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A differentiated example of learning conversations and follow up work across two Emotion Works levels shared by Ashley Forrester, Teacher at Alva Academy ASD provision.


At a recent practice sharing event, it was helpful to hear how Ashley had used the original Elmer storybook by David McKee to support learning conversations about emotion words, triggers, body sensations, behaviours and regulation strategies with 2 different ability groups in her class.

In terms of Emotion Works levels, Ashley had planned activities around…

  • Learning (and consolidating) first emotion words and related vocabulary
  • Learning basic cog concepts and making 2-part and 3-part links

One group of pupils worked on the task shown on the left hand side of the photo. It helped them to reflect on how Elmer feels about being patchwork colours and different to all of the other grey elephants. The worksheet has a similar layout to an Emotion Works Storyboard worksheet but, as you can see, it has been prepared with questioning at the top of each column to make it very relevant to the story. For this group Ashley added in extra visual prompts to support the learning conversation and associated written work. The cog prompts at the bottom provide a reference point for support staff about which aspect of emotion works learning each question taps into.

The other group of pupils worked on the task shown on the right hand side of the photo. They discussed the part in the story where Elmer rubs himself in grey berries to make himself look like the other elephants, and then how the elephants all get bored and sad because they don’t have Elmer around doing fun things to keep them happy. Again the worksheet questions are made very relevant to the story, but for this group there is less visual prompting and each child worked to complete their own sheet. For this group, more reference was made to the emotion cogs during the learning activity to help pupils build familiarity with the different concepts represented.

This is a nice example of using motivating starter stimulus for emotion works teaching. The first group of learners have been supported to consolidate emotion word use and their understanding of words and phrases related to other emotion concepts. The second group were able to work more independently with the sequencing aspects of the story, but were given more support when identifying and talking about the different cog concepts.

To have a closer look at the two worksheet tasks click here