Upgrade your emotional life

Age group

6-8 years

Primary CMS area

1. Personal effectiveness

Other CMS areas

1. I remain positive when facing setbacks and I keep a positive orientation for the future.
2. Building and maintaining a positive self-concept
3. I interact positively and effectively with others I change and grow throughout life

Unit Description

The Unit allows pupils to understand their emotions, to identify efficient methods for coping with negative emotions in many situations, to develop positive attitudes towards others and to boost their self-esteem. The unit helps students become more confident and teaches them how to cope with fear.

Learning outcomes

General objectives:

  • to identify emotions; to identify cognitions behind them; to build a coping strategy for each situation;
  • to identify the role of fear and anger in adaptation
  • to cope with major fears and anger

Activity Name

Upgrade your emotional life


The activities planned in the unit work together to help children be aware of their emotional life and to better cope with the negative emotions they may feel. A collaborative approach is promoted to highlight the role of the group of peers as potential helpers.

Stage 1: The unit starts with an ice-breaking activity, a mime game on emotions. Pupils are secretly given a piece of paper with an emotion and are asked to mime it. Without speaking pupils need to create groups of different emotions. The game opens up to the idea that emotions are part of our life, that they are shared and that they are a special ingredient which colours the way we live and we stay together. The teacher is invited to introduce children to different emotions

Stage 2: Children are divided in groups, the teacher gives to each group a card with a common situation that may make children angry (different situations for different groups). Each group is asked to identify behaviours that they would instinctively put in place to respond to the situation and emotion felt and to create one card for each behaviour. The groups are then invited to swap the set of cards created. Each group receives a new situation with a new set of behavioural reactions. At this stage, children are invited to collaborately think of an action plan for positively handling each specific action response. Children are invited to draw/write the strategy/solution at the back of the card with the behavioural response. Once each behavioural reaction has a positive, the different groups of children are invited to a session of role-playing where each member of the group has to act to dramatize the situation. Each group will have a main character, other contextual characters and the “anger doctor”.

Stage 3. This last activity works for highlighting that fears are common and that they can be overcome. In this activity, students are asked to write a list of their fears (in order from the smaller to the bigger) on a “fearmeter” – a thermometer to measure the intensity of each fear. They have to arrange each fear on this instrument, considering the numbers as intensity.
The students are then asked to work in groups with a role-playing problem-solving approach. Each group will now act as an equip of doctors and will have to cure the patients’ fears, referring to the personal fearmeter created above. Students will be announced that any kind of relaxing or decreasing medicine is allowed, such as: a teaspoonful of courage, a dust of smile, a kilo of encouragement, two packs of support from friends, etc. The purpose of the exercise is to give students alternative methods to overcome their fears and suggestions for creating a support network in a creative and motivational way. Once the bigger fears have specific prescriptions, the different groups of children are invited to a session of role-playing where each member of the group has to act to dramatize the situation. Each group will have a main character, other contextual characters and the “fear doctor”.

Learning materials

Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence. Bantam.

Stage 1: 20 min

Stage 2: 60 min

Stage 3: 60 min

Role of the teachers
To facilitate the activities and offer reflective insights throughout the activities. The teacher will be particularly important in Stage 2 to reflect on the different behavioural responses created and to highlight the variability of emotional responses. At the end of Stage 2, the teacher will need to support action plans which promote prosociality and proactivity.
The unit is built on the use of different methodologies such as peer learning, cooperative learning, enquiry-based learning.

Students are given a specific time for evaluation and debriefing. Students are first asked to choose the way they prefer (write a poem, write some rap, draw, act, write a text, etc.) to tell how they found the activity interesting and which elements they found particularly interesting. Students are then asked why students should do or not do this activity at school.
Finally, a rubric is used to ask the students to assess the unit.