Thursday, March 7, 2013

Using a Mood Meter

Since learning about the Mood Meter in graduate class last week, I've already used it twice.  I first used it when I realized my small group, of former self-contained kids that I meet with for support classes, were dealing with a bullying issue.  I also used it the following day, when my co-teacher was talking a seventh grader down from that angry place from which one makes poor, impulsive decisions.

I realize now that the mood meter can be a conflict management device.  I really liked the idea of the tool when I first learned about it; I wondered when and how I might be able to use it in my fast-paced, college-prep, rigorous teaching environment.  Things like mood meters make me long for the days of self-contained and closed doors.

1. Plot mood using energy level and level of pleasantness.  (I used the words good and bad to simplfy it for some of my students.)
2. Write down an emotion word that goes with where you plotted your mood.
3. Ask: What happened to cause this emotion?

And then hopefully, as the girl eventually did, go on to class or whatever the next activity is in a much calmer state.  (On a side note, this student who I had encountered previously in seventh grade coverages, now goes out of her way to tap me and say hello.  I guess for many students, relationships are key-- all or nothing.  I digress...)

One situation you'll find is that students and adults alike do not know how they really feel.  The girl in question plotted herself in the blue and said she was angry when she was no longer angry.  She settled on mad when called on it, but really I think she was hurting.  Naming emotions is hard work, but the longer I teach and the more I learn about SEL, or social emotional learning, the more I tout its importance.

More to come.
Miss M

my much used, color-coded meter from one class period.  I went from green to red when there was a fight, and back to the green.

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