The Way I Feel by Janan Cain (Parenting Press, 2000) can be used as an extension to the topic of emotions. Each page is a poem about an individual emotion, so excerpts from the text can be used to keep the focus on simple emotions or it can be used to broaden the topic for older students. This book can also be used to support language development with rhyming, especially if the language experience activity chart has been modified to having students write a class poem with rhyming responses.
Additionally, Parenting Press offers an Expressing Emotions Teaching Plan, if a lesson on how to draw emotions is of interest.
For older students or those who are more familiar with computers, the Graphic Map may be a useful tool to employ in future activities. Students can use this online tool to plot the emotions of a character in a familiar text or to assess their own personal emotions during a classroom activity or event. The tool allows students to label each marker with either a happy or sad face or a ranking scale.
Art and picture books present abundant opportunities for students to interact with emotion. Many books can be used to emphasize emotions, especially those with vivid images. One example of a book that uses line and color to show emotion is Rise the Moon by Eileen Spinelli (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002). The vivid illustrations in this book are done by Raul Colon. Additionally, this book is written as a poem, and provides an opportunity to expose young children to some new vocabulary terms.
Artwork can often convey emotion through color choice, style of the images, and even the subject matter. If posters or images are accessible, allow students to match images to emotions, or describe the way they feel while looking at a piece of artwork. Several art museums have educational programs that provide activities for students to experience art and to learn more about the creation process. The National Gallery of Art for Kids is accessible online, if you do not have the ability to connect with staff at a local art museum. If your classroom has a dramatic play area, a simple prop box may allow students who learn through experiences the opportunity to solidify their understanding of the emotional vocabulary. One approach would be to provide images of happy or sad situations, and one or two props that allow students to pose as though they were in the image. By providing a prompt for the center, such as “How do I feel?” students can recognize body language and facial features that correspond to each emotion.