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Shaping Students Templates for Managing Conflict across Their Lifespan

Purpose:

  • Develop and extend students vocabulary of emotions.
  • Recognise that it is useful to try to identify the emotions of others, even if it’s just a guess.
  • Begin to develop empathy.

Materials Needed:
  • White board and markers
  • Mr Ladybeetle Adventure Cards
  • Poster Paper and Markers for each group
  • Group Work Skills Tip Sheets for each group
  • Emotion Building Cards Pack (OPTIONAL)
  • Ribbon and Flips Construction Sheet 1(OPTIONAL)


Procedure:

Review and Reflect: Gather the students together. Point out the students who are Whole Body Listening in a positive, pleased tone.

“Today we’re going to learn about emotions. Every time this session has been presented,, it starts off with a list of emotions. The biggest list seen had 120 emotion words. Let’s see how many emotion words we can come up with”. And so, the challenge is set.


Generate a list of emotions, as suggested by the students. Begin to discuss similarities and differences between words and point out words that are behaviours rather than emotions (as they arise).


For example:

Student: “What about stomping”

Facilitator: “That’s an action rather than an emotion. What might the emotions be?”

Once the list has been exhausted you can say, “We usually know how we are feeling, but how can we figure out what someone else is feeling?” Discuss. This discussion should bring about a response about facial expressions and body language.

Ask a student to volunteer to stand in front of the group and demonstrate a sad emotion. Commence a whole group discussion about the particular elements of the student’s face or body language that contributed to a look of sadness. Then ask the student volunteer to display a tired expression and ask the group to describe what elements of the volunteers face have changed and how. Be descriptive and detailed to help students to tune into subtleties.


Although this activity seems obvious and simple, it can elicit an important conversation about subtleties between similar expressions and similar emotions, and the value of guessing what someone might be feeling by trying to read their expressions (face and body). However, sometimes, it can be almost impossible to guess how people are feeling by looking only at their face and body language because some people are uncomfortable showing their emotions, or might try to hide their true emotions. In those instances, it is important to notice the situation that someone is in, and try to make a good guess about how they might be feeling in that situation.


Ask students “why do you think it is important to notice or make guesses about people’s feelings?” Discuss. The next activity will help to expand this notion further.


Please Note: If the cohort struggled to build an expansive vocabulary of emotions; if they continually struggled to discriminate between actions and emotions; or if the group struggled to read and display facial expressions and corresponding body language, hold off on the activity below and revert to the ‘Emotion Building Cards’ activity described in the Resilience Building Group Games Chapter. If the group did manage the first task competently, play the ‘Emotion Building Cards’ activity at a later date.


Mr Ladybeetle Adventure Cards

“I have a set of postcards from a beetle named Mr Ladybeetle. The postcards show his adventures. He experienced all sorts of challenges and triumphs and felt all sorts of emotions along the way. Unfortunately for us, Mr Ladybeetle isn’t very expressive with his facial expressions or body language so we need to look at the situation to try and figure out how he may have been feeling at the time.”


Show the class the postcard of Mr Ladybeetle at the top of a vine. “The first thing we need to do when we are trying to make guesses about someone’s emotions is to notice what’s happened to them, or what is happening around them. So, what do you think has happened here, can someone describe the situation?” 


Hopefully one of the students will notice that it looks as though Mr Ladybeetle has climbed all the way to the top of the vine. With that, explain that it can be useful to put yourself in someone else's position, and try to imagine that happening to you, and see if you can imagine what emotion you might feel. “In this example, Mr Ladybeetle has climbed from the bottom of the vine, all the way to the top. It’s a pretty big vine and he is a pretty little beetle. So how would you be feeling if that were you?”


Write the children’s responses on the board.


Please Note: All answers are correct, because they are just guesses. There are no wrong answers, just inferences.


Break the class into small groups and provide each group with one or two postcards, a group work skills tip sheet, poster paper and colored markers.


Ask the students to examine and discuss their Ladybeetle postcard, and write down all of their emotion guesses in large, interesting font across the poster. Once completed, display the student’s posters around the room.


Approximately fifteen minutes before the end of the lesson, ask the groups to come together and share their guesses about Mr Ladybeetle’s adventures and emotions. 


Reinforce the fact that “we will never know what he actually felt (because we can’t ask him), it could have been any one of the emotions listed in your groups. Sometimes in real life, we can’t simply ask someone, ‘how are you feeling right now?’ so instead we need to look at what is happening to them, and around them, and try to make a good guess. You can use your emotion guess to think about ways that you can then help your friend, and that helps you to be caring.” 


Students might need this point illustrated with a relevant example.

For example, when I was in grade four I won a painting competition and the prize was that I had the opportunity to paint my picture on one of the school walls. The teacher asked me to choose one person to help. I chose a student named Casey, because Casey was a really good painter, and had won second place. Later, when I sat down next to my friend, I expected to be congratulated. Instead my friend was unusually quiet! A whole week later, my friend finally told me that they were feeling hurt that I didn’t choose them to help paint my picture on the school wall. If I had thought about how they may have felt, I might have talked to my friend about my decision sooner, and that might have saved our friendship that week.”


End Message:

As a final message to take away from the session, remember that it’s actually really hard to know exactly how someone else is feeling because they don’t always tell us, and they don’t always show us, but it’s useful to try to guess. Trying to guess how people are feeling can help you to be caring of others. Also, if you do actually want someone to realise exactly how you have been feeling…tell them! So, I could have thought about my friends feelings, and also my friend could have told me how they were feeling sooner. Both of these decisions would have helped us. I wonder if that might help you and your friends too! See you all next week.”


Further uses of the Mr Ladybeetle Adventure Cards:

There are lots of uses for these cards.

- You might distribute the cards, and ask the students to write a journal for Mr Ladybeetle.

- Ask the students to imagine that they are Mr Ladybeetle and write a postcard to a friend

about one of the adventures.

- Display two different cards and ask the students to write a story that links the cards.

- Ask the students to draw new adventures for Mr Ladybeetle and other students can try to

guess how Mr Ladybeetle may have felt in those new adventures.


A Note about the Emotion Building Card Pack:

The Emotion Building Cards included in The Friendship Saver are designed to help build children’s vocabulary of emotions, and can help to teach children how to read the expressions and emotions of others. Importantly the cards do not show any facial expressions and this is intentional. The exclusion of facial expressions helps to convey the abstract nature of emotions. Essentially, we all display emotions slightly differently and the Emotion Building Cards game described in the Resilience Building Group Games chapter can help to demonstrate that fact. Refer to the chapter for more information.


Optional:

Students can take out their Ribbon and Flips Construction Sheet 1 and draw a mini Mr Ladybeetle scene to correspond the printed text ‘Be a caring friend by making good guesses about how someone might be feeling. Make good guesses by noticing facial expressions, body language, or notice the situation’.