Lesson Two Overview - Take Control


Lower Primary 

Regulating and Managing Emotional Responses







Students will:

  • Anger can be a positive emotion

  • Anger becomes a problem when we lose control of our emotions

  • Our body gives us warning signs or clues to how we are feeling

  • There are different levels (or intensities) of anger (feelings thermometer)

  • Learn the science behind anger

  • Strategies to manage their anger


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






 Background Information

Lesson Two teaches children to first recognise the physiological signs of anger.  Children will also learn about the brain and what happens to the brain when they are angry.  It is important to understand how the body works when we are angry so that we can make better sense over why we think and why we feel the way we do when angry.  Understanding the brain is the foundation of emotional intelligence.

Children will learn to become aware of the ‘warning signs’ or the ‘clues’ their body gives them to tell them that they are feeling angry with the aim of better managing their anger and avoiding losing control. Identifying the warning signs can be hard for young children and they will initially require your support.

​Children will learn that their feelings range in intensity.  They will also be introduced to high five choices which are effective and positive strategies to manage emotional responses.  When someone gives you a high five, it’s because you have done a great job! Remember, all feelings are OK but it’s what we do with our feelings that is important.

​It is important to be aware that anger is the only emotion that doesn’t exist on its own.  There is always another emotion or root cause that is driving anger. For adults and children alike, anger is often the easiest one to feel and/or deal with compared with emotions such as jealously, fear or guilt. Anger rears its ugly head to stop more difficult and more intense emotions from surfacing such as jealousy, guilt, disappointment, anxiety, fear or rejection.


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 anger.  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 One: What is Anger? (5 minutes)

Today we are going to be talking about the feeling called anger. 

Pose question: Is it okay to feel angry?

Yes, it is okay to feel angry.  Anger is a normal feeling.  Anger is not a bad feeling.  There are no good or bad feelings. Everyone gets angry at times. It’s what you do when you are angry that counts.

Pose question: Can you think of a time when you were really angry?

Ask students to share with the group.

Did you know that there are good reasons for anger? Anger is a really important feeling.

Each of our emotions play a very important role. If you were treated unfairly, anger can help you stand up for yourself.  Anger can also help you to change things for the better.

Pose question: Can you think of a time when you used your anger in a positive way?

Share a time when you used anger in a positive way. E.g. on playground duty you saw an older child push over a younger child in the playground.  This made you angry which gave you the energy and the courage to talk to the older child about not hurting other children.

Anger can sometimes be scary and uncomfortable. We don’t want to get rid of anger.  We want to learn how to manage our anger so that anger does not become the boss of us.  Learning to handle your anger will make you feel calmer and more peaceful.  This will make it easier for you to get along with your friends and family.  Best of all, you’ll feel better about yourself.  When you lose control of your anger and it becomes the boss of you all sorts of problems can happen and you may find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Pose question: What could happen if you lose control of your anger?

4. Activity Two: Anger Starts in Your Brain (5 minutes)

Display picture of brain.

Take a look at the picture of a brain. The brain has many parts that do all kinds of different jobs.  There is the Cerebrum (suh-REE-bruhm) which has the job of helping you think and speak.  There is the Cerebellum (Sair-uh-bel-uhm) which has the job of helping your muscles move so you can walk, run and ride a bike.  The hippocampus is at the centre of your brain.  Its job is to help you store all your memories.

Today we are going to learn about the Amygdala (Ah-mig-dah-la) and the Prefrontal Cortex.

The part of your brain in charge of your feelings is called the Amygdala.  Anger starts in your Amygdala.  The Amygdala is like a guard dog.  It is there to protect you from danger by getting you ready to run away (flight), fight or freeze.

We also all have a wise owl part of our brain called the Prefrontal Cortex that is the decision making part of our brain. It's at the front of our brain, can you put your hands on your Prefrontal Cortex?

When our Amygdala, the guard dog part of our brain, switches on, our Prefrontal Cortex, the wise owl part of our brain, switches off.  This makes it difficult to make good decisions.

So what happens when we are angry?


When we are angry, our Amygdala switches on automatically ready to protect us from any danger.  If we are in danger this is helpful. But often we are angry because we haven’t got what we wanted or we feel like we have not been heard, and not because we are in danger.  When we are angry we need our Wise Owl (our Prefrontal Cortex) so that we can make good decisions.

