Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Our Book of Really Big Feelings
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.