TECHNIQUE IMPLEMENTED  The bag of emotions
Country Hungary
Age of the students 6th grade, aged 10-11 years old
Setting In a public primary school of a small town in the countryside, with the pupils of the 5th grade.
Material needed Small bags / match boxes for each pupils to collect the papers, colourful papers cut in small pieces.
Emotional competences developed Recognizing own and others’ emotions
Transversal competences developed Social & Civic Competences
Description of the technique The main aim of this technique is the identification and personal coding of emotions through colours.

In Hungary, at the beginning of the implementation, the class has decided on which colours mean which emotions (blue is tiredness, yellow is happiness, orange is being tense, black is feeling very bad, light green is being fine, grey is being grouchy, brown is feeling sick, red is love, white is neutral and dark green is not feeling very well).

At the beginning of a literature class on a Friday morning, the teacher asks the pupils to choose one small colourful paper that represents their actual feelings. Then they talk for five minutes about who chose which colour – the teacher leads the discussion the following ways:

  • references earlier moods as well (eg. “I remember, you had blue already this week. What was it, Wednesday?”)
  • encourages them to share the reasons behind certain colours (“I see you had yellow yesterday… so why it is that you were so confident yesterday?”)
  • asks the children to look at the drawing of a body put on the class door (from the Body and emotions exercise) to check where certain emotions are felt in the body (eg. “Yes, feeling cramps… where do we feel crums? In the belly?”)
  • asks some children to guess how a certain classmate felt during the week and if they recognized how their mates felt.

After the discussion, they go on to discuss a novel they have actually read. They work with the characters in the novel for a while, than in small groups they receive certain situations from the novel. In a few minutes, the pupils have to write down, what they think the characters have felt in those situations, indicating the feelings with different colours, using their commonly agreed decisions on which colour mean what. After a few minutes, they discuss the results.

Adaptation made
  • The teacher combined the technique with the Body and emotions excercise – the children have drawn the outline of the body, and wrote the feelings and emotions in it with the corresponding colour, which they later used for the Bag of emotions technique.
  • The teacher incorporated the colours also in the literature lesson: the children had to interpret the feelings of certain characters from the novel they were working with through using the colours from the Bag of emotions technique.

These two adaptations deepen the connection between the colours and the emotions, making it easier for the pupils to relate to them.

Quotations from the teacher “I noticed that after a while, the children became more independent, for example if the match box broke or got lost. Then also was a girl, who took neon colour pens to indicate her actual feelings. Or when she had a separate notebook, where she herself made small pockets to collect the colourful papers. So they further developed it.”

“At some point, we started some variations, because they started to get bored with it after a while. And I noticed, that they choose a colour quickly, only because they saw me coming, and they forgot. So when I felt that it becomes a bit lame, then came a bit more complicated tasks, like for example “Now pay attention to one of your mates, a very good friend of yours or somone who you don’t know that well.” or “Now pay attention to someone from the different sex.” etc.”

Quotations from the students “It’s so good, that we can let it out, how we feel.”

“If we are in a bad mood, we always talk about why it is so… For on of the boys, it’s always the Wednesdays”

“Yes, I am always tired on Wednesdays. I have alltogether 10 lessons”.

“So the whole class knows already, that for you, Wednesdays are difficult…”