Lesson Two Overview - Take Control


Lower Primary 

Regulating and Managing Emotional Responses







Students will:

  • Recognise the body’s reaction to anger

  • Monitor emotions using the Emotional Thermometer

  • Identify personal strategies to manage anger (High Five Choices)

  • Practise deep breathing, visualisation, guided meditation and massage


KEY VOCABULARY: gratitude, grateful, thankful, helpful, high five choices, down low choices, unhelpful choices, deep breathing, visualization, tense, relax, emotional thermometer






 Background Information


Once students are able to recognise different emotions and feelings, the next step is to teach effective ways to monitor, regulate and manage their emotional responses. Lesson two aims to improve students’ emotional reactions and assist them in developing appropriate skills to self-manage their emotions and behaviours. In today’s lesson, students are taught the difference between feeling tense and relaxed.  Students are taught to recognise the physiological signs of anger.  They learn that their feelings range in intensity.  They are also introduced to high five choices which are effective and positive strategies to manage emotional responses.



Lesson Plan


1.         Introduce Lesson and Review Previous Lesson


Review session 1 by encouraging students to remember what was covered in the last session. Shape students’ responses to reflect the learning intent from the previous lesson.  Review group guidelines.


Last week we had fun learning about our feelings.  We talked about how it is OK to feel angry, sad, worried or happy.  We learned to recognise the clues our bodies give us when we experience different feelings.  We also learned the importance of helping other people feel better with they are upset.  Who was able to pass on their smile since we met last?  Today, we are going to learn more about the ‘I’ in GRIT.  We are going to learn what we can do to help ourselves feel better when we experience upset feelings.  But first let’s start our lesson with a gratitude attitude.


2.         A Gratitude Attitude (5 minutes)


Sit in a circle. Explain to the group that we will begin every session with a gratitude attitude. Ask each student to share something that either made them smile or something that they are thankful/grateful for when the ball is rolled to them. This simple activity is training students to be positive and to have a gratitude attitude.  You may like to invite students to pick a sticker from the ball.


A gratitude attitude focuses on the NOW!  Try to pay attention and be thankful for what you already have and not worry about what you don’t have.  People with a gratitude attitude are positive, resilient and happy. Each week you are going to share with the group something that you are grateful for or something positive that has happened to you during the week.



3.        Activity 1: Robots and Rag dolls (5 minutes)


The aim of this game is to focus on the different types of body clues that we may feel when we are angry compared to relaxed.


We are going to play a game. I am going to play some music.  When you hear the music, I want you to walk around the room like a robot by tensing your muscles.  When the music stops you must become a rag doll and relax all your muscles in your body.


After playing the game, ask students to sit down at the table or on the mat.


When we are angry our body tightens and tenses like a robot. Who enjoyed feeling like a robot?  Who preferred feeling like a rag doll? Why?  A tense body is a clue that we are feeling angry. 

Invite students to sit.



4.       Activity 2: Feelings Thermometer (10 minutes)


In our last session, we talked about the clues or warning signs our body gives us when we experience angry feelings.  What clues does your body give you when you are angry? Allow time to respond. It is important to pay attention to these feelings and to listen to the warning signs your body gives you.  


When you become angry, hormones are released in your brain.  These hormones cause the changes that you feel in your body.  These changes make you more alert and give you extra strength and can be useful if you need to protect yourself.  When anger is not managed properly all sorts of problems can happen.  What could happen if anger is allowed to rage out of control? Allow time to respond. Sometimes, we might experience really strong angry feelings.  I like to think that our bodies have their own feelings thermometer which measures the intensity of our feelings. 


Display Get GRIT’s Feelings thermometer.


Pose question: If you had an imaginary feelings thermometer, how would you rate how you are feeling right now? Are you on the bottom of the Feelings Thermometer and feeling great? Or are you at the top of the Feelings Thermometer and feeling really angry?  I hope not!


Some feelings we experience can be really big and strong.  When our feelings thermometer is really high, you may find it harder to think clearly and take control of your feelings. You may feel like your anger has raged out of control. Has anyone ever felt like this before?  What happened?


