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These PK-12 lesson plan ideas on emotions, expressions, and reactions yield altruistic activity in various subject areas and grades


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Math, P.E. & Health, Science, Social Studies  


PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  

Title – Academic and Altruistic Lessons for all Subject/Grade Levels
By – Teacherplanner
Primary Subject – Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Computers & Internet
Secondary Subjects – 
Grade Level – PreK-5 with modifications


  • Here is a list of PK-12 lesson plan ideas on emotions, expressions and reactions that are appropriate to various subject areas, modifiable by grade.
  • Please be sure that these ideas fit within school and district policies before continuing.

Feelings Language Arts Flash Card Activity:

      Grades: PK-5

        Make cards with facial expressions such as a smile, frown, puzzled/worried look, crying eyes, laughing mouth, joyful/excited expression, raised eyebrows, etc. with an appropriate word (pleased, unhappy, confused, sad, happy…) for each on the back.



    • Make flash cards with feeling/emotion words on back and expressions on front
    • Quiz class with the flash cards
    • Have students quiz each other in partner and group settings

Make Someone’s Day Journal activity:


      • Write category labels on the board in columns – have a column for family, friends, various professions, community members, etc.
      • Discuss ” How can you make someone’s day? ” for each category.
      • Write student ideas under each label.
      • Have students take out daily journal with prompt being the same:
        • How can you make someone’s day?
        • Choose one thing from the board, go help someone with it, and keep what you did a secret.
        • Would you do this again?
        • What did the person who you helped do when you helped them?
        • How did that make you feel?
      • This can be a daily journal activity or a weekly one depending on the scope of the ideas shared in the columns on the board and how difficult/easy they would be to carry out.


      Grades K-2:

      • Instruct students to choose an expression, draw it, and write one or two sentences relating to the “How can you make someone’s day? How can you make someone happy?” prompt.


      Grades 3-8:

      • Ask for more details such as adding a drawing, a feeling word, the idea from the board and how it made the person feel, how it made the student feel who helped, and what they could do next time they helped someone.
      • If you want the student to keep what they did a secret, just ask for the expressions and feeling word/statement from the student, the feeling word/expression that the person being helped showed, and if they would do something to help someone again – why or why not.


    Grades 9-12:

    • High school students can do this activity too without the brainstorming part. Have them react to current events around them in class, in the community, or in the world
    • actions of celebrities in pop culture or in history
    • cultural events
    • trips they took/experiences they’ve had
    • reactions to novels/poetry/plays/theater, etc.

Current Events Discussion Activity:

      Grades K-5:

      • Have students discuss daily classroom events and the scope of feeling words/expressions they would use to describe them.


      Grades 6-8:

      • Discuss the expressions and feeling words used in various customs around the world and in different regions and countries.
      • Have students develop appropriate cultural skits based on these customs, act them out when appropriate, and discuss their impact (appropriate for history, geography, and other classes).


    Grades 7-12:

      Show concerts/festival videos, artwork, plays, historical events, etc. and have students discuss the feeling words/expressions associated with them and the impact they had on people involved (appropriate for fine arts, English, history, foreign language, and other classes where appropriate)

Positive Action Math Activities:


        Have students solve math problems and use the answer for a positive good


      Positive Action Bingo Activity 1:

      • Choose how many problems to give each student,
        i.e. 20 students with 5 problems each would equal 100 problems in all.
      • Create a list of math problems or select them from the class book
        (young kids: 2+2 / older kids: t-12 = 8 t=20).
      • Create or find the answer key for those problems.
      • Make a bingo grid with the number of squares needed. For this example, you would need 100 squares for 20 students at 5 problems each.
      • Put one answer from your answer key in each square.
      • Make up age-appropriate actions (things to do to help other) for each number (1-100) and place one action statement with each of the numbers. Examples:
        • help a classmate with a math problem
        • put the pencils in the jar when all are finished with them
        • collect the math books
        • erase the board
        • write the next problem on the board
        • take a piece of candy from our party to ____
        • help in the school office during part of the next class (if prior permission is given by your principal)
        • clean up the playcorner (for younger kids)
        • collect the homework and put it on teacher’s desk, etc.
        • anything nice around the school community or at home so that when the student gets the answer to a problem, he/she finds the square with that number and the action to do from that same square.


          Be sure the small positive action chosen is one each student can accomplish before picking it to do for others and that the school district/community/handbooks allow it. Get permission from building principal before planning begins!

        Grades PK-5:

          Limit positive actions to accomplishable tasks around the classroom or school.

        Grades 6-8:

          Take kids somewhere and do good with the answer as a class and/or as small groups/individuals.

