Emotional Intelligence Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can develop and grow. This lesson plan gives you games and activities to do to strengthen emotional intelligence in elementary-age students.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate qualities of emotional intelligence, such as empathy
  • express personal feelings/emotions


30-50 minute lessons


  • Copy of the story Watch Out, Ronald Morgan! by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Camera
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Prepared sets of sticky notes labeled with emotional descriptive words such as 'lonely, 'depressed' and 'worried.' Make sets of about ten words each on different colored sticky notes.
  • White boards and markers
  • Prepared scenarios in which a character experiences an emotion, such as a boy who loses his favorite toy and a mother who receives a wonderful birthday present
  • Chart paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Clothes pins

Key Vocabulary

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Empathy
  • Responsibility
  • Self-expression
  • Emotions

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.6

Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Direct Instruction

  • Gather students together and read aloud the story Watch Out, Ronald Morgan! by Patricia Reilly Giff.
  • As you read the story, ask students to write down the emotions the main character, Ronald, is experiencing. For example, when Ronald feeds the wrong food to the pets, he may feel embarrassed.
  • After the reading, divide students into partners and have them share their answers.
  • Share emotions as a whole group, discussing the situations they belong to, then discuss:
    • How do you know Ronald was feeling these emotions? What were some clues you used to notice?
    • Who has felt these same emotions? When?
  • Explain what the term 'emotional intelligence' means and allow students to discuss how they use emotional intelligence in their everyday lives.

Picture This

  • Start by taking photographs of students making different emotional faces, such as angry, frustrated and sad. If a camera isn't available, have students draw faces or cut them out of magazines.
  • Divide students into small groups and give each a set of five images and index cards.
  • Have students look at each image and determine the emotion the person is feeling and write it on the index card.
  • Check in on student work to make sure cards match images.
  • Now have groups lay their images on a table top and mix index cards up.
  • Have groups walk to another table and try to match the emotion to the correct face. Check for accuracy and repeat.

Face It

  • Give each student a white board and marker.
  • Read prepared scenarios aloud to students.
  • After each reading, have students draw a face that shows the emotion the character is experiencing.
  • If possible, instruct students to write the emotion on their board as well.
  • Have students share their boards with a partner.

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