Monday, November 2, 2015

Guidance Lesson: Introduction to the Brain & Identifying Emotions - Elementary School

This guidance lesson will help students form connections and a better understanding of how their brain is functioning and regulating their emotions. Students will have an opportunity to visually see emotions and connect those feelings to what parts of the brain are triggered. These exercises will provide students with physical movement; a visual display and sensory triggers that will help remind them when they are in a “feelings” state and how they can deescalate themselves while having an understanding of what is happening in their brain.

Counselor will give students a written form or assessment that tests their knowledge from the guidance lesson. On the assessment students will try to connect facial recognition with upstairs brain or downstairs brain. In addition students will have a physical exercise that may help remind them what “learning ready” or “flip your lid” looks like.

Grade: 2nd Grade


  • Brain Poster
  • Pictures of People (Magazines work) in happy, mad and sad faces 
  • Poster or White board
  • Tape for pictures
  • Drawing of Brain - Upstairs and Downstairs split in the middle
  • Assessment sheet 

  1. Introduction:
    1. Ask students what they know about the brain 
    2. Present brain poster – go over the important parts (hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, amygdala)
      1. Have students repeat the parts of the brain
      2. Go over what each part does and give a scenario of that part in action 
      3. Introduce terms upstairs brain and downstairs brain
        1. Ask students if they have heard what upstairs brain means? 
        2. Ask students if they know what downstairs brain means? 
    1. Physical exercise Hand = Brain 
      1. Demonstrate to students how their fist can represent their brain 
      2. The fingers represent the “thinking part” of their brain the upstairs part of their brain (Learning Ready)  
      3. The thumb represents the amygdala 
      4. The index finger represents the prefrontal cortex
      5. When the brain is learning ready the brain looks like a tight fist with the thumb securely inside protected. (Happy, Learning Ready,Listening, Following Directions)  
      6. When students are in an emotional state and in their downstairs brain or not learning ready they have flipped their lid. The index fingers pop up leaving the thumb unprotected and wiggling. (Angry, Sad, Mad) 
    2. Visual Exercise 
      1. Counselor will introduce students to pictures of emotions and will ask if students can identify if the faces are in their downstairs brain or upstairs brain. (Happy, Sad, Mad)
    3. Visual Assessment 1:
      1. Students will be paired up and given pictures to decide whether or not the person in the photo is in their upstairs or downstairs brain 
      2. This exercise gives students an opportunity to see what different emotional states look like on different people of different genders and races. This is also helpful because not everyone’s “angry” face or “sad” face looks the same so students can have a wide array of visuals to use as examples.
    4. Assessment:
      1. Students are given a sheet where they identify with facial recognition whether the person in the picture is in their upstairs or downstairs brain. 


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