Reading or telling a story about a protagonist and then holding up photographs of different facial expressions will help you identify if your students are on track for recognizing emotions in others. Next, ask your students how they could help the individual. What words could they say? What physical actions could they take?
I find that opening up and telling my students about a few times where I felt sad or hurt prompts them to share their own feelings and gives them some vocabulary with which to express their emotions. Make sure not to express blame though! Try to maintain a positive atmosphere, and ask your students what positive things you could have done in the situation.
Rutger's shocking statistic that "about 20 percent of children entering Kindergarten do not yet have the necessary social and emotional skills to be 'ready' for school" comes to life in a Kindergarten classroom where so many students face daily frustrations over not being able to communicate their emotions.
This page, although geared towards parents, is great for Kindergarten teachers because (let's be honest) you practically are a parent when you're teaching - except you have twenty or thirty kids at a time! The article promotes empathy and teaches positive methods of emotional expression.
This is an excellent resource for both parents and teachers about teaching kindergarteners social awareness. Often situations arise in a kindergarten classroom that concern empathy, or a lack of it. When a student steals another's toy, or says something unkind - both students are unable to justify their actions and reactions. This resource helps to arm students with the emotional tools and language they need to navigate social situations.
You can either buy the book, "Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day," or relate a story of one of your own bad days - where you could have used a smile from a friend. Invite some of your students to share stories of their own bad days, when one of their peers supported them and offered a smile. Next, have the students create three "smiley faces" with yellow construction paper and markers.