Can You Say…?

Join a live virtual exchange with a partner class, and play a fun game to act out different emotions!
Ages 8-14 / 45
min Activity
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  • Play a game with a partner class in which they act out and guess different emotions
  • Ask and answer questions to learn more about their peers 
  • Reflect on similarities and differences in how people express their emotions

Supporting Research

Developing emotional competence is a crucial skill for students, as it enhances their ability to recognize their own feelings and identify others’ feelings based on facial expressions and other cues. A higher level of emotional competence empowers students to effectively regulate their emotions and form positive relationships with their peers and educators. This activity aims to foster students’ mindfulness as they convey different emotions through acting, emotion recognition as they interpret others’ emotions, and diplomacy as they understand that people express their emotions in different ways. 

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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Educator Note

Empatico offers an exciting opportunity for educators to connect their classrooms with other classes around the world. Once you have connected with another educator in the Empatico community, you can schedule live virtual exchanges to bring your students together. These cross-cultural experiences enable students to share their stories, explore different perspectives, and make new friends in another community. 

Empatico exchanges are most successful when educators plan and get to know each other beforehand. To do this, please schedule a video call to connect with your partner educator, and use this opportunity to share your goals for this experience, exchange helpful information about your students, and discuss how you will lead the exchange together. Our "Get to Know Your Partner Educator" resource provides suggested conversation prompts for your meeting.

For more tips on leading a positive, cross-cultural experience for your students, please watch our “Teacher Tips” video.

Prepare: plan for the virtual exchange.

  1. Introduce your students to Empatico by watching this video, and ask them the following questions:
    • How do you feel about meeting our partner class? What do you think our new friends will be like?
    • Do you know anything about the city or country where our partner class is located? Where can we find more information about their location? (e.g., by using Google Earth to explore their neighborhood, or searching for images of their city online)
    • What do you think it might be like to live there? What do you think our neighborhoods might share in common, and how do you think our neighborhoods might be different?

    Throughout your conversation, nurture positive feelings such as excitement and curiosity. Explain that it’s normal to notice differences between ourselves and others, and that you will practice doing so respectfully. If any misconceptions or stereotypes arise, gently counteract them and explain how to reframe assumptions by asking questions or making "I wonder..." comments. (e.g., "I wonder what hobbies our new friends might have!") Ensure that students see this experience as an exciting opportunity to learn from their partner class!
  2. Coordinate with your partner educator to come up with a plan for the virtual exchange, which should focus on students learning how people express their emotions.

    For example, you might lead a game of “Can You Say…” which involves the following steps:
    • The first class sends up a student to select a random prompt.
    • The student should follow the prompt to say a silly sentence, using their tone, facial expressions, body language, and gestures to convey a particular emotion. Remind them to stand in front of the camera, and speak loudly and clearly so their partner class can hear them.
    • Their partner class tries to identify which emotion they were trying to express - either by raising their hand, or calling out their guess. Once guesses have been made, the student can reveal the answer! 
    • Then, it’s their partner class’s turn to send up a student! 

    To play this game, you can use these pre-made prompts and decide which class will use the prompts from the first page versus the second page. Alternatively, your students can come up with their own sentences and emotions that they will act out for their partner class, and write them down using the template on the third page. 

    Once the prompts have been finalized, cut out the cards and place them into a container for students to select randomly during the game. 
  3. Students should also prepare questions to learn more about their new friends. Visit this resource for ideas, and consider including questions about emotions such as:
    • What’s a joke that makes you laugh? 
    • When you feel sad, what helps you cheer up? 
    • Can you share about a time when you felt proud of yourself? What happened?
    • What song makes you feel excited and full of energy? 
    • Is there a particular food that makes you feel comforted and happy when you eat it? Do you have a favorite memory of it?
  4. Establish and share communication norms for the virtual exchange, such as:
    • Keep yourself on “mute” (unless you are talking) to limit background noise, and raise your hand when you want to speak.
    • When it’s your turn to speak, come close to the device, say your comment or question loudly and clearly, and remain at the amera to hear your partner classmate’s response. Start by saying your name (e.g., “Hi, my name is ___. My question is...).
    • Listen attentively to the speaker and use hand signals (e.g., thumbs-up, “me too” signal, etc.) to indicate agreement or similarities.
    • Make sure that others have a chance to speak during the exchange.

    For more tips on setting up your classroom for a virtual exchange, please visit this resource.

Interact: meet your partner class over a live virtual exchange.

Facilitate the virtual exchange using Empatico’s built-in Zoom integration, or the video tool that you previously selected, and follow the suggested exchange structure below:

  1. Start the video call by greeting your partner educator, and express gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to connect with each other. Then, facilitate an introduction between students in both classes. You might have them introduce themselves, and share about their class grade, school, location, and/or a fun fact about their community.

    Consider starting with the “Five Breaths” exercise to calm students’ nerves and get them ready for a fun game! 
  2. Play the “Can You Say…” game, ensuring that students from both classes take turns acting out and guessing the different emotions!
  3. Then, encourage students to ask the questions that they prepared. Make sure that students in both classes participate equally, and celebrate behaviors that show respect and other strengths, like empathy, thoughtfulness, and humility. For example, express gratitude when students listen attentively to their peers’ stories.
  4. End the exchange by asking students to thank their partner class for sharing a part of their day with them, and for the opportunity to get to know each other a little better. Then, students can say “goodbye” and express excitement for meeting again during your next virtual exchange together!

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.