Did I get your attention? That’s right, my kids cannot be happy in speech! They can be thrilled, excited, delighted, etc, anything but happy!
After working on emotional inferencing one day I realized I kept hearing the same words: happy, mad, and sad. ” She won the lottery. How do you think she feels? ” My student’s standard response, ” Happy. ” Ok, I don’t know about you but I would be ecstatic, thrilled, and doing back flips! A lot more than just ‘happy’. So, I took drastic measures… I banned happy! I also banned mad and sad while I was at it.
We used Kimochis to help us brainstorm some alternatives to these outlawed words. We wrote them down on a some colorful circles and I taped them to my whiteboard for quick student reference. Now, if they say happy, sad, or mad, I simply point to the circles and they know to choose something different. This is been a great way to introduce shades of meaning too!