Emotional ABC’s: A Review

Dear Homeschooler,

imageBefore my children were old enough to homeschool, I worked as a special education teacher in an intensive program for students with autism. One of the hardest things to teach my students was emotional self-regulation — recognizing their emotions and responding appropriately in hard situations. I realize that all children are learning how to deal with these same issues (not just special needs students), so when I had an opportunity to review Emotional ABC’s, I jumped at the chance.

About The Product

Moody, a loveable, dramatic monster takes children (ages 4 and up) on a step-by-step journey to help them discover and understand the abstract concept of emotions and demonstrates how to self-regulate those emotions and make good choices. He does this by helping them…

  • Connect emotions with facial cues
  • Recognize emotions of others by seeing and interpreting physical tells
  • Connect the physical symptoms one feels with the actual emotion
  • Understand that emotions can change
  • Understand that having emotions is ok
  • Connect emotions with situations
  • Use an ’emotional toolbar’ to help self-regulate emotions, assess the current situation, and make good choices

 

What Comes In The Box?image

  • A 40-minute DVD
  • An Emotional Toolbar Magnet
  • Five workbooks
  • 12 Moody stickers
  • “Moody Music’ CD
  • “Go Moody” playing cards

 

The DVD and the Toolbar Strategy

This 40-minute DVD is colorful, fun, and engaging. Moody takes the children step-by-step through the basics of emotional understanding: What is a feeling? What do they look like? What do they feel like? After the children can identify emotional cues, understand and recognize their own emotions, and become familiar with the vocabulary, Moody demonstrates how to deal with those emotions and how to make good choices by using the Emotional ABCs toolbar: Pause & Breathe, Rewind, Play.

 

Working Through the Workbooks

The 5 workbooks are colorful and fun. They have a variety of activities from coloring and ‘spot the difference’ to word searches and fill-in-the-blanks:

1. Reading Faces & Bodies This workbook helps kids recognize non-verbal cues.

2. Forecast: Weather (And Feelings) Today! This workbook draws a correlation between the changing weather and our changing emotions and emphasizes that having feelings is ok. Furthermore, it shows that we all have may have different emotional responses to the same situation.

3. Sensations: A Coloring Book This workbook explains emotional idioms and connects sensations with emotions.

4. The Emotional ABCs Toolbar This workbook reviews the Emotioanl ABC’s procedure of self-regulation (pause and breath, rewind, and play).

5. The Emotional ABC’s Workbook This workbook provides additional opportunities to practice using the toolbar in case studies.

 

Supporting Materials

Additional materials are included to help reinforce the lessons. The Playing Cards “Moody’s Music’ CD encourages the children to really look introspectively to determine how differently music makes them feel. The stickers and the magnetic toolbar are a great way to remind the children of the lessons and strategies they’ve learned in the ‘real world.’

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Kids’ Responses

My kids love Moody!  We could never do enough — they always asked to do ‘just one more page’ in the workbooks. They have watched the video over and over and still get excited whenever they see a Moody sticker. ZooKid (age 6) loved doing the workbooks and could do most of the activities independently. I occasionally just needed to explain the instructions to him. He was able to grasp the concept of the toolbar and is able to walk himself through the steps:

Princess Super Kitty (age 3) loved the movie and loved participating in the workbook activities, but because she is a pre-reader, she needed assistance to complete the workbooks. She was not able to grasp all the information (which is ok, as this product is targeted for 4 years and up), but she did understand enough to make it worth while. She is able to go through the steps of the toolbar with prompts. If nothing else, she can take the 3 calming breaths, which is beneficial in and of itself in the middle of an emotional catastrophe. 

 

My Opinion

This product does a great job of breaking down an abstract concept into smaller, more concrete parts. Moody makes it fun and engages the children in the movie, workbooks, and other materials. We were able to work through the workbooks at our own pace and repeat lessons if necessary. I also liked how this product is free from any belief system, allowing me to seamlessly add my own. We have had success using the toolbar strategy in heated moments. I think Emotional ABC’s has provided tools to help my kids step back from a frustrating experience and calm themselves down (with prompts), thus enabling them to look at the situation more rationally and make better choices. At this point, in the heat of sibling rivalry, they still require a prompt to start the process from me most of the time: “Let’s pause and breathe.’ Independence will come with time and practice.

I would advise that all people involved in interacting with your child or student use the same strategy and vocabulary for consistency’s sake. If you know that the lessons will have to be repeated to ensure understanding or mastery, I would not write directly in the workbook: Photocopy the activities or put them in sheet protectors and use dry erase markers. 

 

Awards

  • 2013 Product of the Year Award (Creative Child Magazine)
  • Smart Media Award (Academic’s Choice)
  • Top 10 Socially Responsible Award (Dr. Toy)
  • Brain Child Award (Tillywig Toy)
  • Great Find Award (AblePlay.org)

If you are interested in purchasing Emotional ABC’s, it is on sale for a limited time for $39.00 plus taxes and shipping and handling.

Till Next Time, 

Jennifer

 

 

Disclosure:  All opinions expressed are my own and are not swayed by company, commission, or free product. THANK YOU for supporting Dear Homeschooler.