Tag Archives: Feelings

Kindergarten Feelings Lesson


I thought that learning about identifying and expressing feelings would be a helpful lesson for beginning K students. The majority of our students are EL and learning this vocabulary is very important to their success and well-being at school.

First, I created feeling faces cards with the help of my friend Sally. Sally found these GREAT photos of kids’ faces online that describe 5 basic feelings – happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, and fear. I glued the faces onto pieces of construction paper and aligned the color of the paper with the feeling word (blue for sad, red for anger, etc). Here’s how they turned out…


I start the lesson by using these 5 cards with the students. First, we discuss how we have all different feelings and can even have all different feelings in the same day – or even at the same time! I show students each of the cards and ask them to identify how the child is feeling. Then I ask them HOW they knew how the child was feeling – for example, the happy child is smiling, the sad child is crying. EL K students tend to struggle with this question but they caught on more at the end! Next, I ask them WHY the child might be feeling this way – what might have happened to cause him/her to feel like this? The children were VERY creative with their answers – the funniest two that I got were…Me: “Why does she look so mad?” K Boy: “Because a tiger ate her momma all up!” and Me: “Why does he look so sad?” K Boy: “Because he fell on a pile of walnuts!” The kids never cease to amaze me, haha! We also talked a bit about coping strategies – so if we’re feeling sad or angry or scared, what can we do to feel better? Some of the best answers that I got were play outside, talk to a friend, talk to a counselor/teacher/parent, or take some deep breaths.

After we have talked through the 5 feeling words, I introduce the Magic Coloring Book of Feelings by Robert P. Bowman and Kim (Tip) Frank. I tell students that I will be doing a magic trick for them today to help them learn more about feelings and they get SUPER excited. If you don’t already have this book, buy it now! It is a true counseling staple! Here is what the book looks like:


I hate to ruin the magic, but just so you know…the pages of the book change based on where you place your thumb. So if you place your thumb at the top of the book and skim through the pages, the pages are black and white. If you place your thumb in the middle of the book, the pages are colored. If you place your thumb at the bottom of the book, the pages are blank.

I start the “magic trick” by explaining that we all have lots of feelings. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are angry, and sometimes we are sad – just like the kids in the pictures that we just looked at. I then show the students the black and white pictures in the book that look like this:


I ask them to tell me how the people in the pictures are feeling (i.e. the family is feeling happy because they are celebrating a birthday and the boy is feeling scared because a mean dog is chasing him). Then, I ask them what the pictures in this book are missing – colors! I then explain how colors are a lot like feelings – I like to think of red as an “angry” color, yellow as a “happy” color, and blue as a “sad” color. This idea was a little abstract for the students, but having the feeling faces card visuals helped a lot! Next, I ask the students to rub their hands all over the colorful carpet and their clothes and hold the colors in their hands. Then, on the count of 3, the students throw their colors at the story. I jerk the book back when they throw their colors as if they have really thrown something. And TADA! I show the students the colorful pages of the book…

ImageWhen they see that the book has become colored, the students gasp, cheer, clap, and get SO excited! It’s as if they have seen the coolest magic trick of their lives, haha! We then talk more about these pictures and how it is now easier to tell how the people in the pictures are feeling since they are so colorful. Then, I ask the students to stick their arms out and take their colors/feelings back from the book. On the count of 3, the students take them away and I jerk the book forwards. Then I show them the completely blank pages of the book…

Again, the students clap and cheer because they cannot believe that the pictures have vanished! I then ask the students to throw the lines back onto the pages and I show them the lined pages, and later the colors.

Needless to say, the students absolutely LOVE this book and ask me about it for weeks (and months!) later! The older students (3rd and 4th grade) were jealous of the K students and were offended that I didn’t use the book with them, haha! Our assistant principal was so amazed with the book that she could not stop playing with it. The book combined with the feeling faces cards makes for a very memorable (and educational!) lesson that I would highly recommend to any elementary school counselor!


Who is Your School Counselor? Back to School Lesson!


