All done with this lesson? You can mark it as complete in your dashboard.

2. Set

In this activity…

Students review the first two emotional intelligence skills – recognizing and understanding emotions – and are then asked to reflect on their current ability to label emotions.


Take a couple of minutes to review how RULER is an acronym for the five critical skills of an emotion scientist, and that, in the previous lesson, students learned the first two skills:

  1. Recognizing emotions in ourselves and others
  2. Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions

Check-in with students about their Lab Books and give them the opportunity to share any insights, ideas, or questions that have come from working on this project. Then, tell students that today’s lesson addresses the third emotional intelligence skill – the ‘L’ in RULER – which is all about labelling emotions accurately.

As a kind of diagnostic test, give every student two minutes to write down as many feelings as they can think of. Encourage students to work quietly and independently so that this is an accurate measure of their own abilities. To ease student’s anxiety, emphasize that the list is not being marked, nor does it have to be shared with anyone. After the two minutes are up, ask students to count how many feelings they were able to identify. Then, lead a brief discussion to help students reflect on this activity.

Consider the following prompts:

  • For how many of the feelings you identified can you clearly describe the main cause or trigger?
  • For how many of the feelings you identified can you clearly describe the physical and mental sensations related to that emotional experience?
  • Are you surprised by how many feelings you identified? Did you think you knew more or less?
  • Do you think that the number of feelings you can label affects the number of feelings you are able to experience in any way?
  • What might be a danger or consequence associated with grouping many different emotions under a larger term like “good” or “fine”?

The Labelling Presentation is available to you in the downloads section of this page.