Oftentimes, it is possible to tell how my students feel by their actions, facial expressions, and words. Some children show emotions through their behaviors. Behind every behavior is an emotion which often times is an unmet need.
When you use a Feeling Check in Chart students can begin to name their emotions and understand how to cope with what they feel in healthy ways.
Sometimes when a students is reserved and very quiet, I have difficulty knowing what they may be feeling. I can comfort those who show signs of distress and give them suggestions to help them calm. It’s easier to recognize and notice the big emotions in students.
The great thing is that I no longer have to guess how each student is feeling since I created the Feeling Check In. With this one chart I can help children learn to recognize their emotions and manage them from arrival and all throughout the day.
By introducing feelings daily into the routine we can help students recognize their own feelings and learn ways to cope with them. They can also learn to recognize common facial expressions of others and develop empathy.
As we know if student’s social emotional needs are not met and they come to us emotionally dysregulated, hungry, or tired it is going to be difficult for them to focus on anything until those needs are met.
When they feel better, they can learn and behave better right?
1. Add the Emotion Chart to the Morning Routine
After they are welcomed each day and have put their things away this can be a great time to add in the Feeling Check in Chart to the routine.
This can be done by hanging a Feeling Check in somewhere in your room.
I often take pictures of children with their names below them to encourage name recognition. They then take their picture and place it under the way they feel in the morning.
You can reflect on the way they feel acknowledging them before morning meeting begins. You can ask if they need a hug or would like to visit the calm down space. Many times an emotion can change to a more positive feeling by the time it’s time for morning meeting.
2. Incorporate the Feeling Check-In Chart into Morning Meeting
When you hold a morning social emotional meeting it is an opportunity to reflect on what they feel and connect with other students as each child shares their feeling.
Each child can have an opportunity to talk about their feeling if they would like. It can be fun to count and graph the feelings too.
If the student is feeling angry and does not want to share their feelings, we can suggest ways to help the student feel better from strategies you have taught during the year.
Students can come up with new ways to help themselves calm. One student may say hugging a stuffed animal helps, while another one may share that getting a drink of water helps them.
Here are more ideas to help them cope with big emotions.
- Go for a walk
- Look at a sensory bottle
- Visit the calm down space
- Take deep breaths
- Listen to a story CD
- Listen to soft nature sounds or meditation
3. Encourage Children to Use the Feeling Check in Chart throughout the Day as their Feelings may Change
Encouraging children to notice when their feelings change to maybe hungry, tired or nervous can help them get their needs met.
Good luck developing your Feeling Check in Station! I would love to hear comments on how this is working for you!