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Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Emotions
Ages: 6-10   Grades: 1-5

Students move beyond the black-and-white representation of feelings to a world of richer experiences and expression with the activities in this book.


  • Develop age-appropriate social language and interaction skills
  • Improve self-esteem and learn to make friends
  • Interact successfully in the classroom
  • Recognize and understand basic emotions
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

The activity pages consist of interesting graphic organizers, photos, and art supported with specific, clear directions.  Students learn to: 

  • recognize and understand emotions
  • express emotions 
  • learn the importance of controlling emotions
  • deal with bullying 
  • think about how their actions affect others' emotions

These learning strategies are used to help students express themselves more clearly and respond more appropriately to situations:   

  • direct instruction
  • modeling
  • observation
  • discussion
  • role-playing
  • other guided practice

Extra helps include:

  • pretest/posttest
  • skills inventory
  • emotional behaviors checklist
  • answer key

You may purchase Emotions individually or as a 6-book set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Conversations
Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Emotions
Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Making Friends
Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Making Social Inferences
Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Nonverbal Language
Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Predicting Consequences


Copyright © 2009

40 pages, pretest/posttest, skills inventory, emotional behaviors checklist, answer key
  • Children with language difficulties, particularly those with pragmatic impairments, need specific teaching to help social understanding (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Research has established the reciprocal relationship between language skill and social acceptability among peers (Gallagher, 1993).
  • The abilities to adjust messages to listeners' needs, initiate conversation successfully, ask appropriate questions, contribute well to ongoing conversations, communicate intentions clearly, address everyone when joining a group, and make more positive than negative comments are related to peer acceptance and sociometric status (Putallaz & Gottman, 1981; Rubin, LeMare, & Lollis, 1990; Gallagher, 1993).
  • Conversation partners require skills in both verbal and nonverbal interactive behaviors (Sillars, 1991).
  • Social skills intervention can improve children's social cognitive skills (Timler, Olswang, & Coggins, 2005).
  • Targeted language intervention with at-risk students may result in more cautionary, socially acceptable behaviors (Moore-Brown, Sanger, Montgomery, & Nishida, 2002).
  • Only 7% of the information we communicate to others depends upon the words we say; 93% depends on nonverbal communication (Mehrabian, 1971).
  • Students with language disorders often perform much like younger, typically-developing students on measures of pragmatic development (Lapadat, 1991).
  • Social and emotional development lay the foundation for later success in school, work, and life.  Addressing students' social and emotional needs also increases their capacity to learn (Franklin, 2008).
  • Language facility is a key component of social competence (Gallagher, 1991; Guralnick, 1992).

Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Emotions incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Franklin, J. (2008, January 29). Social and emotional learning: Educating the whole child. Southern Illinoisan. Retrieved February 7, 2008, from 

Gallagher, T. (1991). Language and social skills: Implications for clinical assessment and intervention with school-age children. In T. Gallagher (Ed.), Pragmatics of language: Clinical practice issues. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group.

Gallagher, T. (1993). Language skill and the development of social competence in school-age children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 199-205.

Guralnick, M. (1992). A hierarchical model for understanding children's peer-related social competence. In S. Odom, S. McConnell, & M. McEvoy (Eds.), Social competence of young children with disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Lapadat, J.D. (1991). Pragmatic language skills of students with language and/or learning disabilities: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 24, 147-158.

Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Moore-Brown, B., Sanger, D., Montgomery, J., & Nishida, B. (2002, April 30). Communication and violence: New roles for speech-language pathologists. The ASHA Leader, 7, 4-14.

Putallaz, M., & Gottman, J. (1981). An interactional model of children's entry into peer groups. Child Development, 52,

Rubin, K., LeMare, L., & Lollis, S. (1990). Social withdrawal in childhood: Developmental pathways to peer rejection. In S. Asher & J. Coie (Eds.), Peer rejection in childhood. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Sillars, A.L. (1991). Behavior observation. In B.M. Montgomery & S. Duck (Eds.), Studying interpersonal interaction. New York: Guilford Press.

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.

Timler, G., Olswang, L., & Coggins, T. (2005). "Do I know what I need to do?" Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 73-85.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Paul F. Johnson


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.A., CCC-SLP, wrote and edited products and tests for LinguiSystems for 25 years, incorporating her previous experience as an SLP in school and clinic settings.  She is now retired and savoring time with her family, friends, and hobbies.

