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Name That Feeling

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TOPIC: Feelings and Body Language

CONCEPT: The ability to identify and name feelings and become aware of body language is essential to the development of communication and social skills, which are protective factors that offset risks in children's lives.

OBJECTIVE: Students listen to a list of common feelings read aloud by the teacher, watch the teacher model body language and observe their body language in a mirror.


Method: Class room activity
Time Frame: 15 minutes plus "Post Test" and "Discussion"
Material: Go to "Feelings" page (see link below), print page and cut in strips; paper bag; and full length mirror.

ACTIVITY: Cut the feelings (follow this link and print page) into strips and place in a paper bag and set aside. Do not use the mirror yet. Discuss feelings; explain that everyone feels lots of different feelings. Sometimes we can feel several different feelings in one day or one hour and sometimes we can feel two feelings at once. Name the feelings: happy, sad, surprised, scared or afraid, ashamed, lonely, disappointed and mad or angry. As you name each feeling, encourage the children to "make their faces and bodies show the feelings." Describe what you see (frowns, smiles, folded arms, pursed lips, etc.). Model what you see them do. Explain that this is called "body language"... you don't have to say something to show a feeling... your body speaks through its actions... your body's actions are like "sign language"... they can tell us things without words.

POST-TEST: After the children have practiced the feelings without the mirror, place the mirror in front of the class and allow each student to draw a feeling out of the sack. (You may assist the student in reading the feeling's name.) Ask each student to model the feeling they drew and observe him/herself in the mirror. Ask the child to explain what he/she is making her face and body do to show the feeling to others. As each child takes his/her turn, ask:

  • What does ______________ look like? (Repeat for each feeling drawn)

DISCUSSION: After the "Post-Test", ask, "Do some feelings look alike?" (Sad, lonely and ashamed often do.) Explain that even when we think we know what a person's body and face are saying, we cannot be sure. We must always ask how the person is feeling to be sure. What might happen if we thought someone was feeling one feeling, but they were feeling another? We might behave in a way we thought was the best way to behave... like leaving a person alone when we thought they were angry, but instead they were lonely. What might they think if they were lonely and we just left them alone? We could hurt someone's feelings.

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