Grade Levels: K-3

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-3, students watch the BrainPOP Jr. movie Emotions and explore related resources to learn how to recognize our own emotions, and how being mindful of them can help us. Students will then play a game of Emotion Charades.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify emotions by looking at pictures.
  2. Watch the BrainPOP Jr. Emotions movie to explore different emotions, and strategies for managing the uncomfortable ones.
  3. Play a game of “feelings charades” in which they identify emotions and suggest strategies for feeling better.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Index cards
  • Pictures of people (from magazines, books, photos, Internet, etc.) that very clearly express a range of emotions, such as joy, fear, excitement, anger, sadness, surprise, frustration, love, and worry
  • Sticky notes


  • Preview the movie Emotions to plan for any adaptations.
  • Display the images of people expression emotions (see above) where everyone can see them.
  • Write the names of different emotions (such as the ones listed in Materials) on separate index cards. Make sure your sets include both positive and negative emotions. Make a set for each small group of students.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students how they feel today. If there is a big event coming up—such as a holiday, class party, etc.‚—ask how they feel about it. Write their responses on the board. After everyone has had a chance to respond, read aloud the different responses and point out that these feelings are called emotions.
  2. Now draw students’ attention to the pictures that you’ve displayed showing different emotions. Distribute sticky notes to pairs or small groups. Instruct them to look at the images and determine what emotion the people are feeling. Have them write it on a sticky note and place it near the picture.
  3. After everyone has identified the emotions in the pictures, review the words students used to describe each emotion. Note that sometimes we use different words to express the same emotions, such angry and mad.
  4. Show the BrainPOP Jr. movie Emotions on an interactive whiteboard for the whole class. Pause as needed to reinforce student understanding of key concepts and vocabulary.
  5. After the movie, divide the class into small groups, and provide each with a set of the emotion cards, placed face down. Ask if anyone has played charades. Make sure they understand that it’s a game where you act out something without using words and everyone guesses what it is.
  6. Now explain that they are going to play a special “emotions” version of charades. Taking turns in their small groups, a student will draw a card without showing anyone and act out that emotion. Whoever guesses, goes next. Or, to ensure that everyone in the group gets to go, they can simply take turns. As an extra challenge, after a student acts out an uncomfortable emotion (e.g., fear), and the group guesses, have them suggest strategies for feeling better.
  7. After playing the game, bring the class together and discuss what they learned. Prompt the conversation by asking questions, such as which emotion was the easiest to identify? Which was the most difficult? What types of strategies did you suggest for feeling better? What did you like and/or dislike about the game?
  8. Finally, ask students why it is important to recognize what they, and others, are feeling. They should understand that by being aware of their own emotions—particularly uncomfortable ones like sadness or anger—they can help them figure out which strategies they need to feel better. By recognizing how others feel, they can show empathy and help them.