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First, find pictures on the computer of your students’ favorite cartoon characters making different faces and print out the pictures. You’ll be surprised at how many options you get if you type something in such as “Batman Sad!” After printing out the pictures, I suggest laminating them for durability.
Next, give your students a mirror to hold in front of themselves and try to match the facial expressions of their favorite characters! Make sure that after they copy the face that they also name what emotion matches the face they are making. Each student should get to take a turn with the mirror.
To make sure that your students are getting a wide variety of emotions to try to emulate, have them select a card that is face-down, so it is truly random. This will stop them from always choosing a picture of someone happy. We want our students learning what facial expressions look like for many emotions, rather than just one or two.
Special Note -> I find that mirrors with handles work best for small hands. If you are concerned about students dropping the mirror, or if you work with students who are physically challenged, you may choose to do this activity in a mirror that is already hanging on the wall, such as in the bathroom or on the back of a closet door.
2. Real Life Photos!
3. Role play – Reader’s Theater!
language and facial expressions, rather than literacy skills. This is perfect also for our students who are trying to learn more about how facial expressions and body language reflects feelings.
4. Freeze dance!
For some contrast, show your students they could freeze with their hands on their hips and a scowl on their face to show anger or annoyance. There are so many different ways to shape our bodies and faces to match an emotion!
5. Movie: Inside Out!
What activities do you use when teaching emotions? Comment below and share!
*Looking for more fun ideas on how to teach emotions? Be sure to check out this Identifying Emotions Game