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Show Some Emotion

This lesson plan was written by Cynthia Carbone Ward, teacher at Vista de Las Cruces School in Gaviota (CA), and a former  Teachers Network web mentor.

Show Some Emotion

This two-step language arts activity for sixth graders will "stretch" their vocabulary and writing skills. It can also be used as an exercise to help students get to know each other better by acknowledging and sharing feelings.

PREPARATION
Write the names of various emotions on strips of tagboard. Use words such as: anxiety, despair, loneliness, joy, tranquility, gratitude, humility, anger, contentment, boredom, fear.

STEP ONE
Place the emotion words in a large basket or envelope and ask each student to pull out one or two. If the student does not know the meaning of the word(s) she has selected, she must look it up in the dictionary. Once the meaning is known, the student must come up with a situation in which she actually experienced that particular emotion. Students then take turns telling which emotions they drew, and sharing situations in which they experienced such emotions. Others may contribute examples in their own lives when they felt the same emotion. This preliminary activity is designed to break down barriers and help students to recognize the commonality of their experiences and feelings.

STEP TWO
Now students must think about these emotions in sensory terms. What would such an emotion look like, taste like, smell like, sound like, feel like? These images are arranged to create sensory-emotional poetry.

For example:

  • Stress looks like a merry-go-round going faster and faster;
  • It tastes like burned popcorn;
  • It sounds like an alarm clock going off;
  • It smells like a skunk;
  • It feels like a needle poking your skin.

OR

  • Boredom smells like church,
  • looks like the TV before its on;
  • tastes like dry oatmeal;
  • sounds like the refrigerator hum;
  • feels like you're sitting in a class
  • watching the clock running backwards.

Crafting these little poems gets students to think about abstract concepts in more tangible ways and is an excellent pathway to the use of metaphor in writing.

 

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