Emotional Literacy


Learning Goal

Students will learn to identify and name their emotions.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Identify primary emotions
  • Build the skill of empathy by identifying emotions in others

Learning Summary

This lesson introduces the primary emotions and develops student self-awareness in response to these emotions. Emotion identification is the first step in building emotional intelligence and empowering students to successfully manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

The lesson begins with a mindfulness breathing activity. Then in the introduction, you teach students about their primary emotions and discuss when students may feel each of them. The Munchy and Jumpy story is about a day when Munchy felt anxiety about an upcoming trip but could not name what he was feeling leading
to a lot of concern and even a doctor visit. In the double-day, Munchy tells his mom more specifically what he’s feeling and why and thus gets reassurance and help. Finally, students reflect on the emotions within the story through a teacher-led discussion and then draw what they look like when experiencing each emotion.

computer icon    Online Teaching Tips for Emotional Literacy

Use the Munchy and Jumpy story as the anchor of the lesson on emotional literacy. Following the story, have students cut out six pieces of paper or get six notecards. On each note card, have students draw a face one of the main six emotions (Happy, Sad, Surprise, Anger, Fear, Disgust). They will use the cards in the activity in different ways.

Have students use their picture note cards for the Emotions in the Room activity. When you read a question, instead of moving around the room, students will hold up the picture they drew for that emotion. You have students all show their cards on the count of three to avoid students simply copying the first student to hold up a card.

Have students use their picture note cards for the Emotions in the Room activity. When you read a question, students put a tally mark or checkmark on the emotion card instead of moving around the room.

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."

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Classroom Teaching Example