Start by sharing last week’s Mood Meter, which does not have any labelled feelings. Students will be familiar with this chart from class and from the daily check-ins that they completed in their Emotion Scientist Lab Books. Let students know that this is a great starting place, but that in order to regulate their emotions, students need to put words to their feelings. In other words, they need to name it, in order to tame it. Explain that the complete Mood Meter labels each square of the chart with the corresponding feeling. What this means is that instead of simply plotting a point based on pleasantness and energy, students will be able to identify a specific feeling and distinguish between feelings.
Give students a couple of minutes to review the labelled Mood Meter. Then, let students know that from now on, they will be using this Mood Meter to become more confident in accurately labelling their own and other’s emotions. For the next week, student’s lab book check-ins will involve not just recognizing and understanding how they are feeling, but also accurately labelling their feelings. There’s just one small problem: Many students will likely struggle to understand what some of these feelings even mean.
To help students become more familiar with these feeling words and what they mean, a variety of activities have been included at the end of the second part of their Emotion Scientist Lab Books. These activities include word searches, matching, and other games that are optional and which students can choose to complete on their own time. These activities have also been included as individual handouts for you to download and use as classroom resources.
Give students the second part of their Lab Books at the end of this lesson, telling them that they will continue checking in with themselves twice a day, but that, this week, their check-ins will involve precisely labelling their feelings.
For this activity, students will contribute to the creation of a Mood Meter Mural - a large-scale reproduction of the Mood Meter. Please note that the final product of this activity requires a very large wall space. We recommend talking to your principal to see if you can use an entire wall in the gymnasium, library, or hallway.
Making the end product of this activity “public” also helps start a conversation with the entire school about the importance of feeling ALL feelings and presents the Grade 6 students with a leadership opportunity.
Each quadrant of the Mood Meter consists of 25 distinct feelings that can be identified based on their degree of pleasantness and energy. Depending on your class size, assign 3-4 feelings to each student, trying to make sure that the student has one feeling from each quadrant.
For each feeling, students should select the correctly coloured piece of construction paper and write the following:
- The feeling in large, bold letter
- A definition of the feeling (retrieved from a dictionary)
- At least three synonyms of the feeling (retrieved from a thesaurus)
Show students the example page to give them a better idea of what is expected of them. Also, encourage students to write as clearly as possible, letting them know that these will be used to create a Mood Meter Mural - a large version of the Mood Meter for the school.
The Sample Feeling Card is available in the downloads sections of this page.
Once every student has completed a page for each of their emotions, take the entire class to the location where the Mood Meter will be hung. Each student should bring the pages they created. You will also need a large amount of sticky tack or tape for hanging the pages on the wall. In order to create the Mood Meter Mural, you will want to have a copy of the Mood Meter with you on your phone or printed on paper so that you can place the feelings in the right locations.
We suggest reconstructing the Mood Meter over a couple of days, working on one quadrant at a time. This way, students get the most out of the activity because they remain more engaged in the presentation of each feeling and their knowledge is built over a series of days.
We also recommend starting with one of the bottom quadrants (blue or green) so that you do not accidentally run out of room because you started the top of the Mood Meter too close to the floor. For each feeling, ask the student who completed the page to share the definition and synonyms before hanging their page on the wall. For some of the feelings in the upper area of the red and yellow quadrants, you might need to help students hang the pages so that they do not get hurt climbing on chairs or desks.
To speed up the process, give each student a small amount of sticky tack or tape that they can prepare their pages with so that, when it’s their turn, they simply need to place the page on the wall.
At the end of the week, once the Mood Meter is complete and if students/parents are okay with it, take a picture of your class in front of their masterpiece and give students the opportunity to share what they learned. Keep in mind that students need to continue checking-in with themselves twice a day using their Emotion Scientist Lab Books.
For the next week (until the next lesson on expressing and regulating emotions) students will be challenged to become more precise/nuanced with labelling emotions and asked to reflect on how this precision affects their emotional experiences. Similar to the previous week, students will be encouraged to reflect on their daily check-ins at the end of the week by answering a series of questions and journal prompts.
Emotion Scientist Lab Book Part 2 is available in the downloads section of this page.
How am I supposed to use these labels if I don’t know what any of them mean?
Just like you can’t understand an emotion if you don’t recognize that it’s there, you can’t label an emotion if you don’t understand it. I recognize that many of these feelings might be unfamiliar to you. That does not reflect anything about you or your abilities. Try not to get down on yourself about it. Think of these words as being like a language that you are trying to learn. Let’s use French as an example. If no one teaches you French, then you won’t be able to understand or speak the language. Not only this, but it will be harder and harder for you to learn the language as you get older. Similarly, if no one speaks or teaches the language of feelings to you, then you won’t be able to understand or speak it yourself. The challenges you are facing right now, merely reflect how we have largely disregarded emotions in the past and how we have thought of emotional intelligence as being less important than subjects like math and science. The good news is that you are still young and that you can learn the words and skills needed to develop your emotional vocabulary. As we reconstruct the Mood Meter over the next couple of days, be sure to listen to the definitions and synonyms that other students share for their feeling words. Then, take some time to review these definitions and ask questions to clarify anything you don’t understand. Also, remember to use the two core dimensions of emotions – pleasantness and energy – as guideposts. Even if you cannot clearly define the feeling word, you should be able to get a sense of the core emotional state by recognizing which quadrant the feeling is in and considering its degree of intensity on both the horizontal and vertical axis.