Since the beginning of the year, I have been working with the students to explore behaviours. When we began the year, we started with books that helped us reinforce the behaviours that were expected within the classroom and at school. While setting these standards and expectations are incredibly important for your classroom management, I felt like we also needed to spend time discussing and exploring the deeper roots of these expectations. I wanted to stress to my students that ‘having feelings, whatever they are; is okay!’ But what is important are ‘the choices we make on how to deal with our feelings’. It is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to take our anger out on our classmates, teacher or objects in the classroom etc., Instead, what can we do to deal with our anger? “We can take a time out!”, “We can go into the quiet tent!”, “We can take a deep breath!”. By pairing emotional education alongside behavioural expectations, students will understand their feelings better while also using the behavioural expectations as a guide to appropriately responding to those emotions.
“The Way I Feel” by Janan Cain, is a great book if you want to cover a variety of different emotions in one lesson/read. While this book in particular does not offer suggestions on how to deal with each of these emotions, it is wonderful for describing each emotion.
I wanted to pair this book with a fun, hands on activity that continued to pursue the identification of different emotions. Obviously I made my way to Pinterest when I came across the blog of The Curious Kindergarten. She had a lesson about emotions and turned to emojis! “BRILLIANT!”- I said to myself! I knew that emojis would be an immediate hit with my students and would instantly hook them on the activity.
I made the play doh on my prep….. well… the first batch. I looked for a “no cook play doh” recipe and found one! Easy enough… Except it turned out resembling cake batter rather than play doh… Panic starting to set in I ran to one of the ECE’s in my classroom. She confirmed that “No…. it’s definitely not suppose to look like that…”.. So we compared recipes. Everything was the same… except- HOT WATER.
- Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl.
- Add food colouring TO the **boiling water** then into the dry ingredients (colour optional)
- Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough.
- Add the glycerine (optional)
I guess the hot water activates some of the components in the ingredients. Once I added the hot water to my NEW batch, it instantly worked. I used yellow food colouring and left out glycerine.
I gave each student their own ball of play doh and each table group had an emoji emotion chart, eyes and gems. The students were tasked with recreating different emojis from the chart and identifying what they were.
It turned out to be a big hit! We went way past our usual allotted time because they were so engaged and focused! The clean up was easy and putting all the gems back into their specific dishes also acted as a great sorting activity 😛
Moving forward, I am going to be focusing on specific feelings that I often see in our classroom. The activities that will accompany these lessons will encourage us as a class to think about how best to handle each of these emotions. What would be a good choice in handling this feeling, and what would be a not so good choice?
Have you tried this kind of activity? How did it go? What story did you read?