Lesson One - You are Unique


Upper Primary 


Identifying and Recognising Emotions


SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL COMPETENCY: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness




Students will:

  • Identify personal qualities

  • Appreciate diversity

  • Recognise similarities and differences between themselves and others

  • Identify emotions in themselves and others

  • Recognise the body’s reaction to feelings: body cues

  • Non-verbal and Verbal Clues

  • Understand how and when to assist others (empathy development)

KEY VOCABULARY: Similarities, differences, empathy, feelings, warning signs, body clues, happy, sad, worried, angry.



Background Information


The first lesson in the program focuses on developing self-awareness.  Students are encouraged to appreciate diversity by recognising personal qualities and similarities and differences between peers and familiar people.  Recognising similarities and differences leads into the discussion about how we all experience feelings and emotions.  By normalising feelings children understand that all feelings they experience are normal and OK.  It is important to teach children to not be ashamed of their feelings – good or bad. 


Children need to learn how to recognise their feelings in order to learn how to manage them.  These skills need to be explicitly taught just like learning to read and write.  Children who are explicitly taught social and emotional skills are more likely to succeed at school, develop healthy relationships and are also less likely to develop mental health problems. As children grow, their emotions become more complex. How a child responds to different feelings and emotions will have a significant impact on how they cope and enjoy school life. 

The aim of this lesson is to improve self-monitoring so that children are able to recognise arousal states and raise awareness of behaviours so that they are then able to use the strategies and tools to manage their emotional responses. In Lesson One, students will also learn about how to read the body language of others so that they can try to understand how those around them are feeling and respond emphatically.  Students are made aware that other people have feelings and thoughts that are different to their own.


Lesson Plan

1. Introductory Discussion

Welcome to Get GRIT. Does anyone know what GRIT is all about? Allow time for response. GRIT is an acronym for Getting Along, Building Resilience, Identify Emotions and Taking Responsibility.  What does GRIT look like?  Allow time for response.  Kids with GRIT have a positive attitude and a growth mindset.  They believe that they can do anything they set their mind to. Kids with GRIT never give up.  They believe that challenges will make them smarter and they believe that mistakes are proof that they trying.  Kids with GRIT are persistent, resilient, dream big and work hard towards making those dreams come true. Kids with GRIT know that they are the boss of their thoughts and their feelings.  They manage their anger, frustrations and worries and bounce back from difficulties.  Kids with GRIT catch negative I Can’t thoughts that stop them from being happy and change them into positive I Can thoughts. They also maintain friendships by sharing, taking turns, being honest and trustworthy and they also play to win friendships and not play to win.  Finally, kids with GRIT know how to stand up for themselves and are confident, courageous and brave.

​We are going to learn how to Get GRIT. Today we are going to talk about the I in GRIT, Identifying Emotions.  We are going to learn about what happens to our bodies when we experience feelings. But let’s start with a couple of games which will help us to get to know one another.

2.    Warm-up Activities: Getting To Know You (10 minutes)

Getting to Know You Panel.

We learn something from every person we meet in our lives.  We are now going to learn more about each other by asking questions from my interview cards.

Ask students find a partner.  Hand out getting to know you cards.  Students ask each other questions.  Ask students to find a new partner and repeat the activity to ensure each member of the group become familiar with each.

  1. What is one word you would use to describe yourself?

  2. Where is your favourite holiday destination?

  3. What are your hobbies?

  4. Which famous person would you most like to meet?  Why?

  5. If you had a super power what would it be?

  6. Who is your favourite musician?

  7. What was the last good book you read?

  8. What would you like to be when you are older?


Face to Face Greeting Game. 

We are now going to play a game called ‘It’.  I will ask for a volunteer to be ‘it’. We will walk around the room until ‘it’ calls back-back or face-to-face. When ‘it’ calls ‘back to back’, you need to quickly find a partner and stand back-to-back.  When ‘it’ calls face-to-face, you need to find a partner and introduce yourself.  Remember to use a friendly voice when you introduce yourself, look the person in the eyes and stand confidently. After introducing yourself, the new ‘it’ will be responsible for calling ‘face-to-face’ or ‘back-to-back’.

The aim of this game is to find a partner as quickly as you can to avoid becoming ‘it’.  If you don’t find a partner in time you will become it. When you find a partner I want you to introduce yourself remembering to use a clear, loud voice, eye contact and a smile.  After you have introduced yourself, The aim of this game is to encourage effective communication skills.  Choose one student to be ‘it’.  Students walk around the room.  When ‘it’ calls ‘back to back’, all students need to quickly find a partner and stand back-to-back.  When ‘it’ calls face-to-face, students need to find a partner and introduce themselves. Encourage students to use a clear, loud clear voice (hi, my name is), look the person in the eyes and stand tall. During the change, ‘it’ will try and find a partner and the player left out will become ‘it’.


3.         Establishing Group Guidelines (5 minutes)

Before we begin, as a group, we are going to record a list of guidelines that are important for every member of our group to follow so that our lessons are a positive experience for everyone.  I will display our group guidelines each lesson.  What do you think it important for each member of our group to follow in order for us to learn together?

Record the students’ answers on the Group Guidelines Template. Ask each student to sign their name on the paper to show that they agree to follow the group guidelines.

Developing shared rules within any group is important as it allows ownership of how things will run as well as being used for accountability when rules are not adhered to. It is important to always have the group guidelines displayed every lesson so that at any time the teacher can reference the guidelines if a student is being disruptive or interrupting the lesson.

You might like to include the following guidelines:

  • Only one person speaks at a time (hand up)

  • Listen when the teacher or other students are talking

  • There are no right or wrong answers

  • We all participate in every game and activity

  • Respect the privacy of others


4. Appreciating diversity (10 minutes)


In pairs, using post it notes, ask students to discover similarities and differences with their partner.

