Learning Description

Using the book The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions, by Anna Llenas, students will investigate story elements and dive into the world of emotions and colors. They will actively explore emotions using their faces, bodies, and voices.


Learning Targets


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"I Can" Statements

“I Can…”

  • I can make connections between emotions and colors.
  • I can use my body, face, and voice to convey emotions and colors.

Essential Questions

  • How are emotions like colors, and how can colors represent emotions?
  • How does talking about and exploring our emotions help us?


Georgia Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:

ELAGSE2RL1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. 

ELAGSE2RL7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

Arts Standards

Grade 2:

TA2.PR.1 Act by communicating and sustaining roles in formal and informal environments. 

  1. Use imagination and vocal elements (e.g. inflection, pitch, volume, articulation) to communicate a character’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. 
  2. Use imagination and physical choices to communicate a character’s thoughts and emotions. 
  3. Collaborate and perform with an ensemble to share theatre with an audience. 
  4. Explore character choices and relationships in a variety of dramatic forms (e.g. narrated story, pantomime, puppetry, dramatic play).


South Carolina Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:

2.RL.MC.5.1 Ask and answer literal and inferential questions to demonstrate understanding of a text; use specific details to make inferences and draw conclusions in texts heard or read. 

2.RL.MC.5.2 Make predictions before and during reading; confirm or modify thinking.

Arts Standards


Anchor Standard 3: I can act in improvised scenes and written scripts.


Anchor Standard 5: I can interpret and evaluate the meaning of an artwork.


Key Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary

Emotion – A state of feeling such as: angry; sad; excited; nervous; happy. 

Theme – the lesson of the story

Arts Vocabulary

Color - a component of light which is separated when it is reflected off of an object.

Actor – This is a person who performs a role in a play, work of theatre, or movie. 

Facial Expression – how an actor uses his or her face (eyes, cheeks, mouth, chin, nose) to convey meaning. 

Gestures –any movement of the actor’s head, shoulder, arm, hand, leg, or foot to convey meaning.



  • The Color Monster. A Story About Emotions, by Anna Llenas. 
  • Color list (below, or comparable by teacher choice)
  • Emotion list (below, or comparable by teacher choice)


Instructional Design

Opening/Activating Strategy


  • Lead a discussion about colors.  What are colors?  Discuss how light reflects off of things in different ways, and that’s how our eyes see colors.  How do colors make you feel? What do they make you think of?  What is your favorite color, and why?  Option: show the list of colors attached below, discuss any that are unfamiliar, and compare different colors that are similar, e.g., silver and gray.  Ask what other colors they can think of that are not on the list.


  • Lead a discussion about emotions.  “What are emotions?  How do different experiences make us feel different emotions?  How do our emotions change?  How do we express emotions?” Show the list of emotions attached below, discuss any that are unfamiliar, and compare different emotions that are similar, e.g., sad and lonely.  Ask what other emotions they can think of that are not on the list.

Connecting Colors and Emotions

  • Lead a discussion about the connection between colors and emotions.  “Can you think of any phrases that connect colors with emotions?(e.g., ‘green with envy,’ ‘seeing red,’ or ‘feeling blue,’ or ‘rose-colored glasses.’)”  Do certain emotions make you think of certain colors?  Or do you associate different colors with different emotions?  If so, why?”  Honor whatever connections the students might make, even if they seem unconventional.


Work Session

The Color Monster

Explain that the class will read a book that connects colors with emotions.  Discuss this connection as the theme of the book – it is the main idea or concept.  Show The Color Monster.  Explain that the author, Anna Llenas, has thought a lot about this question, and she connects certain colors with certain emotions.

  • Read the book aloud.  During the read aloud, have students add sound and body to express the characters and repeat key lines or phrases after you read them. Encourage them to become the characters with their face, body and voice.
  • After reading aloud, review the colors and emotions in the book (yellow = happy; blue = sad; red = anger; black = fear; green= calm; pink=love).  Discuss if those connections make sense to students.  Ask, “What other colors and emotions would you connect?”
  • Discuss the concept expressed in the book about feeling mixed emotions, and putting emotions into separate containers.  Ask, “What does this mean in real life?  How can we put emotions into different containers?”

Coloring Our Emotions

  • Tell the students that you will call out an emotion and they will use their bodies and faces to convey that emotion.  Start with a simple emotion like happy, sad, or scared.  Tell them they can use facial expression, body position, and gestures to convey the emotion.
  • Ask them to express what color they connect with that emotion.  (e.g., “I’m scared and it feels pink” or “I’m bored and it feels gray.”)
  • Ask them to add sound to their faces and bodies.  Ask, “Does this emotion make you use a loud or soft voice?  High or low?  How would you pronounce your words with this emotion?”  Allow different students to have different interpretations, and acknowledge that sometimes when someone is angry they could be loud or quiet, or that when someone is happy, their voice could get very high or very low.
  • Call out several more emotions from the list, and have the students repeat the process.
  • Give volunteers the opportunity, when conveying an emotion with body, face and voice, to articulate why someone might feel that emotion (e.g., “I’m angry that my sister won’t play with me, and it feels bright red,” or “I’m happy that we’re going to have ice cream, and it feels light green.”)

Finding Emotions from Our Colors (Optional)

  • Explain that now the process will be reversed.  A color will be called out, and students can respond with a connected emotion.  Tell students that they may connect the emotion directly with a color, or they may think of something the color reminds them of and find the emotional connection that way.  E.g., blue might make a student think of a swimming pool, invoking excitement; red may make a student think of a stop sign/caution; or orange may make them think of fire, invoking fear.
  • After calling out a color, allow students to use their bodies and faces to show the emotion; then ask volunteers to use their emotional voice to name the emotion they are thinking of and explain the connection, if any.


  • Have students draw a picture connecting a color with an emotion.  Have them start from either an emotion or a color.  If they start from an emotion, have them choose the color that they think goes with it.  If they choose a color, have them decide which emotion they connect with it.  Using a single color, have them write the emotion word (with guidance as needed) and draw images, lines, and shapes that convey the emotion (e.g., The drawing could include squiggles, zigzags, curves and solid shapes, as well as representational images such as a football player, two friends arguing, a piece of jewelry, or a butterfly).
  • Then have them write a paragraph describing the emotion in terms of the color and the elements they included in their illustration.  The paragraph can begin, “When I feel ______ (emotion), everything looks ________ (color) because . . .”


Closing Reflection

Ask, “What is the connection between emotions and colors?  How can colors help us think about emotions?  How do colors make us feel?  How did we express emotions using our bodies, facial expressions, and voices?“




  • Students demonstrate understanding by using their bodies, faces, and voices. 
  • Students use emotion and color words to describe what they are enacting.
  • Students articulate situations or scenarios that make sense for the emotion they are conveying.



Students’ illustrations and paragraphs convey their understanding of the connection between emotions and color.




Explore the concept of mixed emotions implied in the book.  Have students choose two different, seemingly conflicting emotions connected with  two different colors, and have them enact them together.  Have them articulate a scenario that might lead to conflicting emotions (e.g., getting together with a close friend who is moving away).


Work through the emotions according to how they are portrayed in the book, maintaining a one-to-one correspondence to avoid confusion.


Books with a similar theme:

     My Many-Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss

     What Color Is Your Day?, by Camryn Wells

*This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.

Ideas contributed by: Susie Purcell and Barry Stewart Mann

Revised and copyright:  June 2023 @ ArtsNOW