Recognizing Feelings: Recycle Your Iced Tea Containers for a Cool Summer Activity


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.

Materials Needed:
  • 2 iced tea cylindrical containers
  • 2 clothespins (one red, one green)
  • Construction paper - red and green
  • Self-adhesive magnet strips
  • White paper
  • Laminator
  • Plastic baggie
  • Magnetic board or cookie sheet
  • MindWing’s STAMPede Rubber Stamps
  • MindWing’s FEELINGS Mini-Poster 
  • 2 selections of children’s literature
Common Core Standards for This Lesson:

 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.


Research Foundation:
“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.
Lesson and Activity:

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.

Feelings Mini-PosterBelow 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 STAMPede Stamp Setcommunicate their own Feelings related to Kick-Offs as they strive to solve problems and discuss interpersonal conflicts.

  1. Using the Feelings Mini-Poster as a guide, choose feeling words of your choice. I will be using Bear Feels Scared and The Big Wave, which have both been analyzed in previous blogs. Using a paper cutter, cut as many cards as needed. Since I was using this in a small group setting, mine measured 1 inch by 3 inches. Using the STAMPede Stamp Set, stamp the SGM® heart icon and add the feeling words as shown. Laminate and add a magnet to each card (you may place the cards on a table without using the magnets if you prefer).

Magnet BoardStamped Feeling Words

  1. Cover two empty ice tea containers, one with green construction paper and one with red. Cut two hearts out and label the green one, “Feelings at the beginning” (of the story), and the red one, “Feelings at the end” (of the story). Use a clothespin to put the hearts on the cans (you can then reuse the cans for other activities and easily change directions).

Hearts on CanTwo Cans with Hearts

  1. Place the feeling words on the magnetic board. This activity is very versatile, since you may use as many words as your students can handle. Ask the students to work alone or with a partner to place how bear felt at the beginning of the story and how he felt at the end.

Magnet Board and Two Cans

  1. You may want to pair this activity with activity sheets (below) from the Braidy Manual while using our Braidy Doll. Review orally with the students. This is such a great way to begin to show the connection among the narrative components.

Bear Map Filled Out
2 Bear Map Filled Out

  1. Maryellen presented multiple blogs with a detailed analysis of The Big Wave. From her March 10, 2016 blog, I copied the filled-out Critical Thinking Triangles and used white-out on the Feelings portion of triangles. I used the clothespin to put this on the can. Following the same procedure as above, I asked the students to put related Feeling words into the can. Discuss the choices made (and not made!) using the SGM Teacher Marker.

Can with Critical Thinking Triangle Attached
Board with Can in Front

  1. You may then change the heart/directions on the outside of the can and put a Feeling word such as “Synonyms for Happy.” Place multiple words—the number depending on your students—on the magnetic board and ask the children to choose other words for happy. Then, you may want to take the words and put them in order of intensity.

Final Board and Green Can

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!


Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Author

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.



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