Teachers are reducing suspensions by showing kids how to cope with emotions, and the result in one middle school is a reduction in suspensions, expulsions, and discipline referrals.

Middle School Students Are Creating Prosthetic LegsAt First Creek Middle School in Tacoma, students have a routine each day of “mooding in.’  This means that as part of their morning routine, they plot their moods on a “mood meter.”

The self-awareness may seem unusual for sixth graders.  But the meter gives students and the teacher an opportunity to see what to expect as lessons begin. It is divided into four color coded parts, and kids can show if they are angry or afraid (red), excited (yellow), sad or grumpy (blue), or in great shape and ready to learn (green).

Throughout the school, students “mood in” throughout the day, especially during transition times, such as after lunch.

The technique of mooding in and adjusting the flow of the class to get to green is one that has been developed at Yale University. The social-emotional learning program is called RULER: Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions. The goal is to enable everyone in a school community to be able to talk about their emotions.

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