By listening to the clues your body gives you, you are able to identify these feelings before your feelings rage out of control.  It is much harder to calm angry feelings when your Feelings Thermometer rises and your anger intensifies. Sometimes our angry intensifies and our emotional thermometer rises very quickly, if this happens to you, it is really important to try and calm your angry feelings at the very first warning sign.



Using the Feelings Thermometer poster, students discuss the warning signs their bodies give them at each level on the thermometer and the how their body clues change as their anger intensifies.  Explain to the students that their warning signs may be different to one another.  They may experience a flushed face, shaky hands, sick stomach, clenched fists, narrow eyes, clenched teeth, stomping etc and that their warning signs may become more obvious as their Feeling Thermometer rises.


Our body gives us clues or warning signs to how we are feeling.  Learning to identify the signs will help you to manage them. When you are feeling angry, remember that you have the power over your body to relax and gain control.  Listen to your body and when you recognise the warning signs, make a high five choice.  What is a high five choice?  Let’s find out.



5.         Activity 3: Introduce High Five Choices (10 minutes)


Draw an outline of a hand on the white board.

Remember all feelings are OK, it’s what we do with our feelings that is important.  We can choose to make a high five choice.  What is a High Five choice? High Five choices are things that you can do to calm your angry feelings so that you do not hurt yourself or anyone else.  Poor choices are choices we make when we are angry that may end up hurting other people and/or ourselves.  We may hurt other people with our words, our hands or our feet.  This is never okay.  Poor choices often happen when our feelings thermometer rises quickly and our anger rages out of control. It becomes difficult to think clearly and make good choices when we are at the top of our feelings thermometer. Which is why we must listen to the clues our body gives us so we can manage our feelings and avoid raging out of control.


Ask the students to think of high five choices that they can make when they are feeling angry. Write answers on the hand on the white board. It may time out in our bedrooms, patting an animal, running around the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, punching a pillow, crying, listening to music etc. Remind students that a high five choice does not hurt themselves or anyone else.  High five choices will help them to calm angry feelings.

Read out the following scenarios and ask students to decide if it is a high five choice or a down low choice.  Encourage students to give high five in the air when you read out positive choices or thumbs down for poor choices.


  • Your sister takes your favourite toy so you snatch it off her and yell at her.

  • A girl in your class pushes into line so you push her out of the line.

  • You get into trouble for doing something that you didn’t do, so you take 5 deep breathes to calm down before talking to your teacher.

  • A boy in your class takes your pencil and won’t give it back, so you take a deep breathe to clear your head and put your hand up to ask your teacher for help

  • You can feel yourself getting angry when Mum tells you that you won’t be able to go to the park.  You visualise/imagine yourself on your favourite holiday.

  • Your baby brother keeps breaking your Lego towers, so you take your Lego into your bedroom where it is quiet.

  • Your friends keep fighting at lunchtime so you walk to the bubbles to get a drink and to have a break.

  • A girl from another class kicks your ball into the garden at lunch time, so you yell angrily at her.

  • Your baby sister breaks your favourite toy, you are so angry with her.  You run into the room and punch your pillow.


6.       Activity 4: High Five Chatterbox (10 minutes)


We are going to practice some High Five choices today. But first, to help you remember your high five choices, we are going to make a High Five Chatterbox


The aim of this activity is to teach students how to regulate and manage strong emotions. Explain to the children that we will be practising some high five choices.


High Five Chatterbox Instructions.


1. Cut out the High Five Chatterbox and turn it face down

2. Fold each corner towards the centre so that the numbers and colours are facing you

3. Turn it over and again fold each corner into the centre that the colour names are visable

4. Fold it in half so that the colour names are touching and the numbers are on the outside.  Now open it and fold it in half the other way.

5. Inset your thumb and first finger of each hand (pinching motion) under the number flaps.

6. Close the chatterbox so only the numbers show.


7.         Activity 5: High Five Choices (20 minutes)


We are going to practice some high five choices.  Using your chatterbox, let’s find out which high five choice we are going to practice first.   Taking turns, ask a student to use their chatterbox to learn about a high five choice.  Explain each high five choice as they are selected.  When the chatterbox lands on the following colours, guide the students through the technique.


