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Lesson Two Overview - Take Control


Lower Primary 

Regulating and Managing Emotional Responses







Students will:


  • Know that anger is normal and okay

  • Understand that anger can be a positive emotion

  • Understand how anger can become a problem when we lose control of our emotions

  • Understand that our body gives us warning signs or clues to how we are feeling

  • Understand that there are different levels (or intensities) of anger (feelings thermometer)

  • Strategies to calm big feelings


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





Lesson 2 teaches children to first recognise the physiological signs of anger. 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.  Children will learn that their feelings range in intensity.  They will also be introduced to high five choices which are positive strategies to manage emotional responses.  Children will learn breathing exercises and visualisation.

We first want to teach our children that they should never feel ashamed of their feelings.  There are no good or bad feelings.  Anger is not a bad feeling.  Nor is worry, fear or sadness.  All feelings are normal and okay.  We also don’t want to teach children to get rid of anger. There are positive reasons for anger. Anger can provide the energy to right wrongs and change things for the better. Each of our emotions plays an important role in providing us with information.  Firstly anger helps us to get our needs met as well as helps us to discover our boundaries. Anger also can help us get things accomplished.  We want to teach our children how to manage anger in positive ways.  Teaching children how to self-regulate is about teaching them how to acknowledge and express how they are feeling without hurting themselves, their friendships and other people.

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 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 and rejection. 



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


Welcome back! Last week we learned that all feelings are normal and okay. We learned to recognise the clues our bodies give us when we experience different feelings. We also learned the importance of empathy and helping other people. Today we are going to learn about taking control of our anger. We will learn about the warning signs our bodies give us when we are feeling angry as well as strategies to calm big feelings.  But first, we are going to begin every GRIT lesson with a gratitude attitude.

Gratitude Attitude (5 minutes) 

* Skip activity if teaching lessons 1 and 2 together. Introduce gratitude attitude in Session 2 (Lesson 3).

Pose the question: Who can tell me what grateful means?

It means you are thankful for what you have. 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. I will share what I am grateful for first and then I want you to think of what you are grateful for to share with the group.


Ask each student to share something that either made them smile or something that they are thankful/grateful for. This simple activity is training students to be positive and to have a 'gratitude attitude'.


You may like to use a 'talking ball' and have students hold a ball while sharing with the group. They may like to pick a sticker off the ball after they have had a turn, before rolling the ball to a student who has not yet had a turn.

Activity One: Anger is Normal and Okay (5 minutes) 


Today we are learning all about anger.


Pose the 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. 


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. 


Did you know that there are good reasons for anger? Anger is a really important feeling. Each of our emotions plays 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 the 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. you were walking along the beach and you saw a person drop their rubbish. This made you angry so you decided to pick up the rubbish and any other pieces of rubbish you could find along your way. You used your anger in a positive way.


Let's watch a short video about 8-year-old Senna.  Senna loves animals and has fundraised for them after spotting a sick sea lion pup at her favourite beach.  She used her anger in a positive way.


Activity Two: 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 the 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 when we experience really strong feelings like anger.


It is much 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!

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.


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


I like to think that our body has an imaginary thermometer. Some feelings we experience are really big and strong, while other feelings are much smaller. When we experience really big and strong emotions, it makes it a lot harder to take control of our anger. 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. 


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. Whenever you’re mad, take a moment to notice the ways 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. 

Together, discuss the warning signs they get when they are feeling out of control, angry, upset, annoyed and calm. Write answers around the Emotional Thermonitor Printout. 

Pose the questions:

  • What warning signs do you get when you are annoyed? (E.g. Sigh loudly, growl, your thoughts)

  • What warning signs do you get when you are upset? (E.g. voice getting louder)

  • What warning signs do you get when you are angry? (E.g. clenched fist)

  • What warning signs do you get when you are out of control? (E.g. yelling, hitting, screaming, punching)


Examples; feel hot, 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.

Activity Three: High Five Choices (10 minutes)

Remember all feelings are OK, it’s what we do with our feelings that is important. When you are feeling angry, you have the power over your body to relax and gain control. We can choose to make a high five choice.

Draw an outline of a hand on the whiteboard.

Pose the question: What is a High Five choice?


When someone gives you a high five it’s because you have done something great! 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. This is why we must listen to the clues our body gives us so we can manage our feelings and avoid raging out of control.


Pose the question: Can you think of 5 High Five Choices you make to calm your angry feelings?

Write answers on the hand on the whiteboard. 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.


You may like to try different High Five Choices to see if they help you calm your angry feelings and stay in 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. 

Activity Four: High Five Chatterbox (20 minutes)

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.


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

 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 visible

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 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 it 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.  With 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!

Optional Video:

We are now going to listen to a story called 'A Little Spot of Anger' which will teach you a few more strategies to calm angry feelings.

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 the 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.

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