        Grades 9-12:

          Encourage a pay-it-forward action

          • talk about how things can multiply – give multiplication problems within math
          • take answer and get that many people to “pay a good act forward” – if the answer is five, do something small and positive for five people and provide a typed anonymous note to each that says “if this helped you, do the same for two other people!
          • teacher explains exponential growth – two people do the same for two people, those two people do the same for two other people, and show students by diagram how this multiplies the idea


    Word Problem Fundraising Activity 2:

    • First receive permission from the school district administrator in charge of charitable activity and any others designated in school/teacher handbook.
    • Give the class a word problem on Mondays and a goal to raise the amount of change equal to the answer that week for a specific charity. Put money in class collection jar and give to charity at the end of the month. Examples:
      • Add the number of legs on a cow, chicken, human, spider, and octopus. Have them take the total number of legs and try to collect that number of dimes, pennies, or nickels that week, drop the coins in the jar, and donate the money in a manner required by the school and the charity you are donating to.
      • Add up the worth of 5 pennies, 5 nickels, five dimes, and a quarter – What’s your number? You can have them write the answer in the correct format, identify each coin by name and value, count with teacher or alone or in groups. They then collect the amount equal to the answer for each person or a pair of students, bring in the amount, drop into jar etc.
    • At the end of each, you can count the total amount in the jar as a class, having students identify the value of each coin/bill as you hold it up. A student can write the value of each coin on board and the class can total the amount or individuals can find the total on a piece of paper, holding up their answer for the teacher. Those who are right with the total receive a sticker, small prize, piece of candy, extra points on homework/project/quiz/test, or other positive and unexpected privileges.


        Store the donation jar in a safe place during and after each class meeting. Document the totals each time in a small notebook and add up the final amount or have class help you do so by making it another word problem for them to solve.

Science Activities to Encourage Positive Actions:


    • Demonstrate how chemical reactions happen in labs and explain how chemical reactions also happen in cooking, in the environment, at home, etc.

      Cooking Example:

      • Cook a recipe and discuss it’s reactions such as the yeast rising in bread or temperature changes in candy (high school only due to high heat)
      • melting chocolate (middle school)
      • simple hot and cold (elementary)

      Environmental Example:

      • Show how hot and cold temperatures affect rising/sinking of air and >expansion/contraction of objects in the environment.
      • Show a film on how recycling works.
    • Then have students do something positive related to the lesson that will cause a positive reaction.

      Cooking Example:

      • The bread/candy made could be distributed to others in the building and students could report the reaction of the recipients (You made my day, I’m going to give this to my daughter, I’m going to share this with…)

      Environmental Example:

      • Talk about recycling and start recycling bin in classroom for kids to deposit things into.
      • Make sure they understand the process and what can be recycled etc.

PE/Health Ideas Encouraging Positive Actions:


    • Discuss how helping others is good for your health and theirs
    • Show videos of famous athletes/sportspersons giving back and have students discuss the impact of this activity. Plan something small and similar the students can do for their community such as:
      • Getting a sponsor for them to walk laps and for each lap a certain amount of money gets donated to a particular charity or a product per lap is donated such as a can of food per lap donated to local food bank by sponsor or school
      • Every time a school team wins, the school provides a product or pays for one to be donated somewhere, for example, if the football team wins, the school donates a textbook to a needy school district, a lunch/meal to a student, a piece of technology, a notebook, a can of food to a food bank, etc.
    • PE students create video tapes on a subject area they are studying and give it to a health education center in the community such as: the effects of cigarettes on health.
      • Students can create a video tape project of a skit, narrative, mock news program/broadcast, write a mock newspaper article or real one with permission from a local newspaper to educate community members.
      • The project, once graded, is submitted to a health education center, other health organization.
      • Note: a teacher introduction at the beginning of the video/news broadcast/newspaper article about what students are studying and what the goal is could be appropriate.
    • The teacher could assign a project where students are to change one bad health habit into a good one (age appropriate of course) and document the progress and how they accomplished it. Then, student could write a brief narrative on how they changed their lifestyle to be shared with others after it’s graded (without student name or identifying info).
      • Each time a person passes a fitness test, that student could be rewarded with a healthy treat they like. They can choose it from healthy cafeteria choices for free or they could get a free lunch with school permission.
      • Students are permitted to select one favorite sport, and to teach the class about how to play it when they are able to successfully change a negative behavior to a health habit discussed in their book
      • Young children taught about “getting the colors of the rainbow on their plate” are encouraged to count the number of colors per meal during the week and write it down, add them up, and give their color total at the end of the week. If the number is good, they get a box of crayons with which they can draw a picture card greeting for someone. The cards are distributed at the end of the month to the people the child chooses. Those who do not receive crayons could write a story or poem about a food on their plate, where to get it, and why it’s good for them. This way, all get to be creative, learn, and participate even if they didn’t get crayons.
      • Lesson should be more advanced for MS/HS students with more advanced nutritional facts, information about making good choices and why good health is good for the body. They can start collecting nutritional information from packages and then do internet research. Then assign them to design a creative project (video/hall posters/letters/skits/3-D MyPyramid etc.) associated with nutrition that can help others make good food choices.

Computers and Internet related Positive Action Ideas:


    • Use computers and the Internet to do research for any of the above ideas.
    • Discuss ways to volunteer:
      • Ways to locate volunteer activities online
      • Ways to check to see if the charity is legitimate before donating or signing up to help
    • Discuss strategies and ideas that allow students to do volunteer projects on computers or online to help others use computers, the Internet, etc. during class time with teacher supervision and school approval.
      • For instance; a student could volunteer (at a community library or elderly facility) to type up something for someone who doesn’t know how to use a computer, find out something online and give someone the needed information, create resource lists on a computer and distribute them to people who need them, etc.
      • Have student propose volunteer idea by writing a proposal with the computer, have it teacher-school approved, go out into community and carry out project to help individuals-groups in need
      • Write report about the project experience, how it went and how it helped and submit it or give speaking or video report in class
      • Hold class discussion about how the computer/internet helped them and made things easier and how they think they could have carried out the project without the computer/internet
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