The playground cogs lend themselves to explore emotions outdoors. Having reminders in the playground supports children transferring their knowledge into a real life context.
The playground cogs lend themselves to explore emotions outdoors. Having reminders in the playground supports children transferring their knowledge into a real life context where there are explosive moments and heightened emotions. The playground cogs can be used as a vehicle for discussions to help resolve conflict by support staff or pupil ambassadors.
In this example, pupils were firstly asked to locate the red playground cog. As a check-in to the lesson, pupils were asked what their understanding of the Body Sensations cog. At this point, pupils need to be reminded that body sensations are what we feel on the INSIDE of our bodies, nobody can see these sensations and they can be different for everybody.
The pupils started off with a simple game of body parts tig (when you shout a body part pupils have to find a partner and join that body part that of the other person e.g. head to head, elbow to elbow, knee to knee, back to back). For younger children it could be a quick round of ‘Head, shoulders, knees or toes.’
Pupils were asked what their bodies felt like before the game. Some felt excited because they knew they were going to be playing a game. This was a good opportunity to talk about ‘anticipation’ and how that might feel on the inside of their bodies. Some felt less positive because they ‘didn’t like running around so much’ and we talked about how that might be a feeling of ‘dislike’ or ‘dread’. It important to note at this point, the children were suggesting different emotion words rather than sensations. Using the Body Sensations section of the symbol book, children were asked to focus on different parts of their bodies. Some words were modelled ‘Do they feel tingly? wobbly? shaky? And the same for the children’s tummies – tingly? rumbly? butterflies? Explaining that often people have similar sensations for emotions (see upper level lesson called ‘Where do we feel our Emotions?’ for more information). After playing the game for a short time, the children were gathered around and the same questions asked. How does your body feel now on the inside? The responses were much more detailed – Legs felt buzzing, shaky, bodies felt full of energy, pumped up and hearts were beating fast, thumping, jumping out of my body, mouths were dry and panting, skin was sweaty and feeling hot.
To record the sensations pupils worked in small groups to draw around a person on the ground. They then used the red chalk to write on the chalk bodies the different adjectives and phrases they came up with after their game of tig and wrote them where they could feel them in their own bodies.
The amount of vocabulary that can be generated from one short game of tig is powerful.