Emotion Vocabulary
Activity 1

Play the Statue Game to embody core emotions and engage students in the inferencing process through physical expression.
Students in different classrooms playing emotion statue game and showing expressive poses with arms extended.
 
 

What is it?

Kids express what they know and understand about familiar core emotion vocabulary, using their bodies and faces. Teachers describe the variety of choices that they see their students making.

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/FiKE35DKPNs
    Let's play The Emotion Statue Game

    In this game, kids learn how core emotion words feel in their own body and see how their peers express the same word in different ways. Teachers notice and describe a variety of expressions. This encourages students to use their own body, and the knowledge of their peers as a resource and gives them the tools to explore advanced vocabulary later on.

 

Literacy Connections

Physical expression tells a story, just like illustrations in a book. Model inferencing by noticing and describing your students’ physical choices and how those choices express emotion.

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/SLI7rOOobSY
    Why embody and describe?

    In this video you can see how this process:

    • Helps kids make a connection between visual, kinesthetic and verbal literacies.
    • Boosts confidence in communication skills.
    • Offers a fun and concrete experience of the inference process.
 

Classroom Examples

This activity was tested in a variety of classrooms and adapted by many different classroom teachers and teaching artists!

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/kwuT1QakwRg

    Socially distanced, Multilingual Learner classroom examp

    Teaching Artist Sara Jane Munford
    (PS 124M, 1st grade class)
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/MYwy8Q5FUE0

    Self-contained classroom example

    Classroom Teacher Theresa Donnelly
    (PS 62Q kinder/ 1st grade class
    12 students with disabilities, 1 teacher & 1 para-professional)
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/tqplcuQgoKo

    On-line classroom example

    Teaching Artist Susanna Brock and Classroom Teacher Hope Komal
    (PS 51Q, 1st grade)
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/yoky08OPJjU

    First Grade classroom example

    Classroom Teacher Synthia Kurtz and Teaching Artist Sarah Provost
    (PS 63Q, 1st grade class)
 

Steps & Scripts

Open each step for video, sample scripts & a downloadable steps PDF

 

Step 1: Introduce the Game

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/CCpyELmMJXI
    See Sample Script (2-3 min)
    • What is a statue? (Something that doesn’t move, that’s made of metal or wood – like the Statue of Liberty.)
    • Do statues move?  Do statues talk?  Statues stay in one spot, keep their balance and stay quiet.  Let’s all pretend to be a statue.
    • What’s an emotion? An emotion is the same as a feeling.
    • Today we’re going to make statues to show emotions, or feelings.

    Steps Statue Game Core Emotions 

 

Step 2: Model the Game

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/1LHGx3kiMPs
    See Sample Script (1-2 min)
    • I will say an emotion word like happy!
    • We will show happy with our bodies!
    • We will all  freeze  in a statue that shows happy!
    • I will describe all the different ways that you are showing happy with your bodies. You might be making the same statue as someone else or you might have your own idea.
    • Then we’ll reset. We’ll shake that feeling off and make our bodies calm and relaxed

    Steps Statue Game Core Emotions

 

Step 3: Play the Game

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/2kgCnz4ly4k
    Sample Script (1-2 min per word)
    • Say- The next emotion word is Mad!
    • Show- Let use our bodies to show Mad
    • Freeze- Freeze into an emotion statue that shows Mad!
    • Describe- Wow! I see so many different, wonderful ways to show Mad!  Some people have their eyebrows pointing down with their arms crossed in front of them to show how mad they are. Other people have hands on hips, with elbows pointed out and wrinkled up noses.
    • Reset-  (See the reset step below)

    Steps Statue Game Core Emotions

 

Step 4: Release/Reset/Refocus

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/VIQBv1K4YhI
    See Reset Options (10-20 seconds)
    • Relax your body
    • Take a deep breath
    • Wipe it away
    • Shake it out
    •  Wiggle it away

    Choose a consistent way to do it!

 
 

Start Planning!

