Manage Emotions Lesson for Students in Elementary School

Kids often have strong emotional reactions to failure, even failures that seem small to us, like messing up a drawing. The ability to identify and manage emotions and feelings, or Emotion Regulation, requires responding to strong emotional situations in a socially acceptable manner. Making a mistake, especially when we have been working hard on something, can cause strong emotions. So it’s important that we build resiliency in children by teaching them how to react and move forward positively from both small and big mistakes. Mistakes can often be a starting point for even better ideas!

Students will start this activity thinking they are just getting the opportunity to free draw. What they don’t know is they’ll soon be playing Musical Drawings! Students will build emotion regulation and resiliency skills when faced with an unexpected situation and learn that sometimes our most creative ideas can come out of unexpected challenges! They will need to call on previous lessons for coping skills to manage emotions that come with giving up control of your work to someone else.

Discussion questions include:

  • How does it feel when you’ve been working hard on something and an unexpected challenge comes along?
  • What are some things we can do when we get upset about something unexpected?
  • How did it feel to have someone else start drawing on the picture you had just been working on? Why?

In the extension activity, Zoo U’s Karma the Chameleon started several doodles, but gave up when she thought she made a mistake. Students must use their imagination to turn the “mistakes” into art by completing Karma’s drawings. It’s a great opportunity to discuss how mistakes can often lead to something greater than our original plan.

Prep

Students will start this activity thinking they are just getting the opportunity to free draw. What they don’t know is they’ll soon be playing Musical Drawings! Students will build emotion regulation and resiliency skills when faced with an unexpected situation and learn that sometimes our most creative ideas can come out of unexpected challenges!

Click here to download the Teacher Lesson Guide with full instructions for implementing this lesson.

Students will:

  • Practice resiliency when faced with failure or rejection
  • Apply strategies for managing emotions

Materials:

  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers
  • Blank copy paper