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November 4, 2023 / Schafer

Building Emotional Intelligence through RULER & Responsive Classroom

 

Our Sharks have been working hard this year on implementing our new social emotional resources, RULER and Responsive Classroom. The two resources are used together to support social emotional learning. RULER provides the tools as Responsive Classroom provides the practices.

 

What is RULER?

RULER stands for five areas of emotional intelligence: Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions. The RULER tools being used include: The Charter, Mood Meter, Meta-Moment, and Blueprint. 

 

The Classroom Charter

At the beginning of the school year, each class created a unique Classroom Charter as an expression of values and norms unique to the class. The goal was to make each student feel safe, welcome, and heard. Instead of typical classroom rules that are teacher-directed, the Charter is an agreement that is based on feelings. Classes started with the question ‘How do we want to feel at school?’ then, ‘How will we make sure to feel these feelings?’ and finally, ‘What will we do when there is conflict or unwanted feelings?’”

Each class worked together to build their own Charter which was then signed by everyone in the class, including students and the teacher to show equal ownership. 

Student representatives met with Ms. Glade and Mrs. Foster to discuss and create the school charter. The representatives compared lists from the different grade levels and found common themes. The representatives agreed on the words Safe, Welcome, Supported and Excited. 

Fourth grade student, Zoey S, shared “As a class, we thought of words. The words described how we wanted to treat others in the classroom. After we came up with our list, our teacher read it to the whole class. We all agreed to it and signed it. We even got to draw ourselves and add it to the charter. All the classrooms had their own words, but then students came together to agree on words to represent the school’s charter.” 

Fourth Grade student representative Giovanni V,  shared, “I think it is important to have a school charter because when a new student comes to Schafer it makes them feel welcome and safe.” 

Lindsay G., another fourth grade representative agreed, “I love it that it has words that can help students. When they are sad or lonely they can look at the charter and feel welcome. It also helps kids make good choices.” 

 

The Mood Meter

The Mood Meter is a tool that allows students to recognize their feelings and learn how to move between them. It helps with self-awareness, development of emotional vocabulary and self-regulation. 

The axes on the Mood Meter represent two components of emotions: energy and pleasantness. The x-axis describes the pleasantness a person feels (from unpleasant to pleasant) and the y-axis represents a person’s energy (low to high). Each classroom uses Mood Meters differently. The Mood Meter is a valuable tool that students can utilize throughout the day. Mrs. Brasie, a Resource Teacher, shares that it has been helpful in supporting students through problem solving frustrations as they are able to use the Mood Meter to help identify their emotion, which then helps start the conversation into problem solving.  

 

What is Responsive Classroom?

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching consists of a set of well-designed practices intended to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities. The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs. At the elementary level, Responsive Classroom practices include: Morning Meeting, Establishing Rules, Energizers, Quiet Time, and Closing Circle. Throughout the first quarter classrooms have been working on implementing these new practices. Students participate in daily Morning Meetings as well as Closing Circles. Teachers have shared that it is a great way to start and end the day as a classroom community. Students also get to participate in daily Quiet Time, a favorite among many students. As students return from lunch/recess, classrooms have ten minutes of Quiet Time where students can choose quiet activities to help prepare them for their afternoon of learning. Many classrooms will keep the lights off or play calming music to provide a calming atmosphere as students draw, read, building, etc. 

We are proud of all of the hard work our Sharks have done so far this year and we can’t wait to see our Sharks grow as they continue to use the resources and strategies they have learned through RULER and Responsive Classroom!