptable to Middle,  High and Post-Secondary
  1. With 10 minutes on a timer, invite each student to explore as many features of Soundtrap as possible.  The goal is to press as many buttons and discover as many features as possible.  
  2. Go around the room and have each learner share their “one cool thing.”  Each student needs to report on something different. 
  3. Students will then choose a classmate to be their “empathy partner.”
  4. Ask students what it means to be an active listener/ what empathy means. (Think, pair, share) 
  5. Give empathy groups no more than 5 minutes to conduct empathy interviews 

where each partner answers this question: “what brings you joy?”  encourage interviewers to ask guiding questions such as “describe one of the last times you remember being happy,”  “how do you know when you are happy?”  “when was a time you felt joy around another person?  When you were all alone?”  

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes. 
  2. Once the interviews are completed, have each member of the group open a new blank project in Soundtrap.
  3. Write this quote on the board “Creativity craves constraints.” -author unknown
  4. Students will have NO MORE than 10 minutes to create a musical or spoken word recording that will bring their partner joy.
  5. Students will use the information they collected during the empathy interviews to select loops/play instruments/record voice in such a way that will bring their partner joy.  
  6. When the 10-minute timer ends, the groups will come back together and each partner will present their creation regardless of completion to their partner only. Do let the students know to include explanations of what and why they created, i.e. “I chose to include this sound because…” “I wanted to create the feeling of ….” “I’m hoping this makes you feel joyful because…”
  7. Students should have the opportunity to share with the larger group but not be required. 
  8. Discuss as a large group how it felt to have something created just for them to bring joy.
Extended Learning
  1. Celebrate and extend the learning experience by publishing to the school website, class Twitter account, or local radio show if both empathy partners feel comfortable.


This lesson was created by Audrey O’Clair. Audrey was an Educational Specialist, for Soundtrap at Spotify. Previous to Soundtrap, Audrey taught special education and early childhood education in Maine. Audrey has a Master’s of Science in Educational Technology from Lesley University and presents around the world on the potential of audio recording global collaborations in classrooms.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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