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GO BACK All Goal Posters THIS SKILL Nonverbal Communication THIS GOAL Understanding Body Language

Understanding Body Language

A large amount of communication and emotion are represented through body language. Learners will begin to collect the visual clues perceived in someone’s posture, arms, hands, and leg movements to determine their intentions and feelings.

Preview an SEL skills lesson: Understanding Body Language

1 Show the video to your students

Narrator: Welcome to Act It Out!, a role playing game where we act out different social situations. This video focuses on body language, how what our bodies are doing can affect the messages we send to other people. Each video has two characters, so before each round, you can pick two people to act out the scene and assign them to Person A and Person B.

 

We’ll give you the scenario to role play, and let you know how each character is feeling. The rest of the group can rate the actors based on their performance. How did their actions match up with the emotions they were supposed to feel?

 

After the role play is finished, we’ll show this icon, and we can discuss how everyone is feeling. What happened in the scene? Did emotions change from the beginning of the scene to the end? Let’s get started! 

 

In this scenario, Matt wants to talk to Christine. Christine is busy but wants to show Matt she’s listening and cares about what he has to say. While you’re watching, think about how to listen with your entire body.

 

Matt: Hey, Christine, do you have a second?

 

Christine: Sure. What’s up?

 

Matt: I wanted to talk to you about the project.

 

Christine: Is everything okay?

 

Matt: I think my part is too much work and I need some help on it.

 

Christine: Let’s talk to the group about it. 

 

Now get ready to role play! Choose who is going to be Person A and Person B. Remember the Scenario. Person A comes up to person B with a problem to talk about. You can use our problem, a class project, or come up with your own. Person B wants to show person A that they are listening. They face Person A with their body, make eye contact, and use a sincere tone of voice. 

 

Now it’s time to rate the role playing. How did it go? Let’s rate Person A. How did they let person B know they had something important to talk about? How did they explain their problem? What would you give them out of five stars? 

 

How about Person B? Did they turn their bodies to face person A? Did they make eye contact? What would you give them out of five stars? 

 

Great job role playing! 

 

In this scenario, Mike wants to tell Serena about his new job. Serena says she’s interested, but then starts texting while Mike is talking. While you’re watching, think about how Mike feels after Serena starts texting. How does his voice and body language change?

 

Mike: So, what are you doing over vacation?

 

Serena: I still have basketball practice and rehearsal for chorus. How about you?

 

Mike: I’m actually starting a new job at the supermarket. I just got hired last week and, uh… um… are you busy?

 

Serena: No, it’s fine. Keep going.

 

Mike: Okay. Um… Anyways, I’m going to be restocking shelves and… why don’t we talk some other time? 

 

Serena: Alright, see you.

 

Mike: Bye.

 

Now get ready to role play! Choose who is going to be Person A and Person B. Remember the Scenario. Person A is talking to Person B about vacation plans. Person B starts texting in the middle of the conversation. You don’t have to actually text, you can just pretend. Person A isn’t sure if they should continue to talk. 

 

Now it’s time to rate the role playing. How did it go? Let’s rate Person A. How did their body language and voice change when Person B started texting? What would you give them out of five stars? 

 

How about Person B? Where did their attention start? Where did their attention go after they started texting? What would you give them out of five stars? 

 

Nice role playing!

 

In this scene, Matt is frustrated with his homework. Christine notices and offers to help him with it. While you’re watching, think about how someone’s body language can tell you how they are feeling. What does being frustrated look like?

 

Matt: [Sighs] [groans]

 

Christine: Everything okay?

 

Matt: [Sighs] I don’t understand.

 

Christine: Oh, is that for Math? Do you want some help?

 

Matt: Sure. I can’t figure out how to convert this fraction into a decimal.

 

Christine: Oh, okay. Let’s check it out.

 

Now get ready to role play! Choose who is going to be Person A and Person B. Remember the Scenario. Person A is frustrated with their work. Person B notices and offers to help. 

 

Now it’s time to rate the role playing. How did it go? Let’s rate Person A. How did they show their frustration? What did their frustrated voice sound like? What would you give them out of five stars?

 

How about Person B? How did they act when talking to someone who is frustrated? How did they help Person A solve their problem? What would you give them out of five stars?

 

Nice job!

 

In this scene, Serena asks Tyler about tryouts. Tyler’s body language changes, and he says they went OK. Serena notices that he doesn’t really want to talk about it, and offers him support. While you’re watching, think about how you can tell when someone doesn’t want to discuss something.

 

Serena: Hey, Tyler. How did tryouts go?

 

Tyler: Um… they were fine.

 

Serena: Is everything okay?

 

Tyler: Uh, I didn’t do too well. I don’t really want to talk about it.

 

Serena: Alright. Well, I’m here if you need me.

 

Tyler: Thanks.

 

Now get ready to role play! Choose who is going to be Person A and Person B. Remember the Scenario. Person A asks person B about tryouts. Person B’s body language changes and they say “Um, they went OK”. Person A realizes that something is wrong, and asks person B.

 

Now it’s time to rate the role playing. How did it go? Let’s rate Person A. What made them notice something was wrong? How did they offer to help? What would you give them out of five stars?

 

How about Person B? How did their body change when Person A asked about tryouts? How did you know they didn’t want to talk about it? What would you give them out of five stars?

 

That’s it for this edition of Act it Out! Nice job role playing everyone! Body language can tell us a lot about how someone is feeling. From their emotion to the subjects they want to talk about, someone’s body language contains a LOT of clues! You can tell when someone is feeling upset…

 

Matt: [Groans]

 

Christine: Everything okay?

 

Matt: [Sighs] I don’t understand.

 

Christine: Oh, is that for Math? Do you want some help?

 

Matt: Sure. I can’t figure out how to convert this fraction into a decimal.

 

Christine: Oh, okay. Let’s check it out.

 

Narrator: … or like they don’t want to talk about something.

 

Serena: Hey, Tyler. How did tryouts go?

 

Tyler: Um… they were fine.

 

Serena: Is everything okay?

 

Tyler: Uh, I didn’t do too well. I don’t really want to talk about it.

 

Serena: Alright. Well, I’m here if you need me.

 

Tyler: Thanks.

 

See you next time.

 

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Understanding Body Language Introduction Video
Understanding Body Language Introduction

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