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Jumpstart: What Makes Me Angry - Universal

Jumpstart Universal SEL

CASEL Competency Focus: Self Awareness
Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: Coping Cards, (Included), Phrases Cards (Included), Paper, Crayons/Markers

1. Recognize Anger
2. Identify activities and/or situations that may cause the student to feel angry
3. Identify his/her anger by using a rehearsed phrase (such as "I am angry now.", "I am angry because...")

Definitions of Key Terms:

  • Anger: A strong feeling of being mad or unhappy.
  • Coping Skills: Things or activities that help us calm down when we are angry, frustrated, sad or nervous.
  • Frustrated: An emotion or feeling of being annoyed, especially about something we cannot change.

Lesson Procedures

Introduction: This lesson can be used alone or in conjunction with the Identifying Anger Jumpstart or SEL lesson. Begin the lesson by asking students to volunteer answers about the last time they were angry. What made them angry? What did they do or say when they were angry? Next, poll students by answering the question, “Is being angry okay?” Once answers have been recorded, discuss responses and explain feeling angry is OKAY! It is natural to feel angry from time to time. What is NOT okay is being verbally or physically aggressive towards others. Introduce the concept of anger buttons. Anger buttons are situations or activities that are sure to make us angry. Share examples of your buttons or common buttons (bad drivers, students/children not listening, not being appreciated, memories or traumatic experiences, etc.). Once you have discussed what makes someone angry, introduce the coping skills. Explain coping skills are things or activities that can help us calm down. Review SiLAS’s Coping Skill Cards by clicking here.

Game Time: Say This Not That

Review the concept of anger buttons and the importance of understanding appropriate ways to respond. Introduce example phrases to use when feeling angry using the Example Anger Phrase Cards. Read the phrases below. Have students provide more appropriate responses.

  • You make me so mad!
  • Quit acting like a jerk.
  • I am not doing this dumb assignment.


This activity will help students to express how their body feels when they are angry through the use of art. Allowing students the opportunity to communicate how anger feels and what it looks like assists students in talking about and handling anger. Provide students with paper and crayons/markers. Instruct the class to close their eyes and visualize or create a picture in their minds of what anger looks like to them. Encourage students to create a piece of art using the images they see in their head. Repeat there are NO wrong answers. Pieces can be abstract or actual pictures/symbols. Hang the artwork around the class and allow students to take a gallery walk and view others’ work. For secondary, have students write a brief paragraph explaining their artwork.

Try it out!

This lesson’s try it out is for educators! Our reaction to a child’s behavior can either escalate or de-escalate the situation. Consider using the following phrases to use with students when they become angry or frustrated.

  • I see you are upset.
  • What do you need to calm down?
  • Let’s practice…(coping skill).
  • It is okay to be angry.