Fishing for Feelings

Fishing for Feelings

My favorite part of this lesson was it’s particular way of raging against my typical lesson format (story, lesson, written activity). Not that I’d say I’m stuck in a lesson format rut, but why change what’s not broken. I guess it’s the teacher in me that feels everything needs a written (assessment) component.

Fishing for Feelings

Topics Covered: Communication Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness
Character Skill: Fairness
* Adapted from Puzzle Pieces


Similar to the way I began my lesson, Let the Music Move You, I read The Way I Feel by Janan Cain and had the boys identify the feeling words on each page. I reiterated the idea that good, bad, fine, and great are not actual feeling words.

We reviewed some of our more complex feelings words. Next, I asked the boys to identify a variety of feelings inside them when they . . .

  1. Get ready to do something for the first time
  2. Come to school
  3. Kicking a goal in soccer
  4. Ride a roller coaster at the amusement park

We talked about the variety of feelings each person felt and how there is no one correct feeling to express in these different situations. Each person is different and will feel differently depending on the situation.

Next is where I jumped out of my written activity box and tried a “game” instead. To be honest, games make me a bit nervous because I’m never too sure that we will stay in control or that it will keep everyone engaged.

Please note I also use the word “game” lightly, as really anything called a “game” perks up young kids ears and makes them really, really want to participate. Like the time I made them watch Howard B Wigglebottom and told them that we were playing a game called, “Who is the best listener.” When really, I just needed them to sit still and quietly while they worked on their activity. But you see, they all did as I asked because their little competitive sides kicked in and wanted to win!

Anyways, not the point, back to the game . . .

photo 4[3]

Fishing for Feelings Game

I placed 13 fish (with feeling words written on the front and a points written on the back) into a bucket. If you work in a school with large class sizes, you’ll need a fish feeling for each student in your class. You don’t want repeat feelings.

Explain to the students that sometimes it feels like our feelings get jumbled inside of us (cue: throw fish feelings into the bucket).

photo 2[1]

Tell them that at any given time, any of these feeling could pop up depending on the situation.

Now divide the class into 2 teams.

photo 3[1]

Here are the rules:

  1. One person from each team will go fishing for a feeling
  2. Once they pick a feeling they will tell a time that they felt that way
  3. Then they are awarded points (on the back of the fish)
  4. Place their score in front of them
  5. Keep going (obviously) until all the students on each team have had a chance to pick a feeling word
  6. At the end of the game, take some time to add up the scores to see who the winning team is  . . .your math teachers will love this)

photo 1[2]

And voila, a change of pace . . . that kept us engaged and in control.

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