Voices Need Words

Have you ever had “heart to heart” chats with students and you know they have a story to tell but got stuck on trying to get it out? Sometimes I feel that students don’t have the vocabulary or aren’t exposed to the vocabulary of emotions to be able to clearly tell their story. Recently, quite accidentally I fell upon the project, RULER (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, Regulating Emotions) by Marc Brackett at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Here is an overview of the “Mood Meter” that they developed to help identify the various quadrants of moods and related vocabulary.

So I wondered as some of our classes are using this approach, what if we were able to gage an audience’s mood and create a real-time visual. We could use it to have conversations. This process might also work well with literature circles. I ended up using Google Forms to create the survey so it could be available for easy access on a class blog or website. Here are the results. Give it a try.

What I like about it is the list of terms to expand possible ways to share feelings. (Aren’t you tired of the same “I’m mad, sad, glad” routine.) By selecting the graphing mode you gain a visual representation of a whole group mood right away. I can imagine the rich discussions this would offer to a group.

I’d love to hear what you think about this. Please leave a comment.
If you would like your own copy, I’ve created an open folder, which you can make a copy (you need to have a google account first).

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2 thoughts on “Voices Need Words

  1. I love the concept of the “vocabulary of emotions.” When we lack the vocabulary to talk about something, it limits the depth we are able to reflect on that subject. And clearly, our students’ emotions influence the way they are learning in our classrooms. On the other hand, I’m afraid this rigid categorization and simplification of the types of emotions into categorical boxes is a mistake. Emotions, and their effects on learning, are far more nuanced. I’m afraid I don’t agree with this color-coding as a teaching strategy, but the concept really has me thinking about how I can encourage my students to describe and self-reflect on their emotions and how those emotions are influencing their work habits. Thanks for the post, and provoking my thought.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think it’s more of a conversation starter, an avenue to help students with expanding their repertoire. Whether it’s a colour or not, I don’t think that matters much. What is more important is to make more powerful words available throughout a room and through a day.

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