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Teaching Students to Control Their Emotions

My recent post about Modelling Emotional Behavior seems like a great time to think about teaching this skill in your classroom. As a professional teacher you will have to make this activity age relevant and scaffold the learning for your room.

However, if you are willing to work with your students on emotional literacy you will be giving them a great gift. After all, if not you, then who?

So here is my idea. I’m sure that you can build on it from here.

Lesson 1

Open by asking your students “How many of you have goals and dreams?”  Then ask them “How many of you want to achieve your goals and dreams?”

Explain that negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, and anger, can get in the way and block us from achieving our goals and dreams.  Ask “How many of you would like to learn to manage your negative emotions so that you can accomplish your goals and dreams?”

Explain that you will be working with them over a series of sessions because we have habits and it takes time, self-reflection, and practice to change habits.

  1. Ask your students, “When you are having a strong emotion such as stress, anger or sadness, where do you experience these emotions or feelings?”  Answers might include: inside me, in my chest, in my throat, sweaty hands, pounding heart etc.  Invite many answers to the question and discuss their feelings and thoughts.
  2. Show them this picture And ask them to do a storyboard of a time when they felt like the guy in the picture. Ask them to draw what made them feel that way, exactly what was going on inside of them when it happened, and how the event finally turned out.
  3. Close with a paired discussion in which students share with a partner about the event that they described on their storyboard.
  4. Ask them to close their discussion with how they might handle the same situation if they had a chance to replay the event today.
  5. Close with a full room share. Ask students to begin observing their emotions and feelings in preparation for the next EQ lesson.

Lesson 2:

Add this lesson to your program once you feel students are ready to move on from the first session.

  1. Open the EQ lesson by asking students if they have been observing their emotions since the last time you discussed it.
  2. Discuss their answers.
  3. Show the class this picture: Emotion2Ask the class if any of them had the experience of noticing their reactions, emotions, and feelings but not getting fully caught by them. Ask them where they noticed these emotions (dry throat, sweaty palms, tight stomach or head etc.). Was it the same as before or different?
  4. Invite them to storyboard one of the events that happened while they were observing their reactions. Ask them to show how it felt to observe their reactions while they were reacting.
  5. Close with a paired share and a finally a full room share.

In preparation for the next session, ask students to continue observing their emotions by noticing what goes on internally. Tell them you will continue to work with managing our emotions because the more we can manage our emotions, the more successful each of us will be in life.

Lesson 3

  1. Open the EQlesson by asking students if they have been observing their emotions since the last time. Ask them if they are getting better at being an observer or if they are still getting caught in their emotions.
  2. Discuss their answers.
  3. Show the class this pictureEmotion 3discuss the picture and the saying, “I own my emotion.  It doesn’t own me!”
  4. Ask students what the saying means to them and why the picture might be called “Freedom”.
  5. Invite students to do a storyboard of one of the events that happened while they were observing their reactions.  Ask them to show how they handled it. If it was like the picture, that’s great.  If they were a bit caught in their emotions ask them to do a storyboard of how they would have handled it if they were the little person in the picture.
  6. Close with a paired share and a finally a full room share.

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