Emotions Chart

UDL 2.5

An emotions chart is a paper with emoticons, drawings of faces, or actual pictures of people with different facial expressions that indicate specific feelings (sad, mad, happy, sick, scared, etc.). Students can use the chart to identify what they are feeling at a given moment or how they feel overall on a given day. The charts work well for students who do not communicate verbally, but they are also useful for students who have a hard time verbalizing their emotions. Charts can be downloaded and printed from many online sites, can be purchased or students can make charts themselves.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Communication Tool

Emotions Charts with Emojis

A collection of Emotions Charts with emojis that can be used to teach students how to identify and communicate their emotions.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 3 pages

Communication Tool

Emotions Charts with Photos

A collection of Emotions Charts with photos that can be used to teach students how to identify identify and communicate their emotions.

Grade 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages

Communication Tool

Blank Emotions Charts

A collection of blank emotions charts to support students in communicating their feelings. Students can identify their emotions by drawing pictures or charts can be customized with images from different sources.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Understanding each Emotion/Symbol
It is important that students are able to identify what the emoticons or faces represent. Teachers can work individually or in groups with students showing each emotion and asking what it represents and what leads to this feeling. For example, when pointing to the picture of a girl smiling, the teacher could ask, “What is this girl feeling?” When the student replies, “The girl is happy”, The teacher should ask, “What makes you happy?” This will allow the student to connect the emotions to her own life.
Student-created Charts
When having a student make his own emotions chart teachers should provide magazines or use image searches featuring children at the same age level as the student making the chart. The student can look through the magazines or the web images and choose pictures that he feels represent a specific feeling. Pictures can be cut and pasted on a paper, which can then be laminated for durability.
Begin with Simplified Chart
When working with students with significant cognitive delays, begin with a simple chart. There may be just a happy and a sad picture to choose from. As the student is able to recognize these two emotions, the chart can be expanded to feature more.
Importance of Being Age-Appropriate
When choosing or making charts, keep in mind the concept of age appropriateness. A high school student should not have a chart featuring animated or Disney characters. Pictures of actual high school students would be more useful.


Morning Circle
Emotion charts can be used at the start of a school day for students to do a check in about how they are feeling that day. In the elementary grade levels, morning circle time can be used as an opportunity for each child to gauge where he or she is emotionally. This will give the teacher valuable information about how to approach each child.
Self-Identification of Feelings
When a student is engaging in a behavior such as screaming or throwing objects, the feeling chart can be used to encourage the student to identify what feeling is behind their actions. When the feeling is identified, the teacher is able to take steps to assist. If the child chooses sick, the teacher can call a nurse. If the child indicates angry, the teacher can find out why and then determine what needs to be done to get the child back on track.
Supporting Conflict Resolution
Teachers can use emotion charts to assist in intervening in disputes among students. Two students who interacted in a dispute can be asked by the teacher “What were you feeling when you did ______?’ or “What did you feel when _______ did that?” The teacher can then determine how to return the students back to a positive relationship.

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