By Activity Bank on Oct 10, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Since students who are blind cannot see facial expressions, they miss many nonverbal cues to how people around them are feeling. They can learn to distinguish these emotions in other ways (tone of voice, etc.) but they will most likely need help learning to label and identify various emotions. This activity helps students to identify emotions while role-playing different feelings. Lessons include English Language Arts, Concept Development, and Social Skills.


Word or picture cards depicting various emotions; this activity can also be done without special materials.


  • Have the students take turns role-playing different feelings while others guess that emotion they are trying to convey. Students can decide what feeling they would like to act out or they can choose a card with the word or picture on it. It may be more appropriate in some situations for the teacher to do the acting.
  • Students may not be familiar with the names of some of the more abstract emotions, but they might be able to describe how the person is feeling. (“Guilt” may not be a familiar word, but students might say, “She feels bad that she did that.”) Feelings to act out include:
    • Happiness
    • Surprise
    • Sadness
    • Jealousy
    • Anger
    • Guilt
    • Frustration
    • Shyness
    • Fear
    • Anxiety
    • Love
    • Loneliness
    • Hatred
    • Apathy
    • Empathy
    • Self-pity
    • Desire
    • Pride
    • Embarrassment
    • Compassion


  • Describe a situation, without acting out any response, and ask the students to guess how the person would feel; for example, your grandmother just died, or you learned to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Discuss appropriate ways to express these emotions. Talk about different ways to react to someone who is feeling a certain way.

Hint: Label your feelings and help the students to identify their own emotions during the course of the day.