Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Worry – Wilma Jean The Worry Machine

My favorite part of this lesson is that students can support one another in discussing their worries and that students can utilize coping skills to help them manage their feelings. I hope that teaching students how to effectively manage their worries now will be a proactive effort to reduce future anxiety and worry surrounding bigger problems (applying to college, big tests, interviews, etc.).

Lesson Title: Wilma Jean the Worry Machine

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • PS:A1.5 Identify and express feelings
  • PS:B1.1 Use a decision-making and problem-solving model
  • PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
  • PS:B1.5 Demonstrate when, where and how to seek help for solving problems and making decisions

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to recognize worry and identify 3 solutions or coping skills to their worries


  • Book: Wilma Jean the Worry Machine




  • Have you ever worried about something? What was your worry?
  • What did it feel like when you worried?

Read the book Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook or play online:


Hand out pieces of paper and pencils to each student. Explain that we are going to make a list like Wilma Jean’s teacher did. Ask students to write a line down the middle of the paper. Label the left side as Worries. Label the right side Unworries. Give students several minutes to write down (grades 2-5) or draw a picture of (grades K-1) their worries on the left side. Provide an example on the board:

Worries Unworries
I am worried about my math test  

When completed, separate students into groups. Ask students to share their worries with their peers and to brainstorm solutions/unworries for the worries. Explain that sometimes we have worries we can’t control, like the weather, so we need to use coping skills to deal with these worries. Explain that coping skills are things that we can do to help us deal with difficult things. Provide an example: when I am scared or upset, I like to talk to a friend or read a book to calm down. Wilma Jean used a hat that she imagined can take away all her worries as her coping skill. Add to your previous example by demonstrating an “unworry”.

Worries Unworries
I am worried about my math test I will study my materials every night. If I need help, I will ask my parents or my teacher or a friend. I will practice by completing my homework.

Print a copy of 100 Coping Skills for each table to use as they brainstorm:


  • Does anyone want to share a worry that they have and an unworry or coping skill they use to solve their worry?
  • Does worrying help us solve our problems?
  • How can we help others when they are worried?

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