Inside: Get a free “I Feel” Word Wheel for teaching emotional literacy in your classroom. Plus, get ideas for how to use the emotion word wheel with your students and as a part of art interpretation.
Social-emotional learning is more than just a buzzword in education circles—emotional literacy is an essential piece of the puzzle that is missing from most curricula. When our students leave school, they’ll need more than just memorized dates and vocabulary words. They’ll need to understand the world and the people around them.
Art is a gateway into the inner world of our emotions and thoughts, but without the language to understand and share those emotions and thoughts with others, we can feel like we’re all alone—this is especially true for teenagers and children who are learning about their place in the world for the first time.
As teachers, we can give students the tools they need to understand their own humanity and the humanity of their fellow human beings. Emotional literacy starts with finding the right words.
Classroom Connections: Emotional Literacy
Here are some ways to use the “I Feel” Emotion Word Wheel in your classroom:
- Allow students to use the wheel to describe their own emotions. This is especially useful for younger students who are diving into emotions beyond happy, sad, and mad.
- Remind students that feelings are often complex, and it is ok if they feel more multiple emotions at the same time.
- Ask students to describe how the characters in an artwork feel. Students can use the wheel to interpret artworks and hone in on the specific emotions a character may be feeling in the artwork.
- Explore how the artwork interpretation changes depending on the character’s perceived emotions, especially if students disagree about the emotions.
- Dig into the ways body language and nonverbal communication help us understand how others feel.
- Ask students to describe how they feel when looking at an artwork. Use the wheel with students when looking at an artwork for the first time.
- Ask students to say or write how they feel when looking at an artwork for the first time. After interpreting the artwork through a class discussion, ask the students if they would use a different word to describe their feelings about the artwork.
Free Download Emotion Word Wheel
Help students develop emotional literacy with this free feelings wheel. Use this download with a work of art to help students develop the vocabulary to match emotions with what they see and feel.