As we edge closer to Spring Break around here, there are lots of feeling words flying about. Kids are excited, distracted, hyper and giddy at the thought of the week ahead. Teachers are feeling the same things, but with a thick layer of exhaustion overlaying them all!! I often get frustrated (another feeling word!) when working with the concept of emotions in the classroom. For some reason, we seem to get stuck on happy, sad, mad and silly. That’s it??? I know those are the primary feelings that come to mind with little people, but when working with students who have social communication weakness, subtlety is not our friend. For us to have teachable moments, we have to talk about many more than just those four.
A SLP I work with forwarded me this amazing emotion graphic from Do2Learn . It shows a HUGE variety of emotions that are placed on a color wheel. Each emotion word is color coded to intensity levels, then when you click on the word, it gives you a picture of someone showing this emotion and a description of it!! For example, aggravated is pink where as furious is dark purple, genius! My only wish is that you could attach video clips not just static pictures of the emotion, but this is a fantastic starting point. Along with this emotion chart, we need to include the clues to figure out people’s more subtle feelings such as looking at the person’s mouth (frown, tight-lipped, smiling?), the eyes and eyebrows (angry eyes anyone?), and body language (arms crossed, hands fisted, physical proximity to someone). Take the language out of videos or commercials and have your students practice figuring out how someone feels once they master static pictures. Emotions change over time, people and places, so this is an ongoing life lesson.
Here is a free checklist for working with your students on determining emotions (pair it with the emotion wheel!).