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Activity

AN EMOTIONAL ALPHABET

Identifying emotions is
the first step
to controlling them

A big part of conflict is emotion. The intense emotion often associated with conflict is what can make it feel so overwhelming and uncontrollable to children, as well as adults. Having the right words to describe the emotion you're feeling helps. This activity works especially well with a mixed group of children and adults (e.g. in a family, or a school class with a group of seniors), with adults leading in communicating emotions and children guessing the emotions.

How are you feeling? All too often, when we try to describe our own feelings or reflect the feelings of another person, we settle -- through habit or lack of varied vocabulary of feeling words -- for a general, all-purpose term. We describe ourselves as "happy," for example, when our emotion at that moment may more accurately be "thrilled." We tentatively reflect to another that we perceive they're feeling "sad" when the other person may in fact be feeling "rejected." When you fail to choose a word that captures your feelings or another person's feelings precisely, you also fail to communicate fully -- and you miss a chance to get a better understanding of someone else and build a closer relationship.

You might start a discussion about emotions by reading Feelings by Aliki or My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. It's important to emphasize that every human being, young and old, experiences emotions. It's part of what makes us human. All emotions are okay. There are no right or wrong feelings. It's how we choose to act on our emotions that's important.

The Guess the Emotion sheet is from a book called Science Is... by Susan V. Bosak. It's huge -- filled with over 450 fun, easy-to-do activities, projects, experiments, games, puzzles, and stories. Follow the instructions on the sheet to play Guess The Emotion. You can use the ABCs of Feelings sheet for ideas for different emotions.

Variation: Go through the alphabet, one letter at a time. People can take turns portraying an emotion, while everyone else guesses.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

Materials
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Guess the Emotion  ABCs of Feelings

Guess the Emotion
ABCs of Feelings
 (PDFs require
  Adobe Acrobat)

Paper
Pen/pencil
Dictionary (to look up
  unfamiliar words)

Connections
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Schools (language
  arts; science/health)
Youth groups
Families

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