Purpose: To help children with pragmatic impairments (e.g., children with autism spectrum disorder) understand different emotions, regulate their own emotions, and become conscious of other individual’s feelings.
Step 1: Introduce the Thermometer
Emotion Thermometer Worksheet
- Pass out the emotion thermometer worksheet. You may want to fold the worksheet in a way that hides the table and shows only the thermometer to direct the child’s attention solely to the thermometer.
- Ask the child what they know about a thermometer. What does it look like? What can it be used for?
- Explain that emotions can be measured the same way. Start with a positive emotion as an example (e.g., happy). Ask about times and/or situations when the child has felt a little happy vs. very happy.
Step 2: Label the Thermometer
- If the child is old enough, have her/him look up the emotion in the thesaurus and have her/him choose a total of ten synonyms for that emotion.
- Type the ten words onto sticky labels, and have the child place the labels on the thermometer depending on how she/he feels the emotions should be ranked on the one-to-ten scale.
Step 3: Create a Poster
- Once the child has labeled the thermometer, you may re-draw her/his thermometer onto poster paper. Use magazines to look for pictures of people that represent each emotion on her/his thermometer, and glue the pictures onto the poster in the appropriate places.
- Then, you may write different scenarios onto Post-It notes and have the child place those on the giant thermometer depending on how the child or an individual would feel in that situation.
Step 4: Fill in the Table
- In the “Metaphors” column, draw pictures of a metaphor that symbolizes the emotion at different points of the thermometer (e.g., fireworks for “happy” or a volcano erupting for “angry”).
- In the “Looks Like” column, draw a picture of what one’s face looks like at each point on the thermometer.
- In the “Sounds like” column, write what one would say or think at each point on the thermometer.
- In the “I can Try…” column, think of strategies the child can use depending on how they feel on the thermometer (used primarily for negative emotions).
- To generalize these skills, write the strategies down in an “Emotion Toolbox,” i.e., a portable notepad they can refer to in the classroom, at home, on the playground, etc., when they experience that particular emotion.