I recently made a video which teaches the signs for 10 emotions in British Sign Language – BSL. It’s been fantastic hearing how different people have used this simple resource so I thought I’d share those ideas with you so that you can try them out too.
As part of a lesson about feelings
If you’re teaching a leasson where you’re exploring a range of different feelings, learning the signs as well as the words for a range of feelings can both be fun and a great way to embed understanding.
It can be interesting to explore the different facial expressions we use to communicate each feeling as we sign it and also to discuss why each sign is represented the way it is – for example, the sign for ‘nervous’ can open up discussions about how our heart beats faster and we can really feel it in our chests when we’re nervous.
As an ice breaker activity
If you’re doing a drop down day or inset training or adults or children, learning these signs can be a nice activity to break the ice, or to inject a bit of movement if people have been sat still too long. It an be fun to learn them together and they can be a great starting point for discussion about feelings too.
A simple way of communicating for those who struggle
For children who find it harder to communicate verbally for any reason, sometimes being able to show us how they’re feeling can feel more manageable. The signs for feelings are generally straight forward and clearly represent how we’re feeling especially when coupled with facial expressions so they can be a powerful means of communication for pupils with special or additional needs.
To communicate need in a busy classroom
In a busy classroom, a child can sign from across the room and clearly let a teacher how they are feeling. This can be especially helpful for children for children who may need additional support from the teacher as they become emotionally dysregulated. The process of learning the signs and learning to understand and sign their feelings can also be a great learning process and can aid their understanding of self and be a good first step in emotional literacy and self-regulation.
Children with SEND
Teaching children with SEND basic feelings signs can give them another way of telling us how they are feeling - they can also be used to warn us if a child is feeling scared, confused or angry etc in a classroom setting when they can't make their voice otherwise heard - e.g. in a silent classroom, across a noisy playground etc.
How else could you use these basic signs? I’d love to hear how you’ve been using them!
You can jump to each feeling / sign using these quick links:
00:03 - Happy
00:07 - Sad
00:12 - Angry
00:16 - Confused
00:22 - Scared
00:27 - Nervous
00:32 - Excited
00:37 - Proud
00:41 - Hate
00:45 - Love