• Orange - take a few deep breaths (Balloon breathing)

• Green - listen to music or mediate (Guided meditation)

• White - Imagine your favourite place (Visualisation)



Balloon Breathing (Chatterbox ORANGE)


Breathing exercises can calm angry feelings.  Intense angry feelings can cloud our judgement which sometimes can lead to bad decisions.  Breathing exercises can help you feel calm so that you can think clearer and make better choices. 


Today we are going to learn balloon breathing.  We are going to take a deep belly breath (from your belly) in through our nose and out through our mouth.  When your breath out, I want you to imagine you are blowing up a balloon.  Each breathe we take, your balloon will get bigger until it is ready to pop!  After 4 slow, deep breathes we can pop our balloon by clapping our hands.  Practice breathing without imagining a balloon, deep breathing can be done anytime and anywhere! No-one needs to know you are calming angry or worried feelings.  In your Get GRIT journal you can practice breathing exercises using star breathing.



Guided Meditation (Chatterbox GREEN)


Listening to your favourite music can help calm angry or worried thoughts.  We can also listen to guided meditations to help us feel calm again.  We are going to have a go at a guided meditation called the ‘Secret Tree house’.

Encourage students to find a comfortable spot on the ground to lie down, without touching anyone else.  Play the Secret Tree house guided meditation for children.  Stop after 5-10 minutes.

Visualisation (Chatterbox WHITE)


Guided imagery techniques can relax and calm our body and mind by distracting and redirecting our attention away from what is stressful. Today we are going to think about your favourite things or your favourite place to be.  Sometimes just by thinking about a place where we feel happy and relaxed can calm angry and worry feelings.  As we begin, close your eyes and take a deep belly breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.  As you continue breathing slow, deep breathes, think of one of your favourite places to go.  It can be anywhere – outside, inside, near us or far away.  It may be somewhere you have been many times, or somewhere you have only been once.  Imagine yourself in your favourite place feeling calm and relaxed, What does it look like?  What can you notice about it?  Does it have any certain sounds?  It is a loud place or a quiet place?  Do you notice any smells there?  Try to think about everything you can notice.  Now, focus on how this place makes you feel.  Does is make you feel calm?  Happy? Excited? Something else?  Really think about this feeling.  Continue to breathe slowly and focus on the feeling it is giving you.  When you are finished, take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth and then slowly open your eyes.



8.    Activity 6: Story Massage (5 minutes)


Ask students to sit in a circle or in pairs. 


Massage relaxes your body and helps you to feel calm again.  Massage can be helpful if you are angry or if you are worried.  You can always ask a family member to give you a massage or if you see someone in your family feeling angry or worried, you can offer to give them a massage.


The Lion calls a Meeting Story Massage


The lion walks through the jungle (hands walk up and down back)

He beats his drum to call all the other animals to a meeting (gently pounding)

They join the circle one by one (rubbing hands in a circle)

The long snake slithers in (slither hand up and down back)

The rabbit bounces in happily (tapping up and down back)

While the peacock proudly fans his tail (hands fan out in circles on back)

Finally the zebras squeeze into the circle (squeeze shoulders)

They all sit calmly waiting to hear what the lion has to say (two hands placed on back)

What does the lion have to say?  Can anyone guess? Roar!


9.      Concluding Discussion (5 minutes)


Remember, all feelings are OK, there are no wrong or right feelings.  We are the boss of our feelings and we can make high five choices when we are angry.  When you are feeling angry, high five choices can help your body feel calm again.  Today, we practised balloon breathing, story massage and imaging our favourite places or things to make us feel more relaxed.   This week, if you are feeling angry, try and make a high five choice.

Close session: Thank the group for their participation throughout the session.  Encourage them to practice the new skills they learned during the week.  Share with the group an exciting activity that they will do during the next GRIT lesson.