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1. Regarding Checking-in

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

Good Morning, today is Tuesday, March 17th and it is now time for our moment of SEL.

This is the Mood Meter. The Mood Meter comes from the evidence-based SEL approach to education. ( Learn more here: ) Each morning our students use the Mood Meter to check-in with how they are feeling and communicate that feeling to their teachers and classmates. This is a tool you can also use at home. Left-to-right is Pleasantness and up-and-down is Energy. The higher up you go, the more energy you are feeling. The lower you go, the less energy you are feeling. The areas above center, the Yellow and Red represent higher energy. The areas bellow the center line, the Blue and Green, represent lower energy. The areas left of the center line, the Red and Blue represent lower pleasantness. The areas to the right of the center line represent higher pleasantness. Here is a video I made with elementary students to teach about the Mood Meter in school.

As you practice recognizing how you are feeling, it is important to be able to label your feelings. Recognizing and then labeling your feelings is actually one of the best ways begin to regulate your feelings. It is important for students and adults to build an emotion vocabulary. To help our students develop this vocabulary we work to build common expressive language for emotions and feelings. Here is another Mood Meter with words that you may choose to use to label how you are feeling. Here is another another video I made with elementary students demonstrating further use of the Mood Meter in a school setting.

Most all our familiar routines are in a state of change right now. It would certainly be appropriate if you were to recognize that you may be experiencing a wide range of feelings. Here are some things you might want to know about emotions. We don’t always know when we’ll experience emotions. We don’t know how intense our emotions may be. We don’t know how long we’ll experience the emotions or subsequent feelings that come from emotions.

This is one of the reasons the Social Emotional Learning skill of Self-Awareness can be so helpful. Here are a few steps you can take to begin building your Self-Awareness skills.

Step 1 - Ask yourself, “What thoughts am I thinking right now?”

See if you can recognize any inner-voices or inner monologue or familiar/recurring thoughts or thought patterns. Take a minute and listen to your thought or thoughts the way you would listen to a child, telling you about a scary dream. You would not likely judge a child for having a scary dream. Try to not judge yourself for having a scary thought. Try to Just recognize your thought or thoughts with as little judgement as possible.

Step 2 – Ask yourself, “How am I feeling in my body right now?”

Emotions carry physiological connections. Are your shoulders tight? Are you making a hard fist? Are your legs “antsy” or “jittery”? Is your brow crinkled? Is your stomach hurting? Pay attention to what your body is experiencing. See if you find a connection between the thoughts you recognize and how your body is feeling.

Step 3 – Ask yourself, “How do I want to express myself?”

As with above, you want to try to meet this desire for expression with as little judgement as possible. You may notice that you are desiring to do many acts of kindness; or you may recognize that you want to do something far less pro-social. Either way, try not to judge yourself. Try to avoid celebrating yourself if you recognize a desire to do something “wonderful”. Also, try to avoid condemning yourself if you want to do something wicked. This can be really tricky, so go easy on yourself either way.

Step 4 – Ask yourself, “How can I express myself?”

This is a little different from the last one because here you must use your judgement and discretion in how you choose to express your feelings. Many things impact how we are able to express ourselves. Here is short list of the biggest things that impact expression: age, racial presentation, racial ideation, gender presentation, gender ideation, culture, context, social categorization, access to resources…etc.  You may notice a great distance between your desire to express yourself and your decision in how you choose to express yourself. In our school, the way we choose to express ourselves, the way we respond to our thoughts and feelings and emotions, and the things we do with our emotions is what we call, behavior.

During this current school closure I will be sending a daily SEL exercise that you can do with your kids and for yourself. Asking yourself the questions of Self-Awareness can provide a strong foundation for the work to come. Using the Mood Meter is a great tool to help you make those first, and perhaps most challenging steps.

Here is one possible way to record/journal your Self-Awareness experiences.


(if you can try to identify the stimulus that brought about the thought or feeling)


What am I thinking?


How am I feeling in my body?


How do I want to express myself?


How can I express myself?

I wish you the very best and I look forward to connecting in what ever way we can tomorrow.

Until then, best wishes


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