Practical Tips for Emotion Vocabulary and Social Language Skills

In my last post on teaching emotion vocabulary, I mentioned that both my students on the spectrum and my students with emotional disorders need to expand their vocabulary for feelings, but that I differentiate in how I use the same materials to better meet their different needs. Catch that post here.

Tips for working on Social Skills with E.D. students
Today I will share some tips on how I work with my students who have emotional disorders. In general, I have found that giving my students some control over the content or the activities they are being asked to learn is a helpful strategy for getting them to be more involved and cooperative. This also opens the door for giving them opportunities to practice the language for negotiating and compromising that I teach them, as well.

I start by using charts with vocabulary for mild, moderate and strong emotions for all of the basic emotions, having my students choose the specific vocabulary they want to learn and practice.  Many charts are available online, but here is a link which has a few nice variations: https://325424.com/2015/08/13/emotions-and-feelings-charts/.

Then I have my students do some hands on activities for learning the chosen vocabulary, like making personalized dictionaries and playing games. They can find images to make a picture dictionary or look up meanings using my favorite online dictionary for students: http://www.wordcentral.com/home.html.  If you need some other vocabulary ideas, check out http://www.nclrc.org/teachers_corner/classroom_solutions_yana/vocabulary_activities.html.

Matching the Intensity of Emotion Vocabulary to the Size of the Problem
Once my students have learned the new vocabulary words, it is time to put them to practical use! The first activity I incorporate is ‘How big is your problem?’  Using given criteria and varied social scenarios, my students have to decide how big the problems are and an appropriate emotion intensity to match that situation. Students who explode over every small incident need lots of varied vocabulary for angry emotions and practice determining the varied intensities of emotion that different situations call for. Explaining their reasoning for their answers helps them internalize the language and thinking skills for their own future use. 

Some great links to check into for this step are:


This website has a wealth of information on problem solving, including problem solving steps, a video of this in action (with a lovely Aussie accent), scenarios and some downloads.

This is an animated YouTube video about the steps to problem solving. The voice is a bit mechanical, but students may like the animation.

http://www.epasd.org/Page/4178 - links for a powerpoint to give students strategies for determining the size of the problem and videos the students made.


You could also check out these packets of mine for varied skills and levels:

Think About How I Feel- Looks-Like-Language      Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Looks-Like-Language    Getting Along Game by Looks-Like-Language


Did you find some new resources? Do you have any that I missed? Next week I’m sharing many more, including taking perspectives!
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