by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help us to become aware of our moods.
Preparation and materials
- You will need three large shapes and a board to stick them on:
- a purple, spiky shape for angry words
- an orange or yellow sun shape for happy words
- a grey, raindrop shape for sad words
- You will also need a selection of adjectives on pieces of paper to stick onto the appropriate shapes.
- For the spiky shape, use adjectives such as ‘angry’, ‘mad’ and ‘bad-tempered’.
- For the sun shape, use adjectives such as ‘happy’, ‘cheerful’ and ‘excited’.
- For the raindrop shape, use adjectives such as ‘sad’, ‘lonely’ and ‘anxious’.
- Optional: you may wish to display the poem ‘Sometimes’, which is used in the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly.
- If you have a small group or class, this step can be used as a circle time game. For a larger assembly, you may simply want to ask questions and ask the children to indicate their response by a show of hands.
Explain that you are going to make certain statements. If the statement is true of a child, that child has to change seats with someone else who is on the move. For example, all those with brown eyes, all those who like cabbage, all those who are good at problem-solving, all those who have long hair, all boys and so on.
- Identify that some things about us are the same and some things are different.
It was easy to see the things that we just discussed because we moved or put up our hands in response, and some of them were just plain obvious.
It can be easy to see how we are alike, but there are other times when it is not so easy.
- Ask the children, ‘Is it easy to know how someone is feeling?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Point out that we often don’t know whether someone has a headache or is feeling sad simply by looking at them. We have no idea whether another friend is sad this morning because she had an argument with her mum before school or because her cat is sick. We probably can’t tell whether the people sitting near us are angry or happy.
- Show the three coloured shapes.
Explain that you have some ‘feelings’ words that you want to stick onto the appropriate shapes. Invite some volunteers to come forward to place the words on the appropriate shape. You may wish to encourage discussion before the word is added.
- Next, invite some volunteers to come to the front and write or stick their names onto one of the coloured shapes. Please be sensitive: it may be better to include teachers who could give a reason why they feel a bit sad or grumpy today!
- Point out that some people are feeling grumpy today – but they’re not always like that. After a good sleep, they may arrive in school tomorrow morning feeling wonderful!
Identify that we can all experience a mixture of different moods even within a day. People who were feeling sad in the morning might feel great after they have eaten their lunch.
- Most of us like the more positive moods. These are the cheery ones that make us easy to be around. We can make others happy when we are in these moods.
Most of us don’t like the sad and grumpy moods. These are the ones that make us difficult to be around. We can make others sad when we are in these moods.
However, we will all experience all of these moods, perhaps even today. Just like the weather and the clouds, we are constantly changing.
- Explain the following to the children.
- It’s OK to get angry at times. Everyone gets angry at times.
- It’s OK to feel sad at times. Everyone feels sad at times.
- It’s OK to feel worried at times. Everyone feels anxious at times.
You could test this theory by asking for a show of hands in response to the following questions.
- Who has felt excited today already?
- Who has felt sad today already?
- Who has felt angry today already?
- Has anyone felt all three?
- Christians believe that one thing that will never change, even though our moods might, is that we are always loved by God. Christians believe that God knows us and loves us just as we are, and that God is always there to share our moods with us.
Time for reflection
Optional: show the poem ‘Sometimes’.
Ask the children to listen to the following poem.
Sometimes by Janice Ross
Sometimes I’m quiet
Like a curled-up cat,
Peaceful and content
On the fireside mat.
Sometimes I’m noisy
With a rat-a-tat-tat
And a bang of my drums.
Will you listen to that?
Sometimes I’m naughty.
I chuckle and laugh
At those who trip over
Or forget their lunch.
Sometimes I’m kind
As I know I should be,
Helpful and thoughtful
When you come for tea.
Sometimes I’m mad,
Or dreamy, or sad,
Or anxious, or shy:
I might even cry.
Sometimes my face
Is black like thunder.
How will you find me today,
We thank you that you know us well.
Thank you that you rejoice with us when we are happy and that you are sad when we are upset and hurt.
Thank you that you understand our moods and that you love us always.
‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)