Before you play, explore these planning resources.

 

Helpful Tips

 

Plan support for your students

Before you play, assess!
Do your students need a…

 

Plan to connect and extend

How can it fit in your curriculum?

Take a look at some of the connected activities at the bottom of this page for ideas! Check out the Bridges Suggested Book List- SEL

 

Prepare!

Get ready to embody and describe!

Check out the Planning and Preparation Guide Statue Game Core Emotions. Try the activities below to build your noticing and describing skills.

 
 

Build your Skills!

Before you facilitate the Emotion Statue Game do the following activities to strengthen your noticing and describing skills!

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/epoZC_JZyB4
    Notice the Variety!

    While you watch this video, challenge yourself to notice the variety of choices students are making. After you watch, reflect! Did any of the students’ choices surprise you? What can the surprising choices teach us about our own assumptions around these familiar words. For more support visit

    Notice, Describe & Ask: Physical Expression
 
  • Three students show the feeling scared, but with varied arm gestures while playing the Emotion Statue game.

    Who should I describe?

    Notice & describe three choice.

    1) A choice being repeated by multiple students.
    2) A dramatic choice.
    3) A subtle choice.
  • Two students embody the feeling word happy showing similar poses while playing the Emotion Statue game.

    Describe repeated choices!

    Ex: I see many kids have small smiles, their hands clasped under their chin & shoulders lifted toward their ears.
    To find specific words use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Two students show a dramatic pose for the word excited, while others show a more subtle pose.

    Describe Dramatic Choices & Subtle Choices!

    I see someone with…
    …arms stretched, fingers spread & squinted eyes! (dramatic)
    …palms pressed & brows lifted! (subtle)
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Students embody and show the feeling of surprise while playing the Emotion Statue game.

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Students embody the word angry and show expressive interpretations of what feeling angry looks like.

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • A student shows a dramatic example of what the feeling surprise could look like while playing the Emotion Statue game.

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Students show variety in their physical expression during a warm up game.

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Students practice embodying feelings during the Emotion Statue game

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
  • Students' physical expression shows the variety of choices they make while embodying emotions.

    Scroll through the images. Notice & describe…

    1) a choice being repeated by multiple students
    2) a child making a dramatic choice
    3) a child making a subtle choice
    For support use the
    Describing Tool- Face & Body
 

Reflect

After you play, assess how it went and find support to go deeper!

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/RcBHfe9YWD0

    My kids were wild!

    Watch this video for some ideas for how to help your students release, reset and refocus.
  • A classroom teacher with notes in hand, leads and participates in the Emotion Statue Game.

    It was challenging to describe kids’ choices!

    Try the “Build your skills” activities on this page. For support use the
    Describing Tool for Face & Body
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/qe7x9I-V9A4

    My kids were not familiar with the core emotion words!

    Use a warm up to build confidence through unison vocal expression. Check out the activity support packet for
    I Am Using My Voice!
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/5_tptdoipbI

    My kids were not expressive!

    Use a warm up to clarify parts of your face kids can make choices with. Check out the activity support packet for the
    Facial Feature Warm Up
 

Connected Activities

If you liked the Emotion Statue Game, check out these activities!

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/5_tptdoipbI

    Scroll for more SEL through physical expression

    Focus on facial expressions and how they communicate emotions in a fun way. Try the
    Facial Feature Warm up
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/UbCQlLlNkyA

    Scroll for more SEL through physical expression

    Play the Emotion Character Grab Bag
  • A boy stands side by side with his puppet and mirrors the surprised expression that he created on his puppet's face.

    Explore SEL through visual expression

    Explore and Describe how small composition choices about shape, spacing, direction and pattern can transform the expression of a puppet face.
    Check out the 5 Shapes Many Emotions activity
  • Children in different classroom settings using their voice dramatically

    Explore SEL through vocal expression

    Use rhythm & repetition to explore vocal choices and emotion, and build expressive skills & confidence. Visit the
    Vocal Expression Activity Page
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