As you sip your iced tea on a hot summer day over the next couple of months, think about saving your iced tea containers for this very cool lesson and activity. It focuses on explicitly teaching how to recognize feelings and emotions in literature and in life.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
“Children need to have practice connecting emotional reactions to their own interpretations of events. Even students without language problems do not routinely include character reactions in either retold or self-generated stories.”Merritt & Liles, 1987 in Merritt, D & Culatta, B. (1998). Language intervention in the classroom. San Diego: Singular.
“Narrative language… can be described in two ways: It is emotionally laden and literate.”Goncu & Klein (2001). Children in play, story and school. NY: Guilford Press.
The explicit teaching of recognizing feelings in literature and in our interactions with others is imperative in our schools and in life. The above standards and quotes emphasize the importance of our need to help students identify feelings, recognize them in others, and make the connection to critical thinking and inference via the Critical Thinking Triangle. The SGM iconic structure is a concrete way to develop this necessity.
Below are some activities that are easy to create to use with students in whole group settings (enlarged as needed to make it visually appropriate to your large group setting), small groups, centers, or therapy sessions. Relating Feelings to the Critical Thinking Triangle® enhances the development of the connection of these components to the narrative. Of interest, many counselors are using Braidy to encourage children to communicate their own Feelings related to Kick-Offs as they strive to solve problems and discuss interpersonal conflicts.
The presence of the heart icon is critical to narrative development as children using Braidy attempt to tell their own—as well as others’—stories. One aspect that is often missing from children’s writings is the integral part that Feelings play in the development of stories. This was made evident to my colleagues and me as we analyzed our students’ fourth grade compositions on our state test, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). We realized that while many students had interesting ideas, they lacked connections to any Feelings of the Characters they wrote about. In addition, we discovered that many children had difficulty expressing how the Characters Feelings changed from the beginning to the end of stories.
On a closing note, many, many years ago, my colleagues in the second grade and I were surprised to find out that we had taken it for granted that children “knew” what various Feeling words meant, only to find out that many did not. This finding found us creating many lessons in grades K, 1, and 2 using Braidy and the SGM to explicitly teach the Feeling words and their meanings as well as connecting the words to story events! Lesson learned at that time and never forgotten: Don’t take anything for granted!