Paul F. Johnson, B.A., is a writer and editor at LinguiSystems.  He has a special interest in developing thinking and communication skills in students of all ages.  He also enjoys music, cooking, gardening, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Carolyn and Paul have collaborated to develop several publications, including Story Comprehension To Go, No-Glamour Sequencing Cards, and Spotlight on Reading & Listening Comprehension.


Age-appropriate social skills are essential for students to get along well with their peers and to foster strong self-esteem.  Social skills are rarely taught directly as a school subject, and most students gradually master social skills without formal instruction.  Those who fail to infer expectations and "rules" from personal interactions with others are at risk for being criticized by their peers or, worse, ignored.  Students on the autism spectrum are particularly at risk for poor social skills due to the nature of the disorder; many students with language and/or learning disabilities are also at risk.

The activities in Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary highlight specific aspects of social skills and include strategies of direct instruction, modeling, observation, discussion, role-playing, and other guided practice in contexts of everyday interaction.  These activities can be presented to individual students or small groups of students.  Small groups are preferred because they expose students to their peers' perspectives and offer a safe setting for practicing social skills.

For an overview of a student's social skills functioning, administer the Social Language Development Test Elementary (Bowers, Huisingh, & LoGiudice, 2008).  Use the pretest/posttest to check the student's awareness and functioning in the appropriate area addressed by one of the six books in Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary:

  • Conversations
  • Emotions  
  • Making Friends
  • Making Social Inferences
  • Nonverbal Language          
  • Predicting Consequences

So much of our language is related to emotions.  We accuse some people of being "ruled by their emotions" or being "too emotional."  We ask students to "get a handle on their emotions" or find ourselves in emotionally-charged situations.  For many students with special needs, though, the nuances of emotions in language and communication are a mystery.  The goal of Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Emotions is to help you expand the language and communication palettes of your students and to help guide them in expressing themselves more clearly and responding to situations more appropriately.

Many students see the world of emotions as simply feeling "good" or "bad."  This book aims to take your students beyond that black-and-white representation of feelings to a world of richer experiences and expression.  The first step on that journey is to simply understand the vocabulary of emotions, and the activities in this book provide a wide variety of practice with a core group of basic emotions.  Here are the other objectives of this book:

  • recognize and express behaviors and emotions
  • explore the association of emotions and actions
  • understand emotions and practice expression through simple games
  • learn the importance of controlling emotions
  • use strategies to deal with bullying
  • recognize others' emotional states
  • learn how actions affect others' emotions
  • discover how emotional states can change through narrative stories

Here are some tips to conduct emotions training with your students:

  • Model exaggerated, inappropriate emotional states with your students to show the importance of appropriately expressing emotions in everyday communication.  For example, slouch your body, frown, speak slowly, and look down at the ground while communicating a message of excitement.  You might gloomily say, "I'm so excited about my birthday party this weekend.  (Sigh.)  There will probably be cake and presents, and it will be a lot of fun.  I can't wait. "  Ask your students to explain the inconsistencies between your tone of voice and your actions and your intended message.
  • Do a daily "Emotion Check" before each session.  Hold up one of the game cards on page 19.  Ask students to relate an experience they've had since your last meeting that matches the emotion.  For example, "Did your mom cook something that surprised you?  Did anyone visit you?  Did you watch something on TV that was surprising?"
  • Section a bulletin board into basic emotions (happy, sad, scared, angry, surprised, bored) or create six sections on poster board.  Have students cut out pictures from magazines or print pictures from the Internet that express the emotions and attach them to the bulletin board or poster.  When you have collected emotions in various situations, examine the pictures for the reasons each emotion is being experienced.  Ask questions, such as What is happening in this picture that might be making her happy?
  • Reducing impulsivity and exhibiting self-control is difficult for many students.  Because they are often attuned to only their own self-interests in the outcome of situations, they react inappropriately or with anger in situations that do not merit such outbursts.  A missing pencil or lost book can trigger a major tantrum.  Give your students strategies to delay immediate outbursts (counting, taking deep breaths, visualizing something peaceful, mentally singing a special song, or reciting a phrase).  Practice these strategies often and in a variety of situations. Say, "Let's imagine it's lunchtime.  You've just sat down and are ready to eat your lunch, but you don't have a fork.  That makes you angry.  What should you do?"  (A student names a strategy for self-control.)  "Good.  Let's do it together."  (Use the strategy.)  "Now what should you do?  Right, get up and get yourself a fork."  It's important to provide students with calming strategies and to stress that most problems can be easily solved when you are not emotionally distressed.

We hope you and your students enjoy Spotlight on Social Skills Elementary Emotions!

Carolyn and Paul