Lesson Two Overview - Take Control


Middle 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, yoga, 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 lesson we learned about recognising our emotions.  We talked about how it is OK to feel angry, worried and sad.  We talked about the clues our bodies give us when we experience feelings.  We also talked about the importance of acknowledging other people’s feelings and empathising with them.  Who was able to pass on their smile since we met last?  Today, we are going to learn how to manage our emotions, which is the R in GRIT, building resilience.  Does anyone know what resilience is?  Resilience is bouncing back from hard and difficult times. Let’s begin 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, chemicals are released in your brain.  These chemicals 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, 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.


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 practise 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 (Star breathing)

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

  • Red - Stretch and breathe (yoga stretches)

  • White - Imagine your favourite place (Visualisation)



Star Breathing (Chatterbox ORANGE)

Slow deep breathing is a very helpful relaxation and calming activity. Deep breathing can calm angry feelings and calm worried feelings too.  When we feel angry, worried or stressed we tend to take shorter breaths which makes it difficult for our brains to get enough oxygen to our brains to think clearly.  Sometimes we may make a bad choice because we aren’t thinking clearly.  So, it is important to make sure that when you are feeling angry or worried, that your brain is getting plenty of oxygen.  Breathing in and out very slowly can help calm angry and worried feelings and it will help you to think clearer and make better choices.  Today we are going to learn star breathing.  Open your journal to the Star Breathing page.  With your finger, follow your way around the star. When you breathe in, take a deep belly breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.


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.

Stretch and Breathe (Chatterbox RED)

In yoga you learn to stretch and move your body while thinking about your breathing.  This can help relax your body and mind by releasing tension in your  body and relax your mind.  We are going to learn 5 yoga poses that will help you body and mind to relax.  

The Ragdoll Pose


  1. Stand up tall. Take two belly breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth

  2. Breathe in and lift your arms above your head. 

  3. As you breathe out slowly bring your arms down to the ground.



  1. Stand up straight and tall like a tree with your hands by your side.  Stretch your legs toward the ground and your head toward the sky.

  2. Take a deep belly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pick a spot in front of you to help you keep your balance and to help you concentrate.  Lift your right leg and put it on your left leg (above or below the knee).

  3. Now imagine tree roots growing into the ground from your left leg making your leg really strong like a tree trunk.

  4. Stretch your arms our like a branch.  If you start to fall, don’t worry!


  1. Sit up tall on the floor and place the soles of your feet together holding on to your feet or ankles.  Let your knees drop to the floor.

  2. Take a deep belly breath in and out while imagining that you are a butterfly.


  1. Place your hands on your belly while lying on your back.  Take a deep belly breath in and as you breath out point your toes and squeeze your legs together.

  2. Push yourself up on your elbows keeping your palms flat on the floor. 

  3. Next lift your chest as if you were a fish jumping our of the water.  Let your head rest a little on the floor. 

  4. Beathe in and out and slowly come back to the ground.


  1. Stand up tall with a straight back

  2. Take a deep belly breath in and stretch your arms out.

  3. Take another belly breath in and lift your leg up so you are balacing on one leg

  4. Keep your arms stretched to the side to help you with your balance.


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.