This activity helps participants identify and articulate their own feelings, while also recognizing and respecting other’s feelings in response to the same situation.


Naming feelings is a foundational skill of social and emotional learning. We know from research that naming feelings is the first step toward managing or regulating them. Or, as the RULER Project at Yale University likes to say, “If you can name them, you can tame them.”

Encourage your students to realize that others may have different feelings in the same situation and that no feelings are “right” or “wrong.” Each person has a right to feel his or her feelings exactly the way he or she feels them.


Participants will:

  1. be able to identify and name their own feelings and the feelings of others;
  2. understand and appreciate that feelings vary across people even in the same situation;
  3. explore feelings raised by the Don’t Laugh at Me song/video.


  • Comprehension and Collaboration:
    • CCSS.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.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 – Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.


  • Art supplies: markers, crayons, construction paper, glue stick, magazines, scissors
  • The “Don’t Laugh at Me” video or song
  • Signal bell or other way to note beginning and end times
  • Timepiece with a second hand
  • (Optional) This lesson is best done with desks in a horse-shoe design, if possible, so participants can see one another, as well as watch the video.

Gather Together/Warm-Up/Bell Ringer: DLAM Feelings (10 minutes)

Introduce the lesson: “Today we are continuing to explore feelings and learning how what we say and do can influence the way another person might feel.”

Ask students to take a piece of paper and fold it in half. Have them draw a picture (one on each half) of two feelings they have while listening to the Don’t Laugh at Me song. Have volunteers share their picture.

Main Activity: How Would You Feel If. . .? (20 minutes)

Pair students and introduce the activity:
“We are going to do an activity with our partners that has to do with naming our feelings. Say ‘hi’ to your partner and then stand back-to-back.”

Assign one partner as “A” and the other as “B.”

“I am going to ask you a series of questions, one at a time, which will begin with the phrase, ‘How would you feel if…?’ Think about the question for a moment. Then I’ll ask you to turn around and name the feeling with your partner. You can talk a little bit about that feeling if time permits.”

Explain that you will be starting with partner A answering and partner B listening. Demonstrate how you will signal it’s time to stop talking and go back to back again.

“Then you will turn again to face one another so that partner B will answer the same question and partner A will listen.”

Feel free to use the questions in any order and quantity. Follow the same partnering procedure for each question:

  • “How would you feel if you got the winning hit or score or goal in a school sport or at recess? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.” Signal at 30 seconds and ask the partners to go back to back again. Repeat question and ask them to face one another again. Partner B now answers. Signal at 30 seconds that they are done.
  • “How would you feel if, every time your parent or guardian came up to school, the students made fun of them because of the way they looked or talked? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”
  • “How would you feel if no one wanted to sit with you at lunch/play with you? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.” Signal at 30 seconds and ask the partners to go back to back again.
  • “How would you feel if someone helped you solve a problem? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”
  • “How would you feel if someone you admire called you a name? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”
  • “How would you feel if someone told you they were sorry after they tripped you? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”
  • “How would you feel if someone asked your advice about a problem? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”
  • “How would you feel if someone you really like asked you over to his or her house to hang out? Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”

End the activity by saying, “Ok, please thank your partner and go back to your seats.”

Now process the first question:

  • “The question was: How would you feel if you got the winning hit or score or goal in a school sport/recess? How many of you would have positive feelings? [Show of hands.] Look around.”
  • “How many of you would have negative feelings? [Show of hands.] Look around. What does that tell us about feelings?”

Now explore the negative feelings.

  • What are some of them that came up? What are the positive feelings?

Chart all the feelings under the title, “Feelings.”

Continue debriefing in this manner the “How would you feel if. . .?” questions you covered and charting the feelings as time allows.

Integrated Arts: Make a Feelings Rainbow (15 minutes) (handout #1)

Have your students select one feeling word to illustrate in colors and images they draw or cut from magazines to paste on construction paper. Ask for volunteers to share their art and describe why they chose the images and colors they did. (Alternatively, ask the children to have a small group sharing and conversation in their table groups or post the artwork around the classroom and do a gallery walk to get participants out of their chairs.) Display their work in the shape of a rainbow somewhere in your classroom.

