SEL-Music Unit: Who Am I? Exploring Inner and Outer Space

Day One: Gaining Space Context with Feelings

WA SEL Standard: Self-Management, Social Awareness

  • SEL.3-5.2A.2 Select and practice specific self-management skills to maintain self-control.
  • EL.3-5.4A.1 Identify verbal, physical, and situational cues that affect how others may feel.

WA Music Standard:

  • Mu:Cr2.1.4 a. Demonstrate selected and organized musical ideas for an improvisation, arrangement, or composition to express intent, and explain connection to purpose and context.

Age Range: Grades 3-5

Duration: 30-45 minutes 


  • Playlist
  • Corner Feelings Visuals
  • Whiteboard or projector to display ideas
  • Butcher Paper
  • Ball

Activity One: Four Corners - Feelings of Songs

This activity is designed to have students respond to music excerpts and assign an emotion that best fits the feeling of the song. Each corner will be designated as an emotion or set of emotions. Students will listen to songs and choose the corner that best represents their corresponding emotion.


  • Before the activity, create a playlist of contrasting songs and place an emotion emoji or set of emotions in each corner of the room. (You may choose to use the Zones of Regulation color for each corner if your school has access to that curriculum).
    • Corner #1: Sad, sick, tired, bored, moving slowly;
    • Corner #2: Happy, calm, feeling okay, focused;
    • Corner #3: Frustrated, worried, silly/wiggly, excited;
    • Corner #4: Mad/angry, terrified, out of control;
  • Instruct students to listen to each song excerpt and choose a corner that most relates to the feeling of the song.
  • After students have moved to their corner, allow students to discuss in partners or trios why they chose that corner.
  • Invite volunteers to share their rationale with the class. Consider hearing one voice from each group.
  • Ask students to consider the size of groups at each corner (“Which corner has the most students?”, “Which corner has the least amount of students?”)  To wrap up the activity, consider asking students which SEL skills they used.

Variations: If time and space are limited, students may raise their hand for each of the four corners. Technology could be added as well by having electronic polls instead of students moving to each corner. 

Transition: The last song or songs should tie into our space theme. Allow students to choose the emotion that they think is associated with the ambient sounds. Then, ask students if there is a place that they think this music reminds them of. Once a student suggests space, replay the song and have students move like astronauts back to their spots for the next activity.  

Activity Two: Space Vocabulary Chart (Part 1)

Class will create a vocabulary chart about space. Part 1 focuses on the “Word” and “Predictions” columns. This activity is used to provide vocabulary and ideas for students to utilize when they create their own verse about space.


  • Prepare a large chart with four columns and tape to a wall visible to students. Label the columns “Word”, “Predictions”, “Definition”, and “Sentence”. Each column should be labeled in a different color throughout the activity.
  • Ask students to turn and talk in groups of 3 or 4 and predict the definition of the word. Once students have had the opportunity to discuss their ideas, call on up to 3 students to give their predictions. Write these predictions in the “Predictions” column in its designated color.
  • Go through the rest of your chosen vocabulary words in the same manner.
  • The “Definition” and “Sentence” columns will be filled out the following lesson.


Consider extending this activity and adding one new word every day to the space vocabulary chart.

Space Vocabulary Chart




Sentence Examples



floating object, rotating, light source at night, etc.

Large object orbiting earth. 

Last night the moon looked like a piece of cheese in the sky.

Activity Three: One Word Quip

In this closing activity, each student provides a one-word response to a given prompt.


  • Prepare the prompt on the board or on slides: “What is one feeling or emotion that you associate with being in space?”
  • Transition students into a standing circle with a ball. Explain to students when they receive the ball, they must answer the question with only one word and pass it to someone else in the circle. Once they’ve had a turn, they should step back out of the circle.
  • If a student does not want to respond, they may say “pass”.

Debrief: As a class, reflect on which responses were most common. If time allows, create a word cloud to see how students feel about space.