Teaching Notes: Little People Big Emotions

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Little People Big Emotions is a safe, special and important picture book for all children, reinforcing positive mental and emotional health and practical strategies that help them navigate their BIG emotions. Award-winning author, educator , entrepreneur and psychology student, Kylie Mort, culminates her passion and expertise to assist children, parents and fellow educators with an uplifting, reassuring story that delves into the areas of Health and Physical Education, Literacy, The Arts, and more. With beautifully soft yet energetic illustrations by Tiina Morton, Little People Big Emotions blends a fluttering array of heart, playfulness and happiness.

Discussion 

Before Reading –

Show students an assortment of facial expressions (emojis, drawings or photos of people’s faces). Can they identify each emotion?

Which emotions would they consider ‘BIG’ emotions? Students can sort the pictures of emotions into columns; Positive Emotions and Difficult Emotions. Discuss the reasoning behind their choices.

Which of the ‘difficult emotions’ have they felt lately? Turn and talk to a friend about how the emotion came about and what they did to resolve those ‘big’ feelings?

Look at the cover of Little People Big Emotions. What do you see? How does it make you feel? Why do you think butterflies and puppies might have been chosen for the front cover? What do you think this story is about? Do you think this story will be helpful?

After Reading –

What did you learn about different kinds of emotions? How many of them, and the way the child narrator describes them in her mind, can students relate to?

What did you learn about having big emotions? Reinforce that it’s OK to feel these feelings. These are a part of all of our emotions and children still deserve to feel important, special, safe and loved when the difficult emotions come out.

Why might it be important to manage those big emotions? What harm can they do to ourselves and others if left out of control, like the mean monster?

What strategies were encouraged to use with each description; the beautiful, flittering butterfly, the playful puppy, the busy blender and the mean monster?

Have you tried distracting yourself with something fun or relaxing, taking one step at a time, giving yourself simple challenges, and counting slow, deep breaths and imagining yourself in a happy place?

What is your favourite part of the book, and why?

Activities

Emotions: Synonyms and Antonyms

English Years Foundation to Year 2: (ACELA1437) (ACELA1452) (ACELA1454) (ACELA1470) (ACELA1464)

Synonyms are words that have similar meanings. Antonyms are words with opposing meanings.

Make a list of synonyms for the different ‘difficult / painful’ emotions in the book. These include: unhappy, worried, guilty, frustrated, angry. Synonyms for unhappy might include: sadness, miserable, dejected.

Now make a list of antonyms for these words. Antonyms for unhappy might include: happy, cheerful, joyful, content.

Using the template below, choose an emotion for each butterfly and divide the synonyms and antonyms for each wing.

Students also might like to use the butterfly to list helpful strategies, to write a positive mantra, to make a card for someone special, or as an art and craft activity.

Role-Playing Emotions

The Arts – Drama Years Foundation to Year 2: (ACADRM027)(ACADRM028)(ACADRM029)

Health and Physical Education Years Foundation to Year 2: (ACPPS003)(ACPPS017)(ACPPS018)(ACPPS004)(ACPPS005)(ACPPS019)(ACPPS020)(ACPPS006 )(ACPPS007)(ACPPS022)(ACPMP008)(ACPMP009)(ACPMP025)(ACPMP027)(ACPMP012)(ACPMP030)

There are many games and activities students can participate in to explore, recognise and manage different emotions, in a variety of situations. These tasks are aimed to help children talk through their feelings in a safe and positive manner.

  • Role-play the characters and their associated emotions as seen in Little People Big Emotions. For example, can you be a fluttering butterfly, a bouncy puppy that dives from one thing to the next, a spinning and splashing blender, or a roaring monster? Now role-play the ‘calm’ emotions, like meditation, counting breaths, and so on. Students might like to work in partners where one person shows ‘big’ emotions and the other shows ‘positive’ emotions.
  • Create Sensory Emotion Jars with water, food colouring and small items like glitter, beads, shells, etc. Students can understand that the jars are like the busy blender; that when we have lots in our minds, everything can get ‘shaken’ up. When we stop for a moment, it will be still again.
  • Play ‘Don’t Laugh or Smile’. In pairs, one person is not allowed to laugh or smile when shown something cute or funny. These could include making funny faces, pictures or videos of adorable baby animals, telling jokes, listening to silly sounds, doing impressions, and so on. Children learn how to control their reactions, and they can discuss how they felt when they laughed or smiled.
  • Play a range of ’emotional’ music for children to express how it makes them feel. For example, music with fast tempos might make them excited, in a rush, happy or anxious. This task is open-ended.
  • Emotion pebbles or toys can help students identify and discuss how they are feeling, or they can choose one and recall a time they felt that emotion. What happened and what strategies were used in that situation? Students could act out a scene from their recollection, expressing the emotion shown on the pebble or toy.

BONUS! Find fantastic resources for parents and teachers on the final pages of Little People Big Emotions, plus a QR code to further information, or visit Kylie Mort’s website at kyliemort.com.au.

Little People Big Emotions is written by Kylie Mort, illustrations by Tiina Morton. Published by Serenity Press. Notes prepared by Romi Sharp.

Reference: Australian Curriculum

#importantspecialsafeloved #emotionalhealth #mentalhealthandkids


Visit Kylie Mort at her website: https://kyliemort.com.au

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Tiina Morton can be found at HOME – Possum Design Studio: Strategy Driven Design.


LITTLE PEOPLE BIG EMOTIONS is available for purchase through: Serenity Press | Amazon | Local and independent book stores.


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