One of the simplest ways to foster compassion and understanding in our classrooms is to give students opportunities to share stories about their lives. By communicating and listening, students can break down stereotypes and see each other as real people. This can be done through curriculum-related projects such as personal narrative and poetry or as part of a daily class meeting.
I’ve found particular success using the “neighborhood map.” I typically assign this at the beginning of the school year as a get-to-know-you activity, but it can be done at any time during the school year. (Sarah Anderson at Teaching Tolerance)