Managing Emotions

Students discuss different types of emotions and coping strategies to deal with strong feelings.
Ages 11-14 / 10
min Activity
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  • ‍Create a list of emotions
  • ‍Share about experiences that have evoked a particular emotion, and explore how emotions are related to physical sensations in their body
  • ‍Discuss strategies for managing their emotions when they become too intense 

Supporting Research

According to researchers, it is crucial that students are able to identify and regulate their emotions, as this ability is positively associated with academic success and productivity, mental well-being, and healthy relationship-building. This activity fosters students’ mindfulness and self-care skills as they reflect on ways they can identify, express, and manage their emotions.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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  1. Introduce emotions to students. You might say: “There are so many different emotions that we experience throughout the day! We might like feeling some emotions, like happiness and excitement, more than others, like sadness or frustration. However, it’s important to remember that all emotions serve a purpose. Emotions provide information, like what brings us joy or discomfort. They help us make choices that support our well-being, like motivating us to solve problems. And, as we share our emotions with each other, this helps us connect on a deeper level. So, even though we may prefer certain emotions over others, we should acknowledge and learn from all of them. And if they become overwhelming or uncomfortable, it’s important that we have sources of peace and comfort.” 
  2. Ask students to call out different emotions, such as relaxed, nervous, and surprised, and create a list of emotions on a physical or digital board that is visible to everyone. If helpful, you can use ideas from this Emotion Chart.
  3. Engage students in a Turn-and-Talk exercise. Students should: 
    • Pick an emotion from the list, and think about a time when they experienced this emotion recently.
    • Turn to a neighbor, and talk about what happened and how they felt. Students should also describe whether these feelings were positive, negative, or neutral, and any physical sensations that they noticed in their body.

    Afterwards, you might say: “It’s okay to feel all of these emotions - it’s part of being human! It’s important that we’re able to identify and express our emotions, understand how they can affect us, and manage them if we need to.”
  4. Invite students to share different strategies that they use when they are feeling strong emotions. For example, they might listen to music, take deep breaths, go for a run, seek support from friends, or sit quietly and reflect on their experiences.

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.