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This project was designed to increase emotional literacy in children. We introduced a range of 'feeling cards', visual cartoons and films that helped children recognize a complete range of emotions and express emotions differently.


One of the main reasons why children have an anger outbreak is due to the lack of knowledge and vocabulary to interpret different emotions. If we teach children to recognize and express emotions differently, we can avoid reducing all negative emotions to anger and aggression.

Through ethnographic research and testing done with students and teachers at the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, were able to validate our initial hypothesis. 


Eugenia Ramos Alonso (

Oomung Varma (

Image: The vicious cycle of an anger outbreak

Image: Ways to bring the child out of the vicious cycle, into the virtuous cycle

We introduce children to a short movie of a dynamic social situation and ask them to choose from an array of graphic cards to identify the emotions of onscreen characters. By recognizing how actions fall along a spectrum of emotions, schoolchildren control themselves and engage in discussion rather than violence.


Our design research involved understanding the classroom environment and the schedule of the teacher, and then moving into the first wave of design interventions. Our interventions involved reorienting the role of ‘troublesome’ students in the classroom, nudging them towards empowerment rather than self-depreciation.


Image: Prototyping a classroom tool for kids to break and get their anger out, and put it together again - giving time for reflection

Interviews with teachers at the Brooklyn School of Inquiry shifted our focus towards the impact of the at-home environment and familial unit on a child’s behavior. For this we began to think in terms of teacher-produced artifacts which went home with the student.

Image: A weekly circular, filled by the child to record positive behavior - a technique for positive reinforcement

Image: An apology card

Image: Brainstorming Process

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