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15-30 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Journal, anchor chart of emotion vocabulary


To help students recognize their feelings and become aware of their resulting emotions

  • Discuss the function of a mood diary (e.g., to learn about yourself and to help notice patterns of thoughts and emotions you are experiencing). This involves noting your emotions and indicating why you feel that way.
  • Brainstorm ideas on how students might document their emotions, such as:
  • Write a story, comic strip or answer a specific question asked by the teacher.
  • Draw an image that symbolizes students’ mood in the moment. It can be a small symbol or an elaborate picture. For example, for ‘I feel angry’ the student could draw a dark, black cloud.
  • Look at magazines and cut out scenes, images, or phrases that express feelings in the moment. This can be done periodically throughout the week.
  • Ask students to select how they would like to keep a mood diary.

NOTE: There may be opportunities where students wish to share their reflections or where you may wish to consult with or seek out supports through your school referral process or through parent/guardian discussions.

  • You can also answer specific questions orally with a partner, or in writing, such as:
    • How am I feeling both physically (where is the emotion located in my body) and emotionally?
    • Has anything happened to make me feel this way?
    • When I feel this way, what do I need?
    • When have I felt this way in the past?
    • When is the first time I remember feeling this way?
  • Primary students can use a symbol or circle as a visual.

All students have characteristic patterns of thoughts that result in both positive and negative emotions and affect moods (Oatley & Johnson-Laird, 2014). Understanding these personal patterns is an important step to regulating emotions, as students who can change the way they think about situations, can efficiently manage their emotions, and stay on task (Lagattuta, 2014; Webb, Miles, & Sheeran, 2012).

Lagattuta, K. H. (2014). Linking Past, Present, and Future: Children’s Ability to Connect Mental States and Emotions Across Time. Child Development Perspectives, 8(2), 90-95. doi:10.1111/cdep.12065

Oatley, K., & Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2014). Cognitive approaches to emotions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2013.12.004

Webb, T. L., Miles, E., & Sheeran, P. (2012). Dealing with feeling: A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of strategies derived from the process model of emotion regulation. Psychological Bulletin, 138(4), 775-808. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0027600

Scripture teaches us about the power of story, through the life of Jesus, and the lives of those touched by Jesus. Through documentation of our own experiences, we are able to reflect and understand the connection between our thoughts, feelings and actions.

(3e) A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from various subject areas and experience.

Demonstrating literacy and mathematics behaviours: to develop literacy behaviours (evident in the various ways students use language, images, and materials to express and think critically about ideas and emotions, as they listen and speak, view and represent, and begin to read and write)