Exploring Emotions with Middle Schoolers


Theatre is all about conveying feelings onstage by means of our voices, gestures, facial expressions, and physique language. With center schoolers, who are sometimes within the midst of studying take care of their very own feelings, it’s not all the time simple for them to know painting emotions onstage, and even have the language to explain how they’re feeling. Let’s assist them determine it out.

You’ll want a thesaurus or the power to do an online seek for synonyms, in addition to a dictionary and your blackboard/whiteboard or a big piece of paper to jot down on.

1. If you’re utilizing a big piece of paper, flip it horizontally so it’s lengthy. On one facet of the paper (or blackboard/whiteboard), write the phrase blissful. On the opposite facet write unhappy or indignant. You could make two lists in case you’d prefer to work on each unhappy and indignant. Draw a horizontal line between the 2 feelings to attach them. The centre of the road represents impartial. For instance:

HAPPY ———————— (Neutral) ———————— ANGRY

You might additionally draw a small vertical line down the center to characterize impartial.

2. Imagine that the horizontal line is a spectrum. The outer edges are the happiest and angriest you may ever be in your life. The nearer to the centre (impartial), the much less intense the feelings are.

3. Have college students brainstorm different feelings which are related in tone to blissful and indignant, then decide the place they match on the spectrum. Use a thesaurus or this web page of emotion prompts in the event that they need assistance. Which is a extra intense blissful feeling: content material or glad? Excited or ecstatic? Which is a extra intense indignant feeling: irritated or irritated? Furious or fuming? Where would they put every emotion on the spectrum? Aim for at least 5 phrases per facet.

If college students don’t know what a phrase means, have them search for the definition and share it with the category.

4. Help your college students perceive what every emotion phrase would possibly really feel like. For every emotion, have college students fill within the blanks: When (occasion) occurs, I really feel (emotion). Or I really feel (emotion) when (occasion) occurs, however I really feel (totally different emotion) when (totally different occasion) occurs. You can then use these sentences as prompts for college kids to follow portraying the totally different feelings.

For instance: “I really feel blissful when I’ve my favorite breakfast. I really feel thrilled after I get a birthday current. I really feel overjoyed when the current is a brand new pet!”


“When my brother drinks the last juice box in the fridge, I feel annoyed. When he won’t share the TV, I feel angry. When he blames me for something I didn’t do, I feel furious!”

5. Have college students write (utilizing the printable worksheet beneath) or talk about:

  • How do their our bodies really feel? (Tense? Tight? Hot? Cold? Jumbled up? Something else?)
  • What do their faces do? (Smile? Frown? Stare? Turn crimson?)
  • What does their voice do? (Cheer? Scream? Gasp?)
  • What actions do they do? (Jump up and down? Clench their fists? Kick one thing? Fall to the bottom? Cover their ears?)
  • How do they show the totally different ranges of emotion?

6. Have college students rise up and act out the small scenes they created from the fill within the blanks in steps 4 and 5. Check out Tips to Help Students Raise the Stakes in Drama Class for assist with this. You additionally would possibly contemplate having college students use the film Inside Out as a reference. How do the Emotions stand? Move round? What do their faces do?

7. Reflection / Exit Slip Questions: “How can this exercise make you a better actor?” or “How can this exercise help you with your role in our class performance/school show?”

Additional Resources:
Choice Board Exercise: Portraying Emotions
Physicalizing Emotions: How to Make Emotional Performances Consistent and Repeatable

Click right here for a free printable worksheet.

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