In first grade, teachers expect kids to know their basic feelings, use their words, and also recognize feeling words on sight. It can take a lot of practice before your child can figure out if he's scared, sad, tired, or angry. In this activity, you'll work together to create a "feeling meter" to hang on the door so your child can identify what he's feeling and give you a heads up! He'll get practice writing, reading, and improving his ability to recognize feelings so he can express them clearly. Of course, everyone understands these skills will take years to perfect but with activities like this poster, you can get off to an excellent start!
What You Need:
- One piece of white posterboard, 22"x13"
- Sticky back Velcro tape (available at office supply stores)
- Piece of red or black felt
- Digital camera or disposable camera
- Colored markers
What You Do:
- Take one piece of posterboard and place is horizontally on the table. Use a ruler to mark one horizontal line 2" from the top, and a second horizontal line 4" from the bottom. There will be a 7" space between the two lines.
- Use your ruler to mark four lines vertically from the 2" line to the second horizontal line, spacing them pretty evenly apart. You should end up with five columns that measure about 4 1/2" wide each.
- Help your child cut five 1 1/2" strips from the "hook" (or rough) side of the sticky Velcro. Peel off the back and stick the adhesive at the bottom of each column, in the 4 1/2" space.
- Using the felt, help your child cut out an arrow (triangular or house-shaped) that's 2" wide.
- Hand your child a marker to write a title, such as "I Feel..." above the 2" line in clear block letters.
- Next, have him label each of the five columns: happy, sad, scared, mad, and tired.
- Discuss each feeling. Ask him what each emotion feels like, and then have him model what it looks like when a person feels scared, happy, sad, etc. Snap a picture with the camera of your child acting out all five emotions. (Note: it's best to take the photos "portrait" style, or vertically, since the standard photo is 4"x6" and the space in which you'll be pasting the photos is just over 4" wide.)
- Print or develop the photos. Invite your child to paste the photos in the columns, underneath the appropriate title of emotion.
- Finally, secure the poster onto his bedroom door. Invite your child to stick the felt arrow onto the Velcro underneath the emotion he's feeling. Next time he's ready to slam his door, invite him to identify what he's feeling on the poster. It opens up the opportunity to talk about his feelings in a safe and supportive atmosphere, and helps his reading and writing skills to boot!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.