Skip to main content

Curriculum | Resources | Workshops | Activities | About Us

Using Words to Work Things Out 

Created by: Janel Vitai, Keith Rosellini, Nicolas DiNuzzo
Type of Lesson: Diversity Lesson
Grade Level: Kindergarten
Length of Lesson: 60 minutes
Group Size: 6 or more students

  1. Objective

    After reading the book, Words are not for hurting, performing the puppet show, and through discussion on using words to work things out, the students will be able to participate in a discussion about feelings, and complete their "emotion masks" using the emotions happy and sad with success.

  2. Pennsylvania Department of Education Indicators

    1. Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening.

      1.1 Learning to Read Independently

      Pre K-K

      A)Identify the purpose of a specific text

      D) Use self monitoring comprehension strategies

      G) Differentiate between fiction and non-fiction

      -Describe what story is about.

      -Connect information or ideas in a story to real life events using key words in the story.

      -Ask relevant questions and make thoughtful comments about a story

      -Identify essential information from illustrations or text read.

    2. PA Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities:

      9.1 Production, Performance, and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts

      9.1.3 Demonstrate the ability to define objects, express emotions, illustrate an action or relate an experience through creation of work in the arts

      10.3 Safety and Injury Prevention

      10.3.3 Recognize conflict situations and identify strategies to avoid or resolve.

      -adult intervention

  3. Materials

    Book- Verdick, Elizabeth. Words are not for hurting. (2004) Free Spirit Publishing.

    • table to set stage on (to be done before the lesson)

    • name tags

    • paper plates

    • glue sticks

    • crayons

    • craft sticks

    • craft eyes

    • foam craft sheets/ felt sheets- already cut into squares and ready for the children.

    • colored yarn

    • scissors

  4. Adaptations and Accommodations

    Students needing visual ACCOMMODATIONS will be placed in the front of the carpet and desk space close to the teachers and visual materials.

  5. Procedure


    1. The children will sit on the carpet in the center of the room.

    2. One teacher will hand out the name tags while the others review the rules for the classroom: Rules for good listeners, Rules for good speakers.

    INTRODUCE: Through a group discussion on using words to work things out along with feelings, conflict, and positive resolution, questions are asked to determine what the student's prior knowledge of the subject may


    1. When you hear the word, "feelings", what do you think of?

    2. What are feelings?

    3. Describe some feelings you've felt today.

    4. Has someone ever made you feel sad by what they said to you?

    5. Has someone ever made you feel happy by what they said to you?

    6. What does it mean to work things out with words?


    1. Teacher will read the book, Words are not for hurting.

    2. During the reading of the book, students will be asked questions and the book will become an interactive learning medium. The first page of the book opens up with the question, "Who listens when you talk?" This question engages the students in the book from the beginning. The book also asks, "How do you use your words?", "What do hurtful words do?", and explains that "I'm sorry" are essential words when hurting someone's feelings.

    3. At the completion of the book, questions will be asked about how to prevent an argument and how to work disagreements out with their words. We will also discuss what wrong things to do in a disagreement are.

    4. TRANSITION: Next, the students will be asked to turn around but stay on the carpet area and the place they were sitting. They will turn around to face the table for the puppet show.

    5. Nick and Keith will be in place behind the desk and start the show.

    6. The puppet show will begin using skits to promote discussion about conflict resolution. The puppet's names are Michael and Dorothy. Janel is also involved in the skit along with the students. The purpose of the skit is to show a concrete example on how to work things out with words. (Skits displayed on attachment)

    7. During the skit, the students will be asked what could be done to help solve the disagreement or what would make the puppet Michael feel happy again. We will also discuss what Dorothy did to hurt Michael's feelings.

    . 8. During the puppet show, helpers will get the art supplies set up for the students if need be, and be prepared to assist in the emotion mask creation.

    9. TRANSITION: After the completion of the puppet show, the students will then be taken two by two to the desks in the room.

    10. At this time, introduction to the art project will take place

    A) The students will be told that they can make one mask choosing from two emotions: happy and sad.

    B) Example masks are to be shown. (Happy and sad)

    11. Directions for the mask creation:

    A) Students will first write their name on the back of the paper


    B) Glue the eyes on with the glue sticks.

    C) They will then create their face using the art materials that are

    set up in the cups at their tables.

    D) Use the felt shapes to help create the face.

    E) Use the glue stick to lay the hair down on the masks. The yarn and feathers are to be used for the hair.

    F) Using any of the other decorative items, the students are to complete their emotion masks.

    G) At the completion of the project, the helpers are to help glue the craft sticks at the bottom of the mask from the back.

    12. TRANSITION: The students will then be taken back to the carpet area and told to sit down with their masks.

    13. A teacher will give the following scenarios that the children can interact with using their masks:

    A) If someone pushes you, how do you feel? (Students are to raise their sad masks)

    B) If someone tells you how nice you look today, how do you feel? (Happy masks are to be displayed)

    C) If someone says mean words to you, how do you feel?

    D) How did this lesson make you feel today? (Hopefully, happy!)

    14. The students will be given a treat for Halloween to take home and eat or to eat at Mrs. Vistein's discretion.


    The students will be assessed based on observation, discussion, and participation throughout the lesson. The students will also be assessed on how well they understand their mask's emotion and the creation of the masks. The students will also be assessed on how they helped the puppets work things out with words,


    Share the emotion masks with the family and give them an example of why you made your mask happy or sad. We will also tell the students to use their words in an argument and never resort to force.


    The students will be reminded to use their words to work out problems and to never use your hands as a solution.


    Reflection of this lesson will be based on feedback from the University students, Mrs. Vistein, and Dr. Revilla. Reflection will also be on the success of the props and projects used in the lesson.


    Verdick, Elizabeth. (2004). Words are not for hurting. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.