Learning Outcome: Students will describe the ways people communicate and physically react when they have strong feelings, especially anger. Students will recall and describe a time they got angry.
Materials needed: Agenda written on chalkboard or chart paper
Gathering: Go-round. Ask students to complete the sentence, "I feel good about myself when ..."
Check Agenda: Go over the day's plan and ask if it seems okay.
A Time When I Got Angry: Guided Reflection
Divide students in pairs to take turns talking about a time they were angry. What did it feel like? Give them about a minute each to talk.
The word "feeling" is used to refer to times when our bodies are reacting in certain ways to things that are happening. We also have particular kinds of thoughts at these times. For example, when people are afraid, sometimes they think very fast about what they need to do, but sometimes they freeze and don't move at all. Sometimes they run. Sometimes they shake and sometimes they sweat. Their minds may be totally blank and not have any thoughts at all; or they may have thoughts like, "I better get out of here."
When people have the feeling of anger, they have particular bodily sensations and thoughts.
Ask students to close their eyes and think about a time they were angry. What was happening? What were they doing? Who were the people they were angry at? Ask them to imagine that these people are here now. Ask them to picture those people clearly. Imagine that they are back in that situation and very angry.
Ask students to focus their attention on various parts of their own bodies: Start with the head, face, shoulders, arms, back. What do their bodies feel? What thoughts are going through their minds?
Recall students to the present moment. Ask them to remember the bodily sensations and thoughts they had when angry, but to open their eyes and focus on some part of the classroom.
With the class, develop two lists - Body Responses and Thoughts.
Body responses may include heart pounding, sweating, an impulse to make violent motions (like a child's tantrum). Explain that all these are normal body responses.
Thoughts might be things like ''I'm going to punch him out," "People always do this to me," or "I'm not going to take this."
Point out that sometimes feelings are a signal that we need to do something, but they aren't always. When we have a strong feeling, we always have a choice about what we do about it. When we're angry, we may think we want to punch someone in the face, for example, but we can stop and decide if it really makes sense to do that. If we can cool off and think about it, maybe we will want to handle the situation some other way.
Ask a few volunteers, What thoughts about the experience of anger will you carry away from this lesson?
One of the things we can do to relax our bodies when they are tense with anger is to take deep breaths. Have students breathe in deeply, all the way to their abdomens so that their abdomens puff out. Then have them fill up their lungs from the bottom to the top. Then have them exhale, reversing the process, breathing out from the top of the lungs down to the abdomen, sucking in the abdomen. Do this five times.
Additional Activity: Anger Survey
Have the class brainstorm questions for an anger survey.
These questions may include:
- When were you angry?
- What caused the anger?
- How was the anger expressed (e.g., physical violence, verbal violence, property damage, peacefully resolved, etc.)
- What was the final outcome?
As a homework assignment, have students use the prepared questions to interview a friend, classmate, or family member about a recent situation that made them angry.
Have students report their findings to class. Discuss the results of the interview. Evaluate how the person dealt with his/her anger. Invite suggestions for improving the outcome of each story.
We welcome your thoughts and suggestions about these activities!