Lesson plan

Elaborating on My Feelings

Identifying and describing their feelings is an important part of the way children develop social skills. This lesson teaches your students how to identify feelings, and then elaborate on them by speaking and writing in complete sentences.
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Students will be able to explain and elaborate upon their feelings.

(5 minutes)
Elaborating on Feelings
  • Ask students to use adjectives to describe how they feel today.
  • Record the words on a sheet of chart paper or on the board to create a list of feelings.
  • Challenge students to think about which words are physical feelings (like Sore, Tired, Sleepy, or Sick) and which words are emotional feelings (such as Excited, Amused, Disappointed, Worried, or Content). Encourage students to pick out the emotional feelings, and circle those.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that the emotions they just identified are normal feelings that people experience all the time. When we have feelings, it’s important to identify them and share them by communicating calmly, clearly, and respectfully. When we do that, we have strong Social skills, which is the way we interact with others in a healthy and positive way. When we Elaborate, we explain or describe in detail.
  • Offer students an anecdote where you recount an experience and had a feeling that you needed to talk about. For example, tell students about a time when you were feeling a certain way about something that happened, but someone close to you was unaware of how you felt. Plans were canceled that you were really excited about, and this made you feel disappointed or let down.
  • Explain to students that even though you felt something inside, your face didn’t show it, you didn’t say anything, and your loved one had no idea what you were feeling.
  • Tell students how important it is to communicate with others by following these two steps:
    1. Identify the feeling. Ask yourself, What am I feeling right now?
    2. Elaborate on it. Ask yourself, Why do I feel this way? What caused this feeling?
  • Continue to share with students that you handled the situation by having a conversation with your loved one and elaborating on your feelings.
  • Model an example sentence by writing it on the board: I felt DisappointedWhen Our plans were canceledBecause I was really looking forward to seeing the show and spending time with you.
(15 minutes)
  • Give each student four sticky notes on which to take notes during the read-aloud. Instruct them to write four feelings that they hear described in the book, and to not worry about correct spelling.
  • Read a book about feelings, such as The Way I FeelBy Janan Cain.
  • Stop to make text-to-self connections with the story, such as “I’ve also experienced that feeling when…” Allow students to share connections to the book as well, if time allows.
  • Divide students into small groups and instruct them to review the sticky notes they filled out during the read-aloud. Have the groups select four feelings that the main character experienced throughout the story, then explain that they will write elaborative sentences about these emotions.
  • Write sentence frames on the board for students to follow as they write their elaborative sentences. (The main character felt _____ when _____ because _____.)
  • Instruct students to elaborate on these feelings by writing a sentence, such as “The main character felt embarrassed when she realized that everyone knew she made a mistake.”
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Elaborating on Feelings worksheet to each student.
  • Instruct students to elaborate on their feelings by completing the worksheet. Point out that good elaboration includes writing a complete sentence that describes an instance in which they have felt each of those feelings.
  • Remind students to use the same sentence frame used throughout the lesson as a way to support them in writing a complete sentence for each feeling.


  • Offer sentence frames for reluctant writers to support them as they elaborate. For example, “I felt _____ when _____ because _____.” And “_____ made me feel _____ because_____.”
  • Identify words that describe feelings (such as disappointed, jealous, or timid) that students may not know, and provide visuals and context for when these feelings are often experienced.


  • Challenge advanced students to choose three feelings and write a short story about a character who experiences all three. Remind students to include a setting, problem, solution, and events in order.
  • Put students in groups to act out a story in which each character represents an emotion.
  • Allow students participating in the enrichment activity to film their presentation and create a video on the iMovie, Gravie, or Magisto Video Editor & Maker apps.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students to turn to their elbow partner and recount an experience when they felt a strong emotion. They can use some of the feelings the character had in the story, or choose a new emotion from the Elaborating on Feelings worksheet.
  • Encourage students to give details or facts from their experience to elborate beyond the sentence they already wrote on the worksheet.
  • Give each student an index card and instruct them to draw the “big picture” of today’s lesson, encouraging them to be creative when sharing what they gleaned from the social skills lesson about elaborating on feelings.
(5 minutes)
  • Instruct students to review the sentences they wrote during independent practise. Tell them to draw a star next to their favorite sentence.
  • Call on non-volunteers to read their chosen sentence to the class. Offer praise for the sentences they shared, restating the part where elaboration occurred in the sentence.
  • Remind students that good social skills are important for maintaining positive relationships with people we interact with. When we share our feelings and elaborate, we are allowing others to support us, teach us, and to simply listen.

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