Mini Meditation–Breathe: youtu.be/cEqZthCaMpo
Stop Making Excuses & Own Your Actions youtu.be/RGJpO2qHUbQ
Size of Feelings – SEL Sketches youtu.be/ToQn9EIz_yg
How crayons are made youtu.be/lmiRjmbnn8Q
Yoga For The Classroom youtu.be/Td6zFtZPkJ4
Self-Regulation Skills: Why They Are Fundamental youtu.be/m4UGDaCgo_s
Access the student reflection APP which provides an opportunity for students and teachers to reflect and respond to topic-specific prompts.
The purpose of this lesson is to help students better understand emotions, how to regulate them, and how to optimize their overall health. In this lesson, we will practice identifying different emotions and explore healthy ways to react to those emotions. We will practice mindfulness techniques and role play in high-intensity situations where some students may tend to overreact.
To effectively identify emotions in themselves, students need to first recognize the range of emotions that exist. Identifying potential emotions felt by others in hypothetical situations can help students recognize what they are experiencing and appropriate responses in regulating their emotions.
IDENTIFYING EMOTIONS. Identifying emotions involves paying attention to what you are feeling and giving what you feel a name. Giving yourself permission to experience an emotion, by labeling it, is the first step to understanding, processing, and regulating your emotions. Once you identify what you are feeling, you can make a plan to manage what you are feeling appropriately.
The basic emotions include happiness, sadness, anger, anticipation, fear, loneliness, jealousy, and disgust.
COMMUNICATING EMOTIONS. Once we know how we are feeling and we communicate those emotions, it is easier for others to support us.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Emotional intelligence is being able to observe and identify emotions in others and then label it. We can observe the emotions of others by paying attention to facial expressions, non-verbal cues, body language, the words they use, and their actions. Sometimes it is helpful to simply ask people what they are feeling.
SELF-REGULATING EMOTIONS. We regulate our emotions when we identify, label, and then behave appropriately. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to different scenarios. One of the first steps of self-regulation is accepting our emotions and acknowledging that they are real and must be dealt with.
Activity 1: (15 minutes) EMOJIS AND IDENTIFYING EMOTIONS
As a class, listen (with eyes closed) or watch this video, “Mini Meditation—Breathe” by Headspace. Human beings can experience many emotions. As a class, look through the slideshow of emojis and have students call out what emotions they think are being portrayed.
Display the chart of emotions from the slideshow. Explain that only some of the emotions that we experience as humans are listed. Read the scenarios and show the pictures to the class and ask them to identify possible emotions that could be associated with them. The emotions listed can be used as examples, but the students should feel free to identify any emotions they can that could be associated with each scenario.
Jessica loves to bake. She makes cookies, cake, and pie whenever she has the opportunity. Jessica’s friend had a birthday coming up and asked Jessica to make a cake for her party. Jessica worked really hard for 2 days to make the perfect cake. The cake turned out wonderfully. It was both beautiful and delicious. Everyone at the party loved it.
Jack has always done well in school. He gets good grades in every subject. Recently, however, he has been struggling with fractions. No matter how hard he studies, he can’t quite figure them out. Last week he had a test on fractions. He practiced and studied for days before the test, but he still did really poorly on it.
Molly, Sammy, and Max are siblings. They do not get along very well. They spend a lot of their time fighting with one another. They decided for their father’s birthday that they would work really hard to get along with each other. They made it the whole day without a single argument.
Evelyn is an excellent dancer. She is in several dance classes and practices many hours a week. Dancing is her life. Tryouts for her school’s dance team were coming up, and she wanted to make the team so badly. Evelyn prepared for weeks to perform the best she could at her audition. The day came and she danced her heart out. She felt like she did a great job. When the results were posted, she learned that she was an alternate—she would only be on the team if another student dropped out.
Andrew wants to go to a computer camp this summer. The camp is expensive, though, and his parents said he can only go if he saves up the money. Andrew started mowing lawns in the neighborhood, doing extra chores, and even ran a lemonade stand to make the money. There were lots of times when he wanted to spend his money on things like candy and video games, but resisted. When the day came to register for the camp, Andrew had just enough money saved to attend.
There is a boy in Amanda’s class that teases her every day. After going to the eye doctor, Amanda was given a prescription for glasses. At school, this same boy teased her about the glasses and called her mean names.
