Family Resources on When I Feel I Need Part 1
Project and Purpose
Students work in teams to create A-Z charts of vocabulary to express emotions.
How does having the right vocabulary to name our emotions help us communicate better?
Note: This is part 1 of a three-part lesson.
If this lesson was used in the classroom:Students assessed how to describe and discuss their emotions and feelings with others. Students learned about vocabulary and discussed how to describe various emotional states by developing charts in small groups.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
People sometimes have difficulty communicating because we don’t know the right word for what we are feeling or other times people have trouble describing their needs to others. For example, there is a huge difference in meaning and emotional states of the words “sad” and “mad”. In this series of lessons students expand their vocabulary and practice describing various emotional contexts in ways that support connection in relationships.
Conversation Starters and Practice at Home
The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.
What were some of the powerful words that were discussed in your group or in class? Why do you think these words were powerful?
Why do you think it is important to understand how to describe different emotions (or feelings) you have?
Choose several emotions that you sometimes feel and define them. Which ones are more difficult to define? Why do you think so?
School to Home Resources on When I Feel I Need Part 1
- 3 large A-Z charts (chart paper with letters of alphabet written down the left side): one labeled “Sad,” one labeled “Mad,” and one labeled “Happy”
- Markers or crayons—one per student (Note: It is helpful to give a different color marker or crayon to each student on each team so you can track whether each student has contributed to the chart work or not.)
1. Explain to students that some people say there are only three basic emotions: sad, mad, and happy. Ask any preschooler how they feel and you will get one of these responses. However, there are variations of all emotions and we often need more advanced or specific vocabulary to capture the exact emotions we feel.
2. Break the group into three teams and assign each team an emotion A-Z chart (sad, mad, or happy). Give each student on the team a different colored marker or crayon (i.e., Team Happy members have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, violet; Team Mad members have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, violet; etc.) The teams must come up with as many nuanced vocabulary words that express different aspects of their basic word and write them next to the associated letter. For example:
3. Tell students you will walk around the room and observe their team work to make sure every person on the team has contributed to the chart—all colors and different handwriting must be evident. They do not need to fill in the lists in alphabetical order, and there may be more than one word for each letter. Teacher should determine if students may use resources such as dictionaries, thesauruses, or electronic devices to complete their charts.
4. Give the teams about 15 minutes to work on their charts. Call time and have the teams rotate to the next chart and give them five minutes to add to this chart. They may choose to fill in any blanks or write additional words for each letter. At the end of five minutes, call time and have teams rotate to the last chart and give them an additional five minutes to add to this chart. As with the previous rotation, they may choose to fill in any blanks or write additional words for each letter.
5. When the last rotation is complete, ask students to return to their original lists to review the additions to the chart.
6. Explain that this is the appropriate time for students to ask clarifying questions about any word they do not understand.
7. Have each student CIRCLE one word on their original chart that stands out for them. It might be what they consider to be the most powerful word on the chart, or an unusual word, or perhaps a word that they want to remember to use. It’s okay if everyone chooses the same word, but encourage them to think independently.
8. Next have them make a BOX around one word on their original chart that is new to them. If all the words are familiar, they should choose a word they rarely use. It’s okay if everyone chooses the same word, but encourage them to think independently.
9. Have them return the markers/crayons and return to their seats.
Tell students they will use these charts in the next session. Close with a discussion: How does having the right vocabulary to name our emotions help us communicate better?