Closing: Make a Rainstorm (5 minutes )

Have the group sit or stand in a circle around you. Explain that the goal of this activity is to work together cooperatively to simulate the sound of a rainstorm. Begin by rubbing your hands together in front of one person in the circle; that person then imitates your motion. Continue around the circle, until everyone is now rubbing his or hands together at the same time. The second time around the circle, snap your fingers in front of each student to indicate he or she should switch from rubbing hands his or her hands to snapping his or her fingers. Everyone else will remain rubbing hands until you pass them snapping your fingers, indicating that he or she is to begin to snap. The third time around, make a loud pattering sound by slapping your thighs, indicating as you go around the circle for students to join you. Now go around the circle one more time and stamp your feet. This is the height of the rainstorm. Direct the subsiding of the storm, going around and changing the pattering to slapping your thighs to snapping to hand rubbing to complete silence. Pause for a moment of silence.

Process with a quick go-round:

  • “What one word describes how you feel right now.”

K – 1: Bring students together in a group. Tell students that today they are going to learn and practice some new words to describe their feelings. To begin, ask students to do a quick brainstorm to name as many feelings as they can in 1-2 minutes.

Pair students. Have students sit cross-legged facing each other. Present the questions and have each student comment on how they would feel.

  • How would you feel if two or three of your classmates said hello to you each morning?
  • How would you feel if someone helped you clean up after an art project?
  • How would you feel if you asked some children if you could play at recess and they said no?
  • How would you feel if someone said they liked a drawing you made?
  • How would you feel if you were really looking forward to visiting a friend and they had to cancel your plans?
  • How would you feel if someone bumped into you and you fell over?
  • How would you feel if that person came over to see if you were okay?

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

Grade 6-12: Follow the instructions for grades 2-5, substituting the following questions:

  • How would you feel if a teacher used your paper as an example of how to write an excellent paper?
  • How would you feel if someone you really wanted to go with invited you to the school dance?
  • How would you feel if someone spread a rumor about you throughout the school?
  • How would you feel if an adult you look up to told you they were proud of you?
  • How would you feel if someone posted a picture on social media of a party most of your friends were at, but that you weren’t invited to?
  • How would you feel if your best friend invited you to go the movies with them?
  • How would you feel if you were suddenly asked to perform in a play or sing a song or play an instrument in front a lot of people?

Adults: Use the procedures and questions as outlined in the original activity, but modify the directions for the activity by asking them to answer the questions based on how they would have felt at the age of ten:

Look back and remember when you were 10 years old. What was it like when you were that age? Where did you go to school? Who were your friends? What did it feel like walking down the hallways of the your school? Consider including these questions:

  • How would you feel if every day when you came home, no one was there, but there was a note that said, “I love you and your favorite desert”?
  • How would you feel if you had only one friend and they were unpopular too? (Repeat). Now, turn around and tell your partner how you would feel.”

K-5 Literacy: During read-aloud, ask students to share times when they felt similarly to characters in the story. After brainstorming feeling words onto a chart as a whole class, assign each student one “feelings” word to write and illustrate for a class book or ask students to write in their journals using the prompt, “Today I feel because…”. See bibliography for suggested read-aloud books.

K-5 Math: Prepare a feelings bar graph or tally chart titled How We’re Feeling Today. List five or six feelings along one side of the graph or chart. Have each student color one bar make a tally mark in the appropriate category to represent how he/she is feeling. Discuss the chart in whole group. Analyze the data for trends and patterns over time.

K-12 Literacy and Social Studies: Create a word wall of feelings vocabulary identified by your students. Reference the word wall in conversations related to characters in literature and people in history, and for their writing assignments.

Grades 2-5 Integrated Arts: Play “charades” using feeling words only. Ask the participants what kinds of feelings were easiest/hardest to guess/act out?   Have them think of a time when someone did not understand or know how they felt. What happened? How did they work it out?

Grades 6-12 Literacy: Have students write letters from one character in a novel to another character explaining how that character feels based on plot events that are happening.

Grades 6-12 Literacy and Social Studies/History: Ask students to chart feelings for historical figures involved in a conflict or major historical moment. How are the slaves feeling who have been emancipated? How are the former slave owners feeling? How are the allies and supporters like the Underground Railway workers feeling?