There is no doubt that social and emotional learning can help us meet the needs of our students right now.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start. Using a framework can help guide our thinking, teaching, and actions as we work towards making SEL a meaningful part of our classrooms.
RULER is an acronym for:
The approach is based on four core tools: The Charter, The Blueprint, The Meta Moment, and The Mood Meter.
The Intentional Social & Emotional Learning Tools download includes different resources that can help you bring the RULER approach to your teaching. These resources include:
“Our Classroom Charter” Template
Rather than creating a never-ending list of classroom rules, co-construct a Classroom Charter with your students that will help identify the values, feelings, and behaviours that they want to use as the foundation of their classroom community. The Classroom Charter Template (which is included as both a PDF and Google Slides template in the download) invites each class to reflect on three key questions:
• As a class, how do we want to feel?
• To help each other feel this way, what will we do?
• When we experience conflict or unwanted feelings, how will we respond?
Once completed, each class’ Classroom Charter gets signed by the members of that class (students and teachers) and remains on display throughout the year.
“The Blueprint” Poster
The Blueprint is a framework to help guide students through a reflection that can help them build empathy when dealing with challenging situations with other people. It achieves this by having students engage in perspective-taking as they reflect on the situation that triggered them.
The whole process is ground in the five steps of RULER and helps prepare students for conflict resolution.
Although The Blueprint can be used as a framework for discussion, it can also be applied as a guided self-reflection. That’s why I included both a printable poster version of the tools as well as a self-reflection sheet (available in both PDF and Google Slides template forms) so that students can find what they need when they need it.
“The Breather Space” Poster
The Breather Space Poster is my take on RULER’s Meta Moment tool. It represents a six-step process that helps students create some space between their triggers and their emotions, reflect on how their best selves would respond, and then select the appropriate way to move forward.
The idea with the Breather Space Poster is that it provides a visible guided meditation for students to engage in. Over time, the goal is to have students internalize this process and apply it whenever they notice themselves being triggered by the events happening around them.
The “My Best Self” Reflection Tool
Part of the Breather Space process is to reflect on how your best self would react in any given situation. However, in order for students to be able to make use of this step, they need to have a clear idea of who their best self is.
That’s why I created this self-reflection sheet (available as both a PDF and Google Slides template) that you can have your students complete at the start of the school year. The reflection is based on four key questions:
• How does my best self feel?
• What do others think of my best self?
• How does my best self treat others?
• How does my best self solve problems?
By having students complete this reflection early on in the school year, they will have a yardstick against which they can measure themselves whenever they need to take a “Breather”.
“The Mood Meter Poster”
Finally, The Mood Meter is a tool that can help students label how they are feeling with nuanced language.
The tool achieves this by using four steps:
Step One: Identify your zone
Students determine which zone (what RULER calls “quadrants”) they are in:
🔵 Blue: Low Energy, Unpleasant
🟢 Green: Low Energy, Pleasant
🔴 Red: High Energy, Unpleasant
🟡 Yellow: High Energy, Pleasant
Step Two: Determine your level of energy and pleasantness
Next, students must decide how much energy and pleasantness they are experiencing. Each variable is on a -5 to +5 scale, depending on which zone the student determined they are in (e.g. for the red zone, energy would go from +1 to +5 but pleasantness would go from -1 to -5.
Step Three: Use the Mood Meter to plot your emotion.
Using their answers from steps one and two as coordinates, students now locate the emotion they are experiencing on the Mood Meter’s graph (which contains 100 emotional labels).
Step Four: Decide your next actions.
Once students have successfully labelled their emotions, they must now choose how to proceed:
• Stay here: sit with the emotion for as long as necessary.
• Shift gears: use an emotional self-regulation strategy to move towards a different emotion.
What does the “Intentional Social & Emotional Learning Tools” download include?
To help you bring the RULER approach to your teaching, the “Intentional Social & Emotional Learning Tools” download includes:
• The Classroom Charter Template (PDF + Google Slides Version)*
• The Blueprint Poster (PDF)
• The Blueprint Self-Reflection Sheet (PDF + Google Slides Version)*
• The Breather Space Poster (PDF)
• The “My Best Self” Self-Reflection Sheet (PDF + Google Slides Version)*
• The Mood Meter Poster (PDF)
* Add the Google Slides template to your Google Drive using the links in the download’s README file.
I hope that these tools help you make social and emotional learning a more meaningful part of your program!
🎉 Happy Teaching!