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20-30 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Emoji images


To help students recognize and discuss their feelings

  • Review with the students how emojis represent emotions.
  • Ensure emoji examples shared with the class are inclusive of students’ identities and racial diversity.
  • Ask the students to imagine they are emoji developers. Their company is looking for a new emotion emoji.
  • Students create an illustration of the emoji that includes a label describing the emotion.
  • Students share their emoji and what emotion it is depicting.
  • Display the emojis in the classroom.
  • Students then make use of the emojis as part of daily reflections and to let others know about their feelings.
  • Each student is given a popsicle stick with their name on it. Emojis can be put in a “pocket chart”. Students take turns putting their stick in front of the face that corresponds to how they feel.
  • Play “Guess the emotion”: have students guess the emotion based only on the image.
  • Emojis can be used to check in with students about their feeling as an “exit ticket” (post lesson, class or day).

The extent to which students understand emotions in themselves and others is highly related to the quality of their peer interactions, and their propensity to engage in prosocial behaviours (Caputi, Lecce, Pagnin, & Banerjee, 2012). Using group activities to recognize and manage emotions engages students in beneficial social interaction, normalizes experiences of emotions, and provides students with a structured opportunity to share, and work with other students to improve their self-regulation abilities (Domitrovich, Cortes, & Greenberg, 2007; Slavin, 1995; Success for all Foundation, 2010).

Caputi, M., Lecce, S., Pagnin, A., & Banerjee, R. (2012). Longitudinal effects of theory of mind on later peer relations: The role of prosocial behavior. Developmental Psychology, 48(1), 257.

Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving Young Children’s Social and Emotional Competence: A Randomized Trial of the Preschool “PATHS” Curriculum. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(2), 67-91. doi:10.1007/s10935-007-0081-0

Slavin, R. (1995). Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon

Success for all Foundation. (2010). PowerTeaching Cooperative Learning Handbook. Retrieved from www.successforall.org