Editor’s Note: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have expressed concerns about how to best support the social-emotional health and well-being of both staff and students. Quick Connections will feature simple, easy-to-use strategies that educators can implement right away without the need for extensive training or professional development. Additional resources can be found on KDE’s COVID-19 Resources for Health and Safety webpage.

Supporting students’ emotional health can start with a quick check. Having students take a minute to identify what they are feeling at this moment can be empowering and comforting.

Too often, our students feel something but don’t have the vocabulary or ability to express how they feel. Using a feeling chart – which can be as simple as a picture of a sad face, a neutral face and a happy face – can give students the ability to name how they feel and to realize that they are not the only one who feels this way.

When introducing this to your classroom, tell students that these are some of the most identified feelings. A person may feel more than one of these emotions at a time or fluctuate between emotions. A point to focus is that feelings change, and you will probably feel every one of these emotions in your life. Remind your students that there aren’t good and bad emotions, there are just the emotions we are currently feeling.

Below are three sample charts that can be used in any classroom.

  • Emoji feelings chart: Great for all ages, especially elementary. Students can relate their feelings to the images on the chart.
  • Feelings wheel: Students can start with inner circles and use outer circles to narrow down the names of their feelings.
  • Feelings chart: Can be used to connect all feelings to intensity and pleasantness. Great for showing that feelings can ebb and flow based on intensity.