Emotional Intelligence Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Emotional intelligence helps students understand the affective mechanisms of their world. This asset contains activities to help teachers of middle school students when teaching them about emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is developing a comprehension of feelings, moods, and motivations that help us better understand ourselves and those around us. Students with a high level of emotional intelligence will be able to control their own emotional responses and show empathy for others. The following activities will help your middle school students gain emotional intelligence.

Acrostic Poem

Students will learn how others perceive them as they work in a group to create acrostic poems about each other.


  • construction paper
  • markers


  • Divide students into small groups. Provide each group with a set of supplies.
  • Have students write their name vertically on a sheet of construction paper in large, capital letters.
  • Have students pass their paper clockwise. Students will write a positive character trait about the student whose paper they received that begins with one of the letters of that student's name.
  • Student will pass the paper clockwise again and add another positive character trait that starts with a letter of the student's name whose paper they have. Students will repeat the process until every student in their group has a complete paper.
  • Post poems in the classroom or compile into a class book.

Assertive, Aggressive, Passive Role Play

Students will learn how to be more assertive through this role-playing activity.


  • Divide students into small groups.
  • Have students think of a situation, such as someone forgetting to return something they borrowed or not returning a phone call, that could lead to conflict between friends.
  • Have students write a skit indicating what an assertive, an aggressive, and a passive person would do in that scenario.
  • Have each group act out their skits for the class.
  • Discuss which was most effective and how to be more assertive, rather than passive or aggressive, in real-world situations.

Empathy Map

Students will learn about empathy by analyzing the thoughts, feelings, words, and actions of another person.


  • concept map template
  • video clip of a human-interest story


  • Have students watch a news clip of a human-interest story.
  • Have students create an empathy map that describes what the person in the story felt, thought, said, and did.
  • Divide students into small groups to compare their maps and discuss how our personal experiences can influence how we perceive the feelings of others.

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