Many of my kiddos are working on social language skills. For lots of these students, expressing their feelings appropriately is a challenge. Some of these lovies have been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), some with EBD (Emotional-Behavior Disorder), and some just need a little extra help in the "feelings" department. Regardless of their diagnosis or lack-there-of, we work on using words to express how we are feeling instead of lashing out through tantrums or other inappropriate behaviors. To help these kiddos, I created a "feelings wall" in my classroom. We started with the 6 universal feelings: happy, sad, mad, scared, disgusted, and surprised, and branched out with synonyms for each of these feelings. In addition, we also added several other feelings categories. The wall has grown from 6 feelings to over 50! The kids love looking up at the wall and using a different word other than the basic "happy" or "sad." They are thrilled when they come up with a new word to add. They are learning new vocabulary words and how to express themselves at the same time. We talk about the different feelings, what they mean, what they look like, why you feel that way, and how you should act when you are experiencing that feeling.
How do you teach feeling words?