Lesson Plan: Reframing Feelings Before Acting on Them
Slow down and look around you
Grade level: High School
Approximate time frame: Two to four class periods
In the following lesson students will consider the influence of emotions on thinking and behavior and come to understand how managing one’s emotions typically leads to better outcomes. After exploring instances in which fictional characters’ decisions and actions are based on reflexive reactions that are not well thought out, students are encouraged to think about how reframing their thinking before they act could improve their responses and courses of action in their own lives.
Apply understanding of reframing strategies to a work of literature
Apply understanding of reframing strategies to situations in their own lives
Demonstrate understanding of strategies for positive decision-making
Evaluate and apply decision-making strategies within a work of literature
Evaluate their own decision-making strategies and reflexive thoughts as applied to a personal situation
Summarize in a coherent and organized way information and ideas learned from a focused discussion.
Locate and analyze elements of plot and characterization and then use an understanding of these elements to determine how qualities of the central characters influence the resolution of the conflict.
Apply methods to accommodate a variety of feelings in a constructive manner in order to promote well being
Explain and practice a model for decision-making that includes gathering information, predicting outcomes, listing advantages and disadvantages, identifying moral implications, and evaluating decisions
Explain positive techniques for handling difficult decisions
Work of literature (novel, chapter, or short story)
Slow Down and Re-Write
Take Two Perspectives and Call Me in the Morning
Student reading assignment
Brain Driver’s Education: Operator’s Guide section: “Slow down and look around you”
Is your first thought or feeling about a situation always correct? Why or why not? Ask students to give examples of times when their own first thoughts/feelings about a situation may be incorrect. How does that first thought affect your decisions?
“Sometimes our emotional reactions are reflexive – like a habit – rather than reflective of the reality of a situation. Stepping back and thinking about a situation differently allows you to figure out if your emotional response matches the situation.” Literature is full of characters who – in acting on their reflexive thoughts and emotional reactions – do or say things that cause trouble for themselves and others later on.
Provide an example of a challenging moment from literature (a text that the class has recently read or is reading). Ask the class to identify the reflexive thought/assumption/action that leads the character into trouble. Ask the class what might happen if the character took a moment to slow down, look around him/her, and rethink the reflexive reaction.
Review the strategies for reframing a situation described in the Student Reading Assignment “Reframing feelings before acting on them” in the Brain Driver’s Education: Operator’s Guide:
Is there another way to view things?
Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen?
Think of pro’s and con’s and evaluate consequences
Consider the “big picture,” which may help provide perspective
Consider the effect of changing your own thinking
Accept that you may not be able to get what you want
Discussion: Ask the class how the character in your example from literature might have used these strategies. Would the strategies have helped him/her arrive at a better outcome? How?
Provide students with Student Activity handout “Slow Down and Re-Write.” (This activity may be done individually or in small groups.)
Review student answers in whole group setting.
Optional journal assignment: Ask students to choose one of the strategies above and make a conscious effort to use the strategy for a week, recording experiences in a journal. Was the strategy helpful in their daily life? Allow time for class discussion.
Optional: Assign reaction paper: Student Activity handout “Take Two Perspectives and Call Me in the Morning.”
Use class discussion, Student Activity handout(s), and journal assignment to assess student understanding.
Massachusetts General Hospital owns the copyright in and to the original version of this document, 2010. The original version of this document is available under a royalty-free license at www.schoolpsychiatry.org and is provided courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital.