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Teaching Emotional Intelligence with Picture Books and the Mood Meter

Mood Meter — PS 120Q- Home of the Flushing Dragons

Last year I was introduced to the Mood Meter, a tool developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The meter is divided into four zones that represent a category of feelings based on their energy and pleasantness. The goal of the tool is to help people identify and label their emotions in an effort to build their emotional intelligence over time. Given the state of things in our country and all that our children must be thinking about right now, I thought it was the perfect tool to use with my remote second graders. 

My Many Colored Days: Seuss, Dr., Johnson, Steve, Fancher, Lou:  9780679893448: Books

To introduce the meter, I decided to incorporate it into my daily interactive read aloud time. First, I read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss as a way to introduce the idea of associating moods and feelings with colors. My students loved the vibrant illustrations and the animal connections that are made in the book. On some days the narrator feels yellow, like a busy, buzzing bee. On other days he/she is brown and low, like a big sleeping brown bear. Purple days are like a sad dinosaur, walking all alone. But when the narrator is happy, his/her days are pink, like a bright flamingo. 

Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day: Curtis, Jamie Lee,  Cornell, Laura: Books

After showing students the meter and talking about what each quadrant means, I read Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis. The story follows a little girl who experiences a range of moods. She goes from being angry that she was left out of a play date to excited because she has so many fun plans to confused because she think she will become a big sister. As we read about each mood, I asked my students where it would fall on the mood meter. You could have students share by turning and talking or even holding up a colored card to represent each quadrant of the meter.

Now that we are familiar with the mood meter, I’m going to ask students to start rating themselves. This year, we’ll assess our moods at the beginning and end of the day. As we become more skilled at identifying and labeling our feelings, we can start to talk about strategies to help us shift to a different emotion or just to cope if we are unable to do so. The mood meter is not only a tool for my students to better understand themselves, but a quick way for me to gauge where they’re at emotionally while they’re working away from me at home.

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