To the teacher:
In these uncertain, stressful times of physical distancing, coming together and connecting socially and emotionally is especially important. For young people to see and connect with their peers can be ray of light for some and a real lifeline for others. They might connect over things that spark joy and gratitude (like seeing each other on video or hearing each other’s voice) or over things that bring on more challenging feelings (like frustration, fear, uncertainty, anger, hurt and grief).
So create a remote space that’s welcoming and supportive for students to come together. Because as Mr. Rogers said: “It is only natural that we and our children find many things that are hard to talk about. But anything human is mentionable and anything mentionable is manageable. The mentioning can be difficult, and the managing too, but both can be done if we’re surrounded by love and trust.”
As the pandemic moves through our cities and across our country, family members, friends, and neighbors will get sick. Most will pull through, but others will die. This is going to be a reality for your students and school communities, if it isn’t already. This means that the kind of space you are creating today should, when possible, intentionally focus on the “love and trust” that Mr. Rogers mentions above.
A Lesson on Feelings for K-2 Elementary School Students
Welcome students to the virtual space by name. Use different feelings words as you do so. Welcome Angel, I feel happy to see you today. Hello Racquel, I feel excited to see you. Darius, I feel so fortunate that you joined us. Welcome Ahmed, I feel delight as I look at your beautiful face. Soraya, I feel so grateful that you made it today, welcome, etc.
Other words to consider using, as you welcome your students, are: joyous, overjoyed, exhilarated, over the moon, sunny, blissful, thrilled, electrified, jubilant, elated, pleased, tickled, elated, etc.
Ask students what they noticed as they joined you for class today. What did they notice about the way you welcomed them? Ask them how it made them feel to be welcomed in this way. Invite them to use a range of feelings words while showing what these feelings look like on their faces.
The Feelings Song
Show this video of The Feelings Song by Miss Molly Sing Along Songs. Encourage students to sing along as they catch on to the refrain:
Sometimes you feel happy
Sometimes you feel sad
Sometimes you feel excited
Sometimes you feel mad
You might laugh today
You might cry today
You might feel many different feelings
And they’re all okay
Ask students for this next part of the lesson to show what they look like when they feel the feelings that were shared in the video:
Show me what you look like when you feel:
If you still have their attention, ask students for other feelings words they’d like to show each other. Keep the activity going till students run out of feelings words or till attention wanes.
Ask students to give you thumbs up, down, or in between to indicate how they’re feeling in this moment. Note what you’re seeing. If possible, reach out individually to students who you know or notice are having a hard time, or touch base with their parents.
Extension Art Activity on Feelings
Explain that we’re all feeling lots of feelings all the time, and especially now that we’re away from school and our regular routine of seeing each other. We’re going to spend some time with our feelings, in the weeks to come, remembering that no matter what our feelings are, “they’re all okay.”
Ask students for the next time you get together to draw a feeling they’re having while we’re all away from school. In your next gathering ask students to share out their drawings and explain when/why they are experiencing that feeling.