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This is where I talk about reality TV

October

Title: The Exploitation of the Low Skilled

Author: Manzo

15

October

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Title: White Savior in the Ghetto

Author: Manzo

11

October

Title: Why I love Marc Brackett and why you might love him too.

Author: Manzo

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Blog

19

October

Title: Reality Shows: The Exploitation of the Low Skilled

Author: Manzo

THIS ENTRY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOR FORMATTING ISSUES

 

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15

THIS ENTRY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOR FORMATTING ISSUES

 

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October

Title: "It's a Trap!" Surviving the Rescuer

Author: Manzo

11

October

Title: What I Owe Marc Brackett

Author: Manzo

My first encounter with Marc Brackett was in the spring of 2010. He was presenting the evidence based SEL program, RULER Approach, to a variety of school counselors, school social workers, and family support workers, at our school district main offices. Ironically, while Marc was on the 2nd floor talking to us about social and emotional literacy and well-being, district leadership was on the 3rd floor hoping to find a way around budget shortfalls by riffing and/or displacing the folks whose primary job was to support students with social and emotional learning and well-being. Marc spoke of Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions. He cited evidence of the impact of SEL curriculum on academic learning outcomes, personal/social development, and college and career readiness. He gave examples from other schools and districts about how RULER had positively impacted a wide variety of learning communities. He shared his Feeling Words Curriculum, which among other things, contains academic and creative work designed to develop and deepen common expressive language for emotions and feelings. In his presentation he had identified and validation an approach to teaching and learning that I had seen great educators use, but I did not have any language to describe other than through the lens of personal talent of the teacher or counselor.

 

I want to write about Marc and RULER in three parts. First, a little story about meeting Marc. Second, an overview of RULER so you can see how it could apply to your learning community. Third, a brief story about how it supported my school during a time of violence and trauma.

 

About meeting Marc. Marc Brackett is the Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the co-creator of RULER Approach and Feeling Words Curriculum. That day in the spring of ‘10 he was wearing a V-neck sweater vest under his blazer, and he had on a bow tie. I will never forget the bow tie; straight out of central casting, Ivy League Professor, bow tie, talking emotional intelligence, and common expressive language for  feelings. Here's the thing. I've talked to Marc about this and he is emphatic that he doesn't own a bow tie and he never has. Apparently, I was so smitten with SEL that my mind invented a bow tie and put it on him. This has happened to me before. The first time I saw my wife, she was wearing a white turtleneck sweater. Of course, as you are probably guessing, she has also has never owned one. Same types of things happened the first time I heard Bohemian Rhapsody, and the first time I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I think this is a sign that I have strong feelings about something.
 

About RULER. Foremost is the Mood Meter. The Mood Meter is the second anchor tool of the RULER Approach to Education. (RULER stands for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, Regulating emotions.) Side props on that acronym, it’s Xtra. The Mood Meter is a biofeedback instrument. It helps people recognize and label their feelings and it helps give a space for common expression. The Mood Meter is a Cartesian Plane. The X axis represents pleasantness and the Y access represents energy. The Mood Meter is colorful. The upper left quadrant is red and is for feelings that have high energy and low pleasantness. Emotions of anger and fear, some disgust, and some surprise are up in the red. Feelings like, frustrated, irritated, scared, worried, terrified, enraged, jealous, envious, and some forms of anxious are red feelings. The upper right quadrant is yellow. Yellow, like red has higher energy, but unlike red has high pleasantness with the X axis. Yellow feelings come from enjoyment and are represented by words like, excited, elated, enthusiastic, joyful, and some anxious and surprise. Below the yellow quadrant is the green quadrant. Green shares yellow's pleasantness but has decrease in energy. Green feelings would be represented by words like calm, chill, serene, mellow, satisfied. And finally, next to green and below red is the blue quadrant. Low energy, low pleasantness in the blue is for feelings like sad, bored, worn-out, morose, depressed. (Every year, after introducing/reintroducing the MOOD METER to the students I get like 400 hand drawn Mood Meters under my office door.)

