Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our Book of Really Big Feelings

Our Book of Really Big Feelings - a tool that labels, acknowledges, and validates strong emotions and promotes literacy skills for preschoolers photo FeelingsBook.jpg
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It's not always easy for my buddies to get along. Sometimes they get upset with each other and sometimes they get upset with me.  I do encourage negotiation when appropriate, but sometimes it's not really what's needed. 

I read a post about using kid's angry feelings to teach them to read.  Just having kids dictate their feelings and writing them out was suggested as a way to promote literacy. I wish I knew where I had seen it so I could give credit.

I thought about it for a bit and decided we would try it.  I used a duotang notebook and filled it with blank sheets of paper.  On the cover of the duotang, I taped emotion pictures and I labeled it "My Buddies Book of Really Big Feelings".  I showed my buddies the pictures of different emotions.   I explained that when they had "big feelings" we would write about them in the book.  Then we went about our day.

It wasn't long before there was some dramatic mishap where one of my buddies was upset.  I directed my buddy to get the book and we would write it down.  And that's how it began.  My buddies were quite content to get their feelings out and on paper.  Often they draw a picture to go along with their tale of woe, but not always. 

This has been such a great tool!  I love that I am giving them the language to express their feelings, and acknowledging and validating them, too!  It seems to help my buddies release those feelings instead of hanging on to them.  We will go over the words I've written for them and because there was such strong feeling attached to them, they are very interested in reading them.   They will also occasionally pick up the book to read themselves.  It's fantastic!

When we first started using this book, I did have a surge of unhappiness - for one little buddy in particular, every little thing seemed to be upsetting.  It was more of a dramatic unhappiness, rather than a genuine distress, though.  I did not want to turn unhappiness into a habit so I started adding big positive emotions to the book as well.  Fortunately, that seemed to solve the problem.  All in all, this has been a fantastic addition to our regular routines and I think we will be keeping this up.  I would encourage everyone to give it a try and if you do, let me know how it goes.  I'm also on the look out for that mysterious other post that got away from me so I can thank the author.  Please let me know if you've read it before, and know where it can be found.


  1. This is a great idea. One I'll be using in my special Ed room

    1. I'm so glad you like it, Rachel, I hope it works well for you. I know it has been great for my buddies.

  2. Hi! It seems to be a nice idea. How do you manage it? When something happens you call the kids aside and they write? I couldn't get this part and I want to try this. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Barbara, I first introduced the book to my group and told them that we would be using it. I have young children - preschool and younger. At the time when I began using it, I had one child in particular who regularly struggled with some very strong emotions, and was the reason I felt I needed something. So, yes, when I saw a child having a "big feeling" sadness or anger, and it seemed to be something that really just needed acknowledgement, I would ask if they would like to write it down in the book. Since my buddies are young, most of them can't write. So they would do a picture and dictate to me the words. Sometimes, after I helped them with negotiating, or sometimes after I had intervened and they felt unfairly treated by me or by their friends, I would offer the book and it seemed to help them just to get those feelings out on paper. There were also times that they would go back and look at the book, themselves. OH, and I used it individually, so one child used it at a time.