A simple way to offer an emotional check in with your class
With us being asked to make well being a priority now we have returned to school, you may well be scrambling around trying to work out how exactly you are going to add this to your already packed timetables.
Many schools will have lost their well being provision to effectively manage bubbles. By the way, I do love bubbles in my line of work but more the kind that comes in a tube and float into space.
So here’s a simple idea to get you started.
The emotional check in register
We are becoming more aware that we need to ‘check in’ with our children, especially those who are likely to implode or explode at any given moment. We need to pick up on those warnings signs before things happen. We know that the more we talk about emotions the better children become at developing emotional literacy and identifying their own feelings resulting in more acceptable behaviour and calmer classrooms.
Now you’ve seen the pretty Pinterest images with the colourful post-it notes and fancy charts on the classroom wall but the reality is that’s going to cut into your consistently decreasing teaching time and will need creating and maintaining.
So how about instead the emotional check in register?
Its pretty simple. Those of you who like to jazz up your register with modern language responses and the like will love this I think.
Get yourself an emoji chart although any characters where emotions are labeled will do.
For EYFS keep it simple
Maybe start with the 6 base emotions happy, sad, anger, fear, surprise and disgust or for SEN even just happy, sad or OK maybe with a thumbs up/down gesture for non-verbal or shy children. And don’t get me started on OK not being an actual emotion. For all intents and purposes, here it serves well enough as a stepping stone. It doesn’t matter if kids know other emotional labels, let them use them too. The further up the school we go we can add in more emotions or synonyms. There are some pretty elaborate emotion wheels out there.
Teacher’s Pet has an amazing collection of emotion resources to support children in EYFS > Check out there resources HERE
My personal favourite is the Kimochis chart. Kids seem to love these adorable little characters and there’s a good selection of emotions there that will allow kids to stretch their learning and development.
Pop it on the interactive whiteboard or screen for the children to view and select from and ask them to respond to their names with how they are currently feeling.
But what about those that say they are angry or sad or lonely. Isn’t this opening up a can of worms that you haven’t really got the time to deal with right now?
The short answer is no. Let the child know you will come and find them a little later for a chat. Obviously follow this up but this is where the magic really happens. I say something like this “OK. I hear that you are sad right now. I’m going to catch up with you a little later to talk about that if you’d like but in the meantime maybe someone here could be a good friend and help you to feel a bit better”. It doesn’t have to be all on you to fix someone’s emotional state. You’re a team and you’re all in it together.
This allows the children to explore how to be a good friend, how to support each other and develop empathy and proves that you are a community. Usually, there are a multitude of hands that go up and say “I will!”
It will make a massive difference to the sense of belonging in your class and really fosters self-esteem in not just the sad, angry, lonely child but all of them.
Oh, and don’t forget to check in with yourself too!