My supervisor at my elementary school internship used this activity at the beginning of the school year to introduce herself and her role to the students, and she even used it in interviews to show the principal what she could bring to their school! I wanted to use this activity this year, but couldn’t for the life of me remember all of the things that she put inside of the first aid kit. I googled and pinterested and could not find the activity anywhere…until the next day, when I decided to search again, and Savvy School Counselor had posted it 2 hours earlier! Many thanks to her and her ever-creative blog for brushing up my memory on this great activity!

My first aid kit looks very similar to Savvy School Counselor’s and the pieces that I included inside of it are almost identical to her’s. I used a pencil box that I got for .99 cents at Target and taped the label onto it that says “School Counselor’s First Aid Kit.”

Inside of the kit I included the following items… (most of which were already at my school, I just had to find them and put them together!)

  • Tissue: Counselors help you dry your tears when you are feeling sad or overwhelmed. Counselors  remind you that it is okay to cry – letting out our feelings is healthy and helps us heal!
  • Toothpick: Counselors help you “pick out” your problems and make sense of them.
  • Milky Way: Seeing the counselor is always a “treat” – it never means that you are in trouble! Also, just like a treat, counselors can help you feel better when you are sad or upset.
  • Star: Explorers from long ago used the “North Star” as a guide to help them stay on track and  find their way when they were lost. Like the North Star, the counselor can help you if you are feeling lost, confused, or unsure about how to solve a problem.
  • Penny: Pennies have value and are often considered lucky – “Find a penny, pick it up…all day long you’ll have good luck!” The penny reminds us that each and every one of us is valuable, special, and lucky to be who we are!
  • Band-Aid/Bandage: Counselors can help heal your wounds (the invisible ones that are deep inside of us) and make you feel better.
  • Eraser: Everyone makes mistakes and the counselor can help us deal with our feelings when we make mistakes. She can also help us learn how to not make the same mistake again in the future!
  • Life Saver: Counselors are there to talk to you and help “save” you from scary, sad, or stressful situations. Counselors will help you “stay afloat” throughout the school year by giving you support, guidance, and love!
  • Cotton Ball: Counselors are full of warm fuzzies and compliments! Seek us out when you are feeling blue, and we’ll help cheer you up!

Also, I can’t find mine at the moment, but including headphones would be a great idea to remind students that counselors are great listeners.

I included these index cards “cheat sheets” in the inside of the box to help me remember the purpose of each item (just in case I forget!)

I plan on using this kit with K – 2nd graders as a way to introduce the role of the counselor in a fun, easy to understand, and engaging way. I will begin the lesson by asking students what a first aid kit is usually used for. Then, I will open the kit and choose one item at a time. I will pass the item around the room and let students feel it. I will ask students, “What is this item and what is it normally used for?” I will then ask students, “How does this item relate to what a school counselor does?” Once students have answered, I will then give them my explanation for each item.  At the end of the activity, I will ask students to summarize what they have learned with the following questions:

  • “What does a school counselor do?”
  • “How can a school counselor help you?”
  • “What is an example of a time when you might want to talk to the school counselor?”

Next, I will explain to students the self-referral process for counseling. If they would like to talk with me, they should tell their teacher. I will then work with their teacher to set up a time to meet with them as soon as I can. I will also tell students that I will be coming to their classroom once a month to talk about all sorts of important topics, such as how to be a good listener, how to stop bullying, and how to be a good student. We will be playing games, reading stories, and doing art projects together.

My K classes are 30 minutes long, so I will end the lesson here. My 1st- 4th grade lessons are 1 hour, so I will continue the lesson by reading the story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We all have bad days sometimes, and it is often helpful to talk to someone who can help us get our feelings out and feel better. I thought that Alexander’s description of his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is a great example of a time in which students may want to seek the counselor’s help, guidance, and support. Counselors can help turn Alexander’s day into a great, excellent, good, and amazing one! 😉

After reading the story, I will generate the following discussion with students:

  • Why was Alexander having such a bad day? What are some of the things that happened to him today?
  • What could Alexander have done to make his day better?
  • How could the school counselor help Alexander?
  • How could Alexander set up a time to meet with his school counselor?

Finally, I’ll close the lesson by saying that I am looking forward to working with each and every student and am so excited to be starting a new school year!

And…onto the next lesson!