SPARKLERS / Managing emotions

Emotions in Motion

A video-making activity that helps Year 7 and 8 tamariki to learn about managing big emotions, and teach others. Tamariki expertise!
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Print me

You will need to print each group a set of storyboard worksheets.

Why we love it

This activity helps tamariki learn to regulate their big emotions.

It includes :

  • endorsing strategies they may already be using
  • researching and learning other strategies; and
  • then conveying this information to others, to help embed the learning.

We encourage the videos being created for the use of younger children in your school. This helps externalise any issues tamariki creating the videos may have, while helping them develop empathy for others who find it difficult to stay calm.


Let tamariki know that sometimes emotions can be big and tricky to manage. Ask them for some examples of these types of emotions e.g. disappointment, sadness, anger, worry.

  • Ask what things can help when they feel angry; write them up on the board
  • What about when they’re sad?
  • What about worried?
  • How about disappointed?

If unhelpful coping mechanisms are raised (e.g. hitting my brother, or breaking things), ask them how they feel when others’ over-react or lose control due to big emotions. This will help them build empathy. Ask what they could do instead?

Let tamariki know that we don’t always know the best way to manage big emotions, and this is their opportunity to teach the world! Well, at least perhaps the younger students at your school.

Say you’ve looked at some YouTube clips (we actually have!) and there are some great and awful examples of how to manage big emotions, but you think they could create better ones. And that’s the aim of this activity!

What to do

Tamariki may be excited, but making a video takes a lot of planning before they can get underway.

Let tamariki know that the best way to ‘design’ great videos is to plan them like a science experiment. They need to know their goal, think about their audience and come up with a plan of attack, before they begin.

Give each student a handout and ask them to start filling this out, as you talk through it.


  • Explain you’ve noticed some of the younger tamariki at school sometimes struggle with big emotions – your students may have noticed this too. Let them talk about what they’ve noticed, but be mindful to be respectful – younger tamariki are still learning the things these older tamariki already know!
  • The students may also be able to reflect on how they ‘used to’ behave when they were frustrated or angry and talk about this too.
  • So the video is for the younger tamariki – ages 5-8. This is their AUDIENCE! Write this up on the board.


  • The aim is to create a short video (2-5 minutes) about managing a big emotion. Reiterate that the video needs to include strategies that help us to deal with big emotions, rather than just be about a big emotion!
  • And the video is for use in the classrooms of these younger tamariki and perhaps school assembly (and we’d LOVE to see them at All Right? too – we may even upload to Sparklers as fantastic examples, or use them in our training seminars!)

Tamariki can work in groups of 4 or 5, but no more than 6. Ask them to form their groups before moving on to the next instructions.

  • Drawing upon the kōrero, ask tamariki to choose an emotion on which they will centre their video. If this is difficult you can allocate any of the following – it won’t matter if more than one group is doing a topic, they’ll each have different and important things to say.
    • Angry
    • Worried or anxious
    • Stressed
    • Left out or lonely
    • Over-excited
    • Shamed/whakama
  • While in the film industry there are many different ‘roles’, it’s important that tamariki use their strengths to get the video made – some will be better at script writing, some may want to be actors or narrators, they might want to have turns directing. Because their film ‘crew’ is small they will probably need to play more than one role – which is often how it is in small budget films!
  • An important choice is the style of video they want to create. They may choose from many options including - animation, talk to camera, interviews, humorous, picture videos, puppets – just let their imagination lead the way!
  • Sometimes it’s good to let tamariki know some tips for ‘talking about emotions’. Some younger tamariki respond well to emotions as colours e.g. anger is whero (red), calm is mā (white) or perhaps use other familiar languages – Māori, Samoan, Tongan if you think that will help younger tamariki ‘open up’ about their feelings or work through big emotions e.g. using my kaha (strength).

You may need to include a few little mantras to get the videos made:

  1. Stay on topic.
  2. Research and plan first.
  3. Listen to each other.
  4. Work as a team.

The storyboard depicts each camera ‘shot’. It’s important this is marked out so tamariki keep organised, on task and remember props and costumes they may need to make or bring along.

Set tamariki up to start their research and begin their storyboards.

We recommend having ‘Creative Meetings’ daily with all tamariki or each group to ‘report’ how they’re getting on – let tamariki know this and give them the ‘deadline’ for their video being completed (perhaps a week and they work on it each day).

Also say that you’re the Broadcasting Authority and have overall control, so if there’s any aspect you need them to ‘move forward’ on, you can make that decision for them, or edit material as you see necessary.


Tamariki can use whatever recording equipment you have available – iPads will work fine and generally tamariki are very used to the video editing apps available. Our motto – make the tech as simple as possible for everyone!

If tamariki agree, we suggest you celebrate the videos – inviting parents and the principal in (popcorn perhaps!) sharing them over the next few assemblies, add them to your school website, share with whānau using Seesaw or however you communicate digitally. Oh, and did we mention sending them to us too?! We would especially love to see their work - contact us directly!

What Next?

Tamariki may want to know if their videos have had any impact. They could create a survey for the younger tamariki to fill-in, and perhaps interview teachers of the younger tamariki to see what they’ve noticed.

Ask tamariki what they’d do differently next time and ensure this is added to their (and your) notes – please also send this to us via the feedback form and we can make changes and thank your insightful tamariki.

If you do this activity earlier in the year, you could recreate it in the later part of the year using either new emotions or your school values.

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