Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.
By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:
- Recognize that ADHD impacts their ability to read nonverbal social cues, like facial expressions
- Accurately identify a range of positive and negative emotional expressions in others
- Effectively express a range of positive and negative emotions
- Work collaboratively with others in pairs and small groups
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. (While this specifies 5th grade, this lesson could work for most students)
- Paper and pencil
- White board and markers
- Begin by grabbing their elusive attention and cycle through exaggerated facial expressions of anger, fear, joy, sadness, trust, disgust, surprise, and anticipation to see how many students give you quizzical looks.
- To explain your funny faces, ask the students to identify the expressions on your face, then run through the expressions again as they shout out their best guess.
- Hold a discussion about the importance of interpreting emotions of others through their facial expressions and body language.
- Talk about the differences in expressions that help students identify and recognize the various emotions.
- Write the emotion words on the whiteboard, paired with their opposites:
- Anger - Fear
- Joy - Sadness
- Trust - Disgust
- Surprise - Anticipation
- As you write each word on the board, ask the students to practice making their faces look like a cartoonish extreme of that emotion.
- Encourage students to really get into character and play it up while they can.
- Practice more subtle versions of these emotions together as a group.
- Students will then choose a partner, with one group of 3 in an odd-numbered class.
- Instruct students to begin by performing the expressions typical to each emotion for their partner to guess.
- Ask them to take it down a notch and start slowly, with more realistic facial expressions. Perform their emotion in a low-key, less exaggerated manner than during practice.
- Their partner will try to guess and if it is unclear, they can gradually increase the intensity of their expression until they figure it out.
- Each student will have an opportunity to express and identify each emotion word, taking turns until finished.
- To wrap up the lesson:
- Bring the groups back together
- Discuss how the project went:
- Did they start to get better at reading their partner's face?
- Do they think they were effectively able to regulate how much emotion they express?
- Did they struggle to increase or decrease how much intensity they showed their partner at will?
- How did students feel when their partner looked at them with anger?
- Encourage students to remember this exercise:
- Whenever they might need to figure out what someone is feeling
- Whenever they want to have the appropriate expression of their own feelings
- Whenever they want to have more control over the expression of their feelings
- Encourage students to observe other's expressions as they go about their day and see how many of the expressions from the activity they see.
- Assign homework to share the lesson at home with loved ones and teach their families to play.
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