Lesson 2: Feelings Temperature

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This activity helps participants learn to more precisely identify how they feel and how those feelings are influenced by the moods of others and the events of one’s day.


According to research, being able to name your feelings, what causes them, and how they impact your life builds emotional intelligence over time, which can enhance self-management and performance.

By incorporating regular “Feelings Temperature” taking in the classroom, you’ll not only help young people develop these important competencies, but also help establish readiness to learn. We suggest that you begin and end each day with a “Feelings Temperature” check.


Participants will:

  1. be able to identify how they are feeling;
  2. learn and use words for their feelings;
  3. use the Feelings Temperature Scale to check in on themselves and with each other; and,
  4. identify the causes of their feelings.


  • Anchor Standards for Literacy: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    • ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 – Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
    • ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 – Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 – Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • Anchor Standards for Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
    • ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6 -Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


  • “This Little Light of Mine” lyrics posted or copied for students
  • Hang 10 sheets of paper around your classroom labeled 1-10 (one number per sheet).
  • Put a line that shows a scale from 1 to 10 (vertically like a thermometer) on chart paper or the board with the following:
  • Put a line that shows a scale from 1 to 10 (vertically like a thermometer) on chart paper or the board with the following:

Gather Together/Warm Up/Bell Ringer (10 Minutes)

Introduce the lesson:

“Today we’re going to continue to explore our feelings and learn a way to evaluate how we’re feeling in the moment that we can use anytime we need.”
Do a go-round where everyone answers the question:

“If your feelings right now were a weather report, what would that weather report be?”

You go first to model it. “Sunny, with some clouds in the sky” or “Cloudy with a chance of rain.”
Process: “What did you notice doing that activity?” “Why might it be helpful to know how we feel before we begin class?”

Main Activity: A Feelings Temperature (15 Minutes)

Explain the lesson:

“Now we’re going to learn how to do a ‘Feelings Temperature’ check by using a scale from 1 to 10.” Explain that scales are just a way of measuring something.

Start by measuring on a scale of 1 to 10 how much you like certain things. Point out the numbers posted around the room and the scale you have written on chart paper or the board (1 is not at all and 10 is LOVE). As you say each thing, students will move to the number that best represents how much they like that thing.

“How much do you like. . .?”

  • Strawberry ice cream (Notice where others are.)
  • Playing a board game (Notice where others are.)
  • Playing soccer (Notice where others are.)
  • Listening to music (Notice where others are.)
  • Drawing or doing some sort of artwork (Notice where others are.)

Process: “What did you notice while you were doing this activity?” (Go-around) Summarize comments.

Now we’re going to do a similar activity measuring feelings.  This time we will use the scale for which 1 is “I’m feeling very bad” and 10 is “I’m feeling very good.”



  • If you had to put your weather report at the beginning of this lesson on the scale, where would it be on the scale?”
  • “Now, after doing the activity about how much you liked or disliked certain things, how do you feel?”
  • “Has anyone’s mood changed since we took our weather report at the beginning? How? Any ideas why?”

Bring everyone back to his or her seat and do a go-round:

“Come up with a feeling word, other than bad or good, to go along with the number on the scale that you said described how you felt. “ (Feel free to pass if you do not want to share.)

Closing: Integrated Arts Music and Our Moods (10 Minutes)

Hand out the lyrics to This Little Light of Mine (students will also work with this song in later lessons). Play the song and have students sing along. Take a Feelings Temperature when you are finished.


“How are you feeling now? Did anyone’s mood change again? Why?”

End by explaining that you’ll be taking a “Feelings Temperature” in your classroom as an ongoing practice so that you can become better and better at talking about feelings.  You’ll also be learning more about managing feelings and words for different kinds of feelings.

K-1: Copy the lyrics for “This Little Light of Mine” onto large chart paper.  Use a pointer to help students track the words of the song as you sing.  Then pass out the lyrics on sheets of paper.  Have students decorate the song and add it to their journals/folders/binders of materials they use frequently.  Students can later use the lyrics sheet to “spy” and highlight high-frequency words.

Depending on the layout of your classroom, it may work better to use a number line labeled 1-10 on the floor (masking tape works well for this) instead of hanging numbers 1-10 around the classroom.  Be sure to leave large enough spaces on the number line for several students to be able to cluster in one area.

Follow the instructions for grades 2-5 for the rest of the activity.

Grades 6-12 and Adult: Use the activity as outlined, but substitute a body mapping project for the Integrated Arts Infusion Closing. Assign participants working in pairs to a particular emotion for which they will illustrate physical signs and symptoms or the body language.

K-1 Literacy: The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a fun book that teaches feelings vocabulary and helps kids see ways to use words to describe their feelings.  Ask students to “rate” how the characters are feeling as you read the story aloud.

K-1 Literacy: Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis is a great rhyming story with engaging pictures that shows children the often transient nature of our feelings.  Point out to students that even our most powerful emotions don’t usually have a hold of us for long.  Have students make their own books “Today I Feel…” books, modeled on Curtis’ book. (See Handout 1.)

K-5 Music: Sing Laurie Berkner’s song “The Story of My Feelings.”  Have students add additional verses.  Have students sing the song for another class. This you tube video plays the whole song, but it features a 30-second ad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z95-FmhPj-Y

K-5 Literacy and Arts: Provide, or have students collect, one large container for each student (2-liter soda, juice bottle, half-gallon milk carton).  Using a variety of materials (paint, colored paper, small items for gluing, yarn) have students decorate the bottle to look like a person, without the facial features.  Allow bottle projects to dry.  At another session, have students use various colors of paper to create several pairs of eyes, noses, and mouths that show variety of emotions.  Provide students with a few pieces of Velcro to put on their bottle project where the facial features will go.  Have students put Velcro on the backs of all the eyes, noses, and mouths they have created.  Students can choose which kind of emotion they want their “buddy” to express by changing the facial feature.  Keep the extra features in a bag.  Display the buddies on a shelf and allow students to change the expressions daily. (NOTE: This same activity can be done with two-dimensional materials as well.)

2-5 Literacy:  Have students write a persuasive letter to an adult of their choice (parent, principal, legislator) for why taking a feelings temperature each day would help them in their lives.  Send the letter!

K-5 Literacy, Art, and Technology:  Assign students a number to represent a number on the feelings scale.  Have them use a computer program (Microsoft Power Point, KidPix, etc.) to create a class slideshow.  Each student can create an illustration through the program to demonstrate how someone might feel at their scale number. (4=calm, 6=irritated, for example). Each student can narrate a script or type a caption to go with their illustration.  Enlist the help of the technology teacher if possible to put it all together.  Share the slideshow with families through email attachment or during school conferences.

Grades 6-12 Science: Have students try to map the physical sensations of various emotions in their bodies.  They can then research the physiology and brain chemistry of emotions towards better understanding the somatic experience they are having.

Grades 1-5 Math: Have students graph the daily Feelings Temperature read to represent the entire class’s experience. Show change over time by mapping a weeks worth of data. What conclusions can they draw from the mapping?

Grades 6-12: Literature and History: Take a temperature read on a fictional or historical figure. Plot what influences led to the feelings.

Grades 6-12 Arts: Draw or paint self-portraits that portray one’s emotional landscape (the range of emotions you experience regularly). Title your piece of art.