I-Statements

GRADES 3-5

Learning Goal

Students will learn the why and how to use I-Statements to communicate about their feelings.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Identify the difference between an I-Statement and a You-Statement
  • Use an I-Statement
  • Transform a You-Statement into an I-Statement
  • Identify the six basic emotions and related feelings

Learning Summary

I-Statements are a way of expressing feelings that encourages students to focus on what they are feeling instead on what others did. I-Statements can be used to discuss both positive and negative feelings, but they are particularly useful in conflict resolution: if we just talk about our own feelings instead of assigning blame, conversations can quickly move to resolution. It is okay and actually helpful to name the “awkwardness” of expressing emotions in such a structured format.

This lesson starts with a review of the I-Statement structure (many students at this age have heard of them): I Feel (emotion) when (event) because (thought about event). Then the class practices creating and saying I-statements. You end with a discussion and/or journal-time about why I-Statements are useful.

CASEL Competencies

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a "growth mindset."

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Classroom Teaching Example