Emotions are hard for young children to understand so they should be taught how to deal with them appropriately. This article provides a three day lesson plan on handling emotions to help students understand the things they may feel and how to act about them.
Preschool students learn many things! They learn about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, do science experiments, and look at maps. However, abstract concepts are very hard for young students to comprehend. They are often unable to understand things they cannot see. Learning about emotions can be one of those things. This lesson on emotions provide ways to bring emotions to life!
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
- Green construction paper circles
- Red construction paper circles
- Popsicle sticks
- Black markers
Ask the students what emotions are. Explain that emotions are the way we feel. Ask the students to brainstorm some emotions they may feel. Talk about what each emotion means. Read The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. Each page names an emotion and talks about what it means and events that could make you feel that way. Stop after each page and ask the students to think of a time when they felt that emotion. Have one or two students share each time.
Next, ask the students to show you what a happy person looks like. Have each child show you a big smile. Then ask the students to show you what a sad person looks like. Every child should show you a frown. Tell the children they will be making emotion signs. Give each child a green construction paper circle. Have them use a black marker to draw a smiley face. Then give them a red construction paper circle, and have them draw a sad face with the marker. Lastly, give the students each a Popsicle stick. Have the students glue the circles back to back with the stick between them.
Tell the students they will be using their signs to show how they would feel in different situations. Give the students several examples, and have them hold up the happy face or the sad face. A few examples include:
- Your dog runs away from home
- It's your birthday
- You learned a new trick or skill
- You fell down and someone laughed at you
- Someone stole your favorite toy
- Your friend comes over to play
How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
- Slips of paper with emotions listed on them
- Blank paper
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
Ask the students to tell you what emotions are. Review emotions with the students. Ask them to show you what a person may look like when they are feeling different emotions. Emotions you may ask them to portray may include:
Once they have reviewed emotions, read How Are You Peeling? Food with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. Ask the students to pay attention to how each food looks when they feel each emotion.
Next, have each child choose an emotion out of a cup or hat. Help each student read their emotion word. Each child will think of a time when they felt that emotion. Then give each child a blank sheet of paper. Ask each student to use their crayons, markers, or colored pencils to make a poster about that emotion. They must write their word at the top of their poster and then draw a picture of what they were doing when they felt that emotion.
When Sophie Gets Angry... Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
Now that your students understand what emotions are, it is time to move on. Begin the lesson by reviewing emotions. Explain to the students that now that they know what emotions are, it is time to learn how to handle them. Begin by reading When Sophie Gets Angry... Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. Ask the students questions about the story. Some possible questions are:
- Why was Sophie angry?
- Who made Sophie angry?
- What did Sophie do when she was angry?
- Was Sophie still angry when she came home?
- What made Sophie happy again?
Discuss what Sophie did to deal with her anger. Have the students brainstorm things they can do when they are angry. What about when they are sad or nervous? Ask the students to tell you whether a reaction is a good choice or a bad choice. Some possible reactions include:
- Hitting a friend
- Yelling at a parent
- Crying in your room
- Running away from home
- Being quiet until you are calm
- Walking away from the person
Now it is time to give the little movie stars in your class a chance to shine. Bring one or two children to come up at a time. Tell only those students you brought up what they will have to say or do. Act out one side of a situation and have them act out the reaction. Then have the class tell you whether the reaction was a good decision or a bad decision. If it was a bad decision, ask the students what the person could have done differently. Some possible situations could be:
- A mom tells her children they cannot buy candy. The children scream and kick at her.
- A teacher tells a student he will miss recess because he wasn't listening. He feels upset and lays his head on his desk.
- An older sister tells Mom that her little brother was mean to her when he wasn't. He gets very upset and yells at her and calls her a liar.
When Day Three is done, your students should have a wonderful grasp on emotions and how to deal with them. These lesson plans on emotions for preschoolers also address several learning styles to reach all students in your preschool classroom. These lessons will not only benefit your students, but it will make your classroom run more effectively when the students are able to handle their emotions in an appropriate way!