There are lots of ways to get your Wise Owl working when you are angry so that you are the boss of your brain and the boss of your anger! We will learn how to do this later. Can you think of a time when you lost control of your anger and you made a poor choice? What happened?

Encourage students to share with the group.

5. Activity Three: The Warning Signs (10 minutes)

In lesson one, we learned that our body gives us clues or warning signs when we experience different feelings.

Pose question:  Why do you think it is important to pay attention to the clues your body gives you?

If we can listen to the clues or warning signs our body gives when we have different feelings we can learn to manage them in a positive way.  This is especially important for when we experience really strong feelings like anger.

In chapter one, we talked about the clues or warning signs our body gives us when we experience different feelings. Let's play a game.

Robots and Ragdolls (Movement Break)

The aim of this game is to become aware of feeling tense, which is a common warning sign when we are angry.

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 your room like a robot by tensing your muscles.  When the music stops I want you to become a rag doll and relax all your muscles in your body.

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 and a warning sign that we are feeling angry.

Pose question: What are some other clues your body gives you when you are angry?

6. Activity Four: Feelings Thermometer (15 minutes)

I like to think that our body has an imaginary thermometer.  The feeling angry has different levels or intensities. Sometimes our anger is really big and strong, while other times our angry feelings are small.  When we experience really big and strong emotions, it makes it a lot harder to take control. It is important to know your body’s warning signs which may be different to my warning signs or anyone else’s warning signs.  If you pay attention, your body will tell you when you’re getting mad. You may:

  • feel hotter.

  • get shaky or tense.

  • feel like your thoughts are spinning out of control.

  • get a headache or stomachache.

  • feel jumpy or helpless or ready to burst.

  • want to yell or cry.

Whenever you’re mad, take a moment to notice the way your body reacts. Those are your warning signs. Think of them as your own personal “heads-up.”  By listening to the clues your body gives you, you are able to identify these feelings before your feelings rage out of control. 

Pose Questions:

  • What warning signs do you get when you are annoyed?

  • What warning signs do you get when you are upset?

  • What warning signs do you get when you are angry?

  • What warning signs do you get when you are out of control?

It is harder to manage your emotions when your feelings are strong.  When your anger rages out of control, it becomes difficult to think clearly. By listening to your body and noticing the warning signs when you begin to first feel annoyed or upset, you can manage your feelings before they become stronger and harder to manage.  Don’t let anger be the boss of you!

Pose question: When you feel yourself getting upset, where on your body do you get your warning signs? 

It is much harder to calm angry feelings when your Feelings Thermometer rises and your anger is strong and big. Sometimes 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.

Pose question: What happens to your body when you get angry?

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

Draw an outline of a hand on the white board.

Now I want you to think about how you calm your angry feelings and take control of your body. 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.  When someone gives you a high five it’s because you have done something great!

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.

Can you think of 5 High Five Choices you make to calm your angry feelings?

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.

You may like to try different High Five Choices to see if they help you calm your angry feelings and gain control.  You may find some High Five choices work really well for you and some other High Five choices don’t work well.  We are all different and what works for you may not work for me.  You may also find that splashing water on your face helps you to feel calm when you are annoyed but it doesn’t work when you are feeling out of control.  You will need to use different High Five strategies for when your anger is small and when your anger is really strong and big. 

8.       Activity Six: 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.


Visualisation (Guided Imagery)

The first High Five Choice we are going to learn is Visualisation.  Visualisation is replaying a happy memory. This strategy calms our mind and our body by helping us to think of positive things instead of the things that make us feel angry. It refocuses our minds and shifts our attention to something else.

Today we are going to replay a happy memory. In your mind, picture the event or situation again. Replay the whole thing in your mind. Picture every little detail.  Sometimes just by thinking about a place where we feel happy and relaxed can calm angry and worried 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 a happy memory.  It can be somewhere you have been – outside, inside, near us or far away.  It may be somewhere you have been many times, or somewhere you have only been once.  In your mind, picture the event or situation again. 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.


We are going to now learn the number one best way to calm angry feelings.  Do you know what it is? Taking slow, deep breaths is one of the best ways to calm your anger.  Taking deep breaths when you start to feel angry will help you stay the boss of your anger and calm your Amygdala. It may not stop you from feeling angry, but it will help you to stay in control and make good decisions.  Deep breathing helps get more oxygen into your bloodstream.  It has a physical effect on your body to help you feel calm and to help you think clearly.

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.

I want you to try and practice before bed every night and you will be good at it in no time.


Story Massage

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 

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.