Students across the world are pushed to excel starting at a young age. We have high expectations for students to succeed to meet the demands of our ever-changing world. While our children are learning to read, write, multiply, and divide, they’re also growing into humans with complex emotions.
So what can you do to help? Our favorite way to express emotions at The Sensory Path is a little exercise that only takes a few minutes and requires no supplies. We sit in a circle and go person by person and say this one sentence: “My name is X and I feel X.” You’re not allowed to say anything else and no one can comment on your statement.
- My name is Sarah and I feel disappointed.
- My name is John and I feel joyful.
- My name is Molly and I feel proud.
- My name is William and I feel confused.
It may take a few days for your students to open up with honest answers. As the teacher you can model sharing more vulnerable emotions to create a safe environment for your students. “My name is Mrs. Smith and I feel gloomy.”
This is also a great exercise to use vocabulary words that your students are learning. You can encourage older students to find better synonyms for emotions such as sad, happy, mad, etc.
Teaching and modeling healthy ways to express emotions can lead to behavior improvements in the classroom. Knowing that within the classroom the student is seen and respected no matter how they’re feeling is the first step to improving learning outcomes.