Point out that everyone will feel all kinds of emotions at some point in their lives. Some emotions are more difficult to experience than others, but the first step to regulating or reacting well to emotions is being able to identify them as we feel them. When identifying emotions, we should ask ourselves 2 questions:
Activity 2: (15 minutes) INFLUENCES AROUND US
With partners, have students discuss different situations (e.g., school, family, friends, etc.) that might bring up or “trigger” negative emotions. For example, what makes you sad online? What makes you feel angry at school? After a few minutes, come together and list some common situations on the board. Save these for the next activity. Have a discussion:
Watch the video, “Stop Making Excuses & Own Your Actions” by Rocket Kids. Have a discussion:
Activity 3: (30 minutes) TOOLS FOR EMOTIONAL REGULATION
Watch the video, “Size of Feelings – SEL Sketches” by SEL Sketches. Have a discussion:
There is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” emotion. Some emotions may be more pleasant to experience than others, but that doesn’t make any emotion the wrong one. We are all entitled to feel every emotion we feel.
However, just because we can “feel” any emotion, it does not mean that we can react in any way that we would like to. We will be exploring some different strategies that help us process and regulate our emotions in healthy and appropriate ways.
Strategy 1: Deep Breathing
Hand out a feather to every student and ask them to place it on their desk. Ask students to do jumping jacks or high knees for 30 seconds. Then, instruct students to breath in and hold it for a few seconds, then breath out, calmly moving up and down the feather. Repeat several times and ask students to notice if their heart rate slows down.
Strategy 2: Count to Calm Down
Look around the room and find something in the room of which there is a large quantity (e.g., desks, ceiling tiles, carpet squares). Slowly notice and count those objects. This distracts the mind and can reduce distressed feelings. Model and practice with students.
Strategy 3: Take a Break
Explain that the benefits of taking breaks include increased focus, productivity, and reduced stress. Read more about it here. As a class, take a brain break of your choice:
Look online and you will find thousands of “brain breaks” for students. Additionally, it may be wise to create a “safe spot” or a “calm down corner” where students can visit if they are feeling overwhelmed and need a minute to calm themselves. Read more about those here. If you already use one, reinforce the use of this space with your students.
Strategy 4: Use a Calm-Down Object
Maybe you have a favorite toy at home or a soft blanket that you love. Oftentimes, these cannot be brought to school, so as a class, brainstorm some options that would work in a school setting.
Strategy 5: Problem-Solve with an Adult
Sometimes we need help thinking of the best healthy solution to our problems. Adults can help! Ask students who they think they can talk to about feeling big emotions while at home or school. After they share their list, remind students of any school psychologist or other staff that they can talk to and help them think of the appropriate times to use those resources.
Strategy 6: Identify Mood Boosters
We all have different things that we enjoy doing, though we may not have realized that these activities might not only be enjoyable, but mood-boosters as well! Some examples might include riding your bike, playing an instrument, watching a TV show with your family, or talking to a loved one on the phone. Ask students to turn to a neighbor and discuss what other activities boost their moods?
Making a strategic choice when we are upset will help us to make healthy choices. This is important for more than ourselves. Regulating our emotions can affect our families, friends, performance in school, long-term mental health, and our ability to thrive.
To practice the important skill of emotional regulation, have students select 5–10 scenarios that were listed on the board from the last situation and describe both a negative/unhealthy reaction and a positive/healthy reaction to the situation.
Have students share their answers with the people sitting closest to them.
It is important to have strategies in our “tool belt” so we can pull them out when we need them.
Have a discussion:
Activity 4: (15 minutes) ROUTINES AND PREPARATION
Explain to students that planning ahead for potentially emotional situations can alleviate or even resolve their emotions during that situation.
Idea #1: Plan ahead and don’t procrastinate.
Lay out your clothes for the next day. Pack your lunch. Finish your assignment.
Idea #2: Stretch or do some yoga.
Complete this yoga video, “Yoga For The Classroom” by Yoga With Adriene.
Idea #3: Take care of yourself physically (shower, eat well, get enough sleep).
Idea #4: Practice meditation and/or deep breathing
Make the room dark, turn on some calm music, and invite students to lay on the ground or lay their head on the desk. Run them through a meditation exercise. Tell them to close their eyes and focus on what they can sense while offering suggestions—see (darkness, maybe residual lights behind their eyelids), hear (music, your voice, air conditioner, projector, etc.), smell (identify different classroom smells), taste (maybe what they ate earlier in the day), and feel (their chairs, desks, etc.). Meditation can help clear our minds and help us focus better, which, just like stretching and breathing, can help us remain calm and collected when experiencing intense emotions.
Idea #5: Discuss the situation and role play with a parent or loved one.
Practice this with a partner. Partner 1 picks a stressful situation coming up in their life. Partner 2 asks them what they can do to prepare. They can even act it out if they’d like. Then switch roles so each partner has had a chance to discuss or role play their hard situation.
Activity 5: (10 Minutes) EXIT TICKET
Have a discussion:
Pass out a sticky note to each student. Have students write down one imaginative solution that they can use when they are feeling out of control. They can keep this note for themselves as a reminder.