 

With the Mood Meter a school community can very quickly begin using common expressive language for a wide range of feelings and thoughts. I find myself referring to a color-feeling-relation on this website frequently. Also, the use of pleasantness and energy as a gauge for feelings comes from Mood Meter. In my experience, the value of the Mood Meter is such a benefit for a school it can be hard to measure. (It’s not as hard to measure the value of the Mood Meter for Yale so before you start using this, remember, you will need to pay for it.)

 

Also from RULER is the Meta Moment. The Meta Moment is the third anchor tool. The Meta Moment is a six step process for helping students recognize, and eventually, interrupt the stimuli/response cycle and replace what may have been unconscious, automatic responses to stimuli with thoughtful and purposeful choices. (Not hard to see the benefit of that.) The steps look like this. A stimuli occurs and you sense (recognize) a shift in thinking or a shift in how the body is feeling, physiologically.  Once you recognize this, you Stop. Next you See your Best Self. Once that has been identified you Strategize ways to invoke that self. Last, you Succeed! Using the Meta Moment successfully develops self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and social management skills. The Meta Moment is a wonderful tool for helping students manage uncomfortable feelings and unwanted conflict By the way, the language about the combination of uncomfortable feelings and unwanted conflict is a piece of the Emotional Intelligence Charter which is the first anchor tool of the RULER Approach.

 

After a year of building skills and common tools for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions and feelings a learning community should be prepared to begin using the Feeling Words Curriculum (FWC). The FWC provides the etymologies of words that describe feelings. It connects words to developmentally and academically appropriate content by grade level. It provides teaching tools for creative thinking and abstract reasoning. It provides home-work to deepen the school-home partnership. And it’s really fun. I can't get into any more specifics about FWC because it’s a proprietary curriculum so I’d be violating the licensing I’ve probably already violated talking about RULER. But you can look into it at RULER Approach. Oh, and I don’t work for this program or for Yale so I don’t get any benefit for up-selling their materials. But your students will!  

Here is an example of how having access to this type of common expressive language for feelings can support a school community during the worst of times. A couple of years ago I was one of two school counselors when our community suffered a terrible homicide/suicide that took the life of one of our 6th graders. Students and staff were full of shock and grief. On the day we learned about the murder we did not have a lot of time to prepare our kids as the details were already spreading across social media. However, because we had been working with RULER we had already set the tone that emotions and feelings had a legitimate place in our school and we had built a common expressive language we could all utilize. We had already studied empathy, sadness, anger, fear, kindness, guilt, shame, helplessness, and hopelessness. So that morning we were able to gather as an entire school community. We were able to hold a space for everyone, because we had common language for sadness, grief, fear, anger, and many other feelings that were present. Adults and kids alike were able to model for one another how a tragedy such as this hurts and how hurt can be expressed. Nothing could have undone the awfulness of what had happened to our student and friend, but when we came together as a large community, we were better able to shoulder the tremendous weight that I believe would have overwhelmed us without a way to connect.  

 

As time passed from that day and as people’s lives began to go on with the new normal, we were able to continue to support the wide range of feelings that were present across the developmental spectrum, and that includes the adults, whose lives were also changed. We were a large building and not everyone knew the girl who was killed, so not all were as deeply stricken. In supporting all students and staff it was important that we were also able to approach students with as little judgment as possible when it comes to the thoughts and feelings they presented. (Notice I am not saying we are non-judgmental about behavior choices, that is something entirely different).

 

Last thing, every place on the this website where I equate an emotion or feeling to a color, is from RULER; uncomfortable feelings/unwanted conflict is from RULER; pleasantness and energy as measurements for emotions and feelings are from RULER. Pretty handy stuff for creating and maintaining a common expressive language.

 

What Marc Brackett Owes Me:

 

Nothing really, but I hope he comes on the Big Time Feelings Show.