Today's resource is another one to encourage social and emotional learning.
How often, when asked, does your child say they feel happy, sad, or mad? 100% of the time? I hear that...literally and figuratively!
Something that our students with disabilities often struggle with is nuance. They tend to prefer black or white, right or wrong, and good or bad. There are few things more nuanced than emotions, and this is why discrete teaching and frequently practice is crucial for helping our kids understanding how to recognize and react to certain feelings-- both when they experience these feelings as well as when others experience them.
One of my favorite ways to teach and practice appropriate emotional response is by using this set of emotion cards. Made by Joel Shaul of Autism Teaching Strategies, these emotion cards are pure gold because of the scope of feelings they cover! The deck includes 40+ cards that feature different emotions, four suggested activities for using the cards, and over 20 prompts that include directives such as, "Tell about a time you felt like this during a holiday."
In addition to the activities suggested on the cards, I'd also suggest an additional activity that has been a hit with my students: using magazines to do a "feelings pair up."
First, I have a student look through magazines and cut out pictures of faces-- these can be photos, drawings or illustrations, and even pets!
Then, I ask the student to pick an emotion from the stack of emotion cards that they think matches the facial expression in the picture.
Next, we discuss why the student picked that emotion to pair with the picture. What clues in the picture tell us that a person is feeling this way?
Last, we discuss what might happen in a person's life that causes them to feel this emotion, or what the student has personally experienced with this emotion. We may even discuss how the student could respond or encourage this person if they had the chance.
It's an interactive and fun activity that hits on a few key points: identifying emotions in others, interpreting emotional cues, and practicing empathy (i.e. "He probably feels sad because..."). It's also great for fine motor skill development if your students need that too!
Do you have a favorite method of teaching students to recognize and respond to emotions?We'd love to hear them! Share over on the IEP Guru Facebook group!