Blueprints for Caring: Feeling Words - Teaching Empathy Institute
Teaching Empathy Institute works to establish emotionally and physically safe learning communities for elementary, middle and high school students and the adults who work with them. Working in the Hudson Valley of New York, TEI creates tailor-made programs designed to foster dialogue about social culture building while strengthening the capacity for the infusion of empathy and compassion into all aspects of the learning experience.
Teaching Empathy Institute, SEL, Social and emotional learning, mindfulness, diversity, education, bullying, anti-bullying, k-12, learning, david levine, school of belonging
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Blueprints for Caring: Feeling Words

Creating an on-going feeling word vocabulary can also be seen as improving one’s emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is reflective of someone with a high degree of emotional intelligence. A person with high EQ is able to manage his or her emotions during stressful times. #CASEL

Feeling Words Vocabulary Builder

Distribute a handout of “Feeling Words”, (see below). Ask students to help you define each word, and brainstorm with them on other words to add. Then ask each student to:

  • Star six words that they use often
  • Underline six words that they seldom use
  • Circle any words that they do not understand

Ask students to avoid using the starred words during the rest of the week and to use the underlined words whenever possible.

Challenge yourself to use new words as well, especially the words you might use to describe disruptive students. Instead of “rude” and “disrespectful,” consider using “disconnected” or “alienated,” and see how those words may change your attitude.
In a class meeting, have students share how it felt to use new words. Then ask the following questions:

  • What surprised you about using the new feeling words?
  • How might improving your vocabulary of feeling words help you in the future?

Download the Feeling Words Handout here.

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