Differences make us unique and interesting.  We all share similarities, but we also have differences. It is important to celebrate and appreciate our differences.  Imagine if we were all the same, life would be very boring!  In pairs, we are going to complete a Venn Diagram.  Who is familiar with a Venn Diagram?  A Venn Diagram is made up of two circles overlapping.  Similarities that you share with your partner will go where the circles overlap.  Differences between you will be shared on either side.  Using post-it notes, write your similarities and differences and place them on the Venn Diagram.

As a group, share each group’s Venn Diagram.

5. Introducing Feelings with Bear Cards (10 minutes)

There is one thing that we all have in common.  Do you know what it is? The one thing we all have in common are feelings.  Children and adults alike experience a wide range of emotions.  We all experience feelings whether it be sad, scared, angry or happy.  All feelings are OK and normal.  Is it OK to feel angry? Allow time for responses. Yes, it is OK to feel angry.  We all at times feel angry.  It’s what we do when we are angry that is important.  Is it OK to feel sad?  Yes, it is OK to feel sad.  It’s what we do when we are sad that counts.  Hurting ourselves or hurting other people because we feel sad, frustrated, worried or angry is not OK.  

Place bear cards in the middle of the group.  Ensure each student has a pencil and post it notes.

Using our post it notes, I want you to look closely at each of my bear cards and think of a word that best describes how the bear is feeling.  Make sure you look closely at the bear’s face and body.

Allow time for students to respond to each bear card.  Pose questions:

  • Did everyone use the same describing word?


Feelings are not always clear and sometimes just like the bears, they can be hard to work out.  This is called emotional intelligence.  We all have our strengths.  For some people, Maths comes easily to them, for others its science.  Some people have high emotional intelligence, which means they are especially good at recognising and managing their own emotions as well as empathising and understanding how others may be feeling.  The good news is, just like learning Maths, this skills can be learned and with practice you can improve your emotional intelligence.

It’s really important to pay attention to our feelings. 

Pose question

  • Why do you think it is important to pay attention to our feelings? 


Yes, if we can identifying our feelings we can regulate and manage them.  This is especially important for when we experience really strong feelings like anger, anxiety and fear. 

Pose question

  • Why do you think it is important to pay attention to other people’s feeling?


Yes, so we can empathise and help them in any possible way.


6. Understanding Body Clues: The Warning Signs (10 minutes)​


The aim of this activity is to teach students to be aware of how their bodies respond when they experience different feelings.  In small groups, students draw on the template of the body the clues their body gives them when they experience different feelings. Ask one group to draw the clues their body gives them when they are happy.  Ask another group to draw the clues their body gives them when they are sad.  Ask one group to draw the clues their body gives them when they are angry.  Ask one group to draw the clues their body gives them when they are worried. Once students complete the activity, display the posters and talk about what happens to our face and body for each feeling.

Our body gives us clues to how we are feeling.  It is important to pay attention to your feelings.  We are now going to think about what happens to our face and our bodies when we are happy, angry, sad and worried.  They are our 4 main feelings, I like to think of them like our primary colours. However each of these feelings range in intensity and there are many words to describe these feelings.

We are going to break into small groups and I will give each group a different feeling.  You need to draw on the body what happens to your face and body when experiencing that emotion.

  • When we are feeling happy where on our body do we feel happy?  What happens to our face?  (Smile, eyes are wide, stand up tall)

  • When we are angry where on our body do we feel angry?  What happens to our face?  (Hands clench, stomach tightens, eyebrows frown, teeth clench, eyes narrow)

  • When we are sad where on our body do we feel sadness? What happens to our face? (Tears, eyes narrow, mouth frowns, shoulders roll)

  • When we are worried where on our body do we feel worry?  What happens to our face? (Butterflies in stomach, eyebrows frown, mouth straight, shoulders roll)


Complete the body clues worksheet in pairs. Share with group.


7. Empathy Charades (10 minutes)


A person’s face and body can reveal a lot about how they are feeling. There are non-verbal cues as well as verbal cues.  What is the difference between a non-verbal and a verbal cue?


Verbal cues include:

  • Tone of voice

  • What they are saying


Non-verbal cues include:

  • Facial expressions

  • Body language – posture, eye contact, direction a person faces


Non-verbal clues are very powerful.  Sometimes non-verbal clues and verbal clues don’t match. Who can think of an example of this?  Sarcasm is an example.  For example, saying something nice with a mocking tone.  Let’s take it in turns saying the word, ‘yeah’ as in ‘yes’ in different expressions and tones.

By listening to verbal cues and by looking for non-verbal clues you can understand and get along with people better.

If you notice someone unhappy, you can acknowledge how they are feeling by saying, ‘You look…’ and then you can ask how they you could help them.  This is called empathy.  Empathy is a really important quality in a person.  Empathy is about trying to understand how someone is feeling.  Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘In someone else’s shoes?  What do you think this means?

Ask for a volunteer to act out a feeling using non-verbal cues.  Students need to guess the feeling by saying, ‘You are feeling….’  Encourage the student who guess correctly to think of a way they could help that student.  By encouraging the students to answer with, ‘You are feeling sad etc.’ they are practising empathy.  This encourages the students to acknowledge how another person is feeling before asking if they are able to help them. 


9. Concluding Activity: Pass the Smile (5 minutes)

Sit in a circle.  Choose one student to smile his widest, silliest smile at everyone to try and make someone giggle or laugh.  He gets a point for everyone who can’t keep a totally straight face.  Continue game ensuring all students get a turn.

A smile is contagious, when someone smiles at you it is hard not to smile too!  Always remember how powerful a smile can be.


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.

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