School A 5/5

What did the researchers say?
During this session we consolidated our ideas and discussed the research whilst participants played with play-doh and created different emotions. Participants discussed how we could move forward to the next stage and what our tool could be, based on the research so far.

Participant 2: A person could draw a comic strip to show how they felt at different times 

Participant 5: I was thinking instead of having a schedule of stopping and starting, they can choose when they want to…They could raise their hand and go over to the calm corner

Participant 5: They can write at the top how long they have been in the sessions so we know what their progress is

Participant 5  They could have an animal template they choose and they get to colour it in a colour they choose and they can make a little library of what they need…there would be lots of different templates for them to use if they wanted to…They could have a key code for the images…The best thing about this idea is that once they have coloured a template they can add more details …you can customise the character to show how you are feeling

Participant 3: You could make a character made out of different coloured play-doh and each colour would be a feeling

Participant 3 : We could just write it (how we felt) just in words or lyrics

Participant 5:  The people who use these could have a lanyard and when you look on it it you see an image and there is a keycode to understand it… a lanyard with a colour dictionary….a dictionary of emotions…A lanyard could even replace behaviour charts. They (teachers) could see how they feel before they did something bad and then help them to stop it

Participant 2: We could create an abstract tool using abstract art to show how you feel. A card in the lanyard could be a piece of abstract art.

Participant 5: We could use a line graph to track emotions and maybe more than one emotion could be tracked on the graph too

Participant 6: Maybe we could each have a book and teachers could check it the way they check our English and Maths – they could check it when we all leave the school and then find out and give you feedback

Participant 5: It could be a sticker book and there would be a page with categories with stickers and you can out stickers on chart

Participant 5: It’s about the amount of colour too. You might like something but not too much of it I like dark – it’s calming but I don’t like to be in too much darkness because then I start to get paranoid

Participant 2:  a wristband that has a QR code and you can register your names and details and it can take you to an app

Participant 5: Each QR code can have its own designated emotion… you can show mixed emotions by scanning several QR codes

Participant 5: I think we should start with basic emotions and then perhaps we could mix colours and make more complex emotions

Participant 5: There’s already a  wristband that scans your blood pressure and that can show if you feel not well or upset.

Participant 2 : I think a lanyard is old fashioned

Participant 6 : We could combine ideas and develop a lanyard or wristband to be more modern and use a QR code

Participant 4:– Maybe people can choose which one they want and we could have 2 versions of the same product

Participant 5 : We could have an app that allows you to customise your own lanyard with a colour key

Participant 2: Maybe the QR code could take you to a website

Participant 4: You could divide up a shape and have different parts as different emotions – like pieces of a pie. So you can have each piece a different colour, or you might have 3 blue pieces and then 1 piece pink and 1 piece yellow if someone is feeling more of the blue.

Participant 6: When we go into class we could put our emotion on the wall and we can change it throughout the day. You can have your name and emotion on the wall and change it after each lesson.

Participant 3: But it’s not a good thing if others know how you feel

Participant 4: You could use a book instead of letting everyone see – then it is more private if you don’t want to show your emotions.


What did the researchers make?

Pic 1-2: Participant 2:“A child can adjust this to show how emotions change – changing the position of the eyebrows makes it look villainous and you can change the mouth too”


Pic 3-4: Participant 2: “This is a shape representing love but the shape can be separated to show the end of love”.

Pic 5: Participant 3:“I have mixed colours together to show mixed emotions”

Pic 6:  Participant 3: “I created a character with a matching symbol for their emotion”

Pic 7 : Participant 1:“I used colours that make me feel happy to create the emotion of ‘happy'”

Pic 8

Pic 9: Participant 5: “The reason why I’m doing my chinchilla is because he passed away on Sunday night” (exploring the emotion ‘sadness’ during the activity)

Pic 10: Participant 4:“I created lots of different emotions, stacking them up because they can be felt at the same time”

Pic 11: Participant 6: “This character is sadness; I’ve used colours that make me sad and shown how his heart is feeling”

Pic 12

Pic 13

Reflection: Key observations and findings
1.This final session really demonstrated the children’s understanding that emotions are complex, especially compared to the first session; children talked about emotions being simultaneous and complex and discussed the problem that this poses for creating a tool to measure emotions.

2. Researchers started to discuss potential tools, these included: comics, exercise books and stickers, graphs, wristbands, lanyards, websites and apps.

3. Researchers started to make connections themselves between the use of a tool and the way that teachers can support children and their wellbeing/behaviour.

4. One student made a very clear case that children may not want to share emotions and that this can be ‘bad’, suggesting an attitude that sharing emotions can make young people vulnerable. This is interesting as it may indicate a problem with creating a tool – assuming students wish to communicate emotions. 

5. Researchers discussed how emotions could be tracked, making reference to noting down times; using a graph or breaking learning/provision into segments.

6. There were several references to ‘customisation’ and making individual tools that are bespoke to individuals.

7. Researchers mentioned the use of abstract art, writing and poetry in conveying emotions.

8. One researcher conveyed an emotion by creating a sculpture of a pet that had recently died. The child personified sadness as a lost object/being – linking his own personal circumstances with emotions. Making the chinchilla and talking about it lead to a group discussion in which students showed sympathy and empathy for the student and the student talked openly about their feelings. This demonstrated the potential the research process has for supporting children to process their own emotions as reflection can allow us to make sense of relationships and childhood experiences (Oliver and Lalik, 2001; Russell, 2016).

9. Students were more confident in this session to reflect on the process and comment on the progress they had made demonstrating that regular opportunities to reflect had increased this skills and developed their ability to engage in reflective discussion (Robson, 2016).