Lesson plan

Mindfulness of Anger

Strong emotions like anger can sometimes take over, but mindfulness tools can help to manage them. In this lesson, students will learn mindfulness techniques for managing anger and write and implement a lesson to teach a younger student.
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Students will be able to identify how to manage emotions using mindfulness and teach someone else how to do the same.

(10 minutes)
  • Join students together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Ask, "Have you ever felt angry? What did you do?"
  • Take 2–3 student shares, build and connect student ideas, and explain that today we are going to focus on how mindfulness can help us work with our anger when we get upset.
  • Ask students the following questions and chart their answers: "When you are angry how do your eyes feel? How do your ears feel? Mouth? Hands? Feet? Belly?"
  • Share that we can use mindfulness to pay attention to warnings in our body before we experience a strong emotion like anger. When we start to feel different in our bodies (reference what students shared above when they detailed how their different body parts felt when they were angry) it can be a signal that we are angry and we can practice taking three slow breaths in and out through the nose to pause and calm the anger.
(15 minutes)
  • Show the video "Just Breathe."
  • After the video, ask, "What strategies were given to use when we may be feeling a strong emotion like anger?"
  • Show students the book Steps and Stones.
  • Explain that you will read the story to the class and then students will be asked to write a short lesson for younger students.
  • Explain that they can read through the book for younger students, similar to how you read the book to the class.
  • Show them the book's cover.
  • Ask, "What do you notice? What do you think will happen?"
  • Read through the book and pause periodically to ask comprehension questions to check for understanding.
  • Ask, "What happened in the story? How did the main character overcome anger?"
  • Ask the class to pause and to take a few deep breaths.
  • Explain that we are going to practice a strategy they may use when they are feeling anger.
  • Remind them that it is always okay to be feeling any emotion, including anger, but that violence and reactivity is neither okay nor helpful. Explain that the goal is to be with the emotion first, with our breath and kind attention, and only then respond to a situation or person.
  • Ask students to sit up nice and tall and to close their eyes or look down at the floor.
  • Ask them to remember a person or argument that they may have gotten into over the past week (on an anger scale of 1 to 10, feeling around a 5).
  • Ask them to bring up as much detail as they can about the person and situation. (Pause.)
  • Ask them to notice how they feel in their body—tightness, shortness of breath, tight hands or face?
  • Ask them to notice how anger may feel in their body—is it in their chest, belly?
  • Guide them to take a few deep breaths into their belly.
  • Ask them to begin to count their breaths as they continue to breathe deep into their belly. (Pause.)
  • Explain that if they lose track of their numbers they may start again. (Pause for 2–3 minutes.)
  • Ask them to release the numbers and to slowly open their eyes.
  • Ask, "What did you notice when you thought of the situation? How did you feel? How do you feel now?"
(5 minutes)
  • Review the Mentors: Mindfulness of Anger worksheet with the class.
  • Read and review the model lesson to the class.
  • Ask students if they have any questions.
(20 minutes)
  • Dismiss students back to their seats to work independently on their lesson. Circle around the room and connect with as many students as possible to check for understanding, answer questions, and provide support as needed.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to write their own story about overcoming anger through mindfulness and deep breathing.

Support: Work one-on-one or in small groups with some students during independent work time that need extra support.

(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room and check student comprehension of how to practice mindfulness of anger through what they decide to teach a younger student.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back together in a circle.
  • Ask students if anyone has questions on their assignment.
  • Give students 1–2 minutes to review their lesson with a partner.
  • Ask students to facilitate P-Q-S (offer praise, ask questions, and provide suggestions).
  • Explain that on another day they will be able to teach a younger student using their lesson.
  • Ask, "When can we use the tools we have learned today to manage anger?"

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