Ruler Announcements

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

This past weekend, a series of terrorist attacks rocked Paris. As educators, we are all thinking about how to best to approach the subject of the Paris tragedy as our students start the school week, today.  Do we avoid the subject and shield them, especially those under five, from the discussion? Do we give them the basic facts to make sure they have accurate information on what occurred?  How do we allay their anxiety? How do we answer questions that we may not have the answers to and plague us as well. Questions like “Why did this happen.?” “Will this happen here now?” “Are we safe?” “Are our loved ones safe?”  Each of these questions brings up a lot of emotion  -- for our students as well as for all of us. RULER classrooms have a ready tool for this conversation. We can use the Mood Meter to frame this difficult discussion and create a safe place to share for students to share their feelings and then harness the strength of the classroom community to identify coping skills and self-regulation strategies. First, use the Mood Meter to check-in with yourself.  How are YOU feeling about this tragic event? Where are you on the Mood Meter and what thoughts are going through your own head? Are you concerned that you use mass transportation getting to and from work and that frightens you? Are you anxious about your students asking question that you may not be able to answer? How will you help them deal with their anxiety when you can’t promise them they will be safe? This is an opportunity to check-in with yourself and get your own emotions under control before you begin a conversation with your students. We recommend identifying the strategies you use to regulate your ‘red’ emotions  --using these strategies will best prepare you for the conversation and serve as examples for your students. Some of us use gratitude to shift our mood, some of us use self talk “I will do everything I can to be as safe as I can,” many of us rely on our ‘best self’ to help bring us from our own anxiety to a compassionate place with our students. Next, lead a brief class discussion about the events that occurred in Paris on Friday. Use this time as an opportunity to gather information about how much your students may know or not know. Clarify any erroneous information and be careful not to embellish with unwarranted detail. Then, segue into a Mood Meter check-in where you plot yourself first and go through the R-U-L-E-R questions.  It is important to be authentic and clear about your own feelings. You can share with the class how difficult a weekend it was for you and how you kept thinking of the people in Paris and what feelings that raised.  Identify and label your own feelings of sadness and anxiety. When you share your plot on the Mood Meter stay calm and try to moderate your own emotions as best you can. Do not feel you have to avoid telling your students that you are in the BLUE because you are so sad about this tragedy or in the RED because it makes you angry that people can behave this way or this event made you feel frightened. Do tell your students that you are ok, even though you have these sad or scared feelings. The most important thing is to be real and then share how you are regulating your own feelings – thought strategies, like the ones above, and action strategies.  For many 

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Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk in New York City

Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk in New York City

On November 1st and 2nd, Dr. Dena Simmons presented at the inaugural TED Talks Live at the Town Hall Theater in New York City’s Theater district under the umbrella topic of “The Education Revolution.” Dena’s talk drew from her life experiences as a student, teacher, researcher, and activist, in an attempt to engage the audience in a discourse about race, power, and privilege in our nation’s education system. Dena put forth the belief that if educational initiatives for students are to be successful, these initiatives must address the history of racism and inequality that perpetuates an unsustainable cycle that disadvantages some students--mainly students of color. Further, she pushed the audience to consider the emotional danger students experience when they are forced to erase who they are in order to experience success at school. Dena currently works as the Director of Implementation at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where she oversees education, training, and coaching initiatives at the Center as well as the scaling up of the RULER program, the Center’s approach to social and emotional learning. Photo Credit - Ryan Lash 

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Seedlings Institute for School Leaders

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, in partnership with the Seedlings Foundation, is excited to offer an opportunity for districts seeking to join the movement to build emotionally intelligent school communities.   The Seedlings Foundation supports programs that nourish the physical and mental health of children and families, and foster an educated and engaged citizenship. Since 2005, the Seedlings Educators Collaborative has provided professional development, ongoing support, and resources to educators from diverse school environments. In a supportive and actively engaging setting, educators forge ongoing relationships and community connections and leave with tools to support them throughout their careers. Paramount to this effort is providing a stimulating and nurturing environment, away from the day-to-day demands of the classroom. Seedlings educators spend time in an immersive and engaging professional development program that introduces them to educational resources they might not otherwise encounter and provides a network for sustaining the work. At the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we know that for leaders, emotions drive the effectiveness of all daily interactions - with colleagues, parents, and students - and impact school climate and culture. For educators, emotions drive their effectiveness in creating positive classroom environments and fostering student learning. For students, emotions drive their ability to learn, make effective decisions, build relationships, and perform their best academically. Ultimately, transformational leadership at the district level greatly impacts the work of reaching students. By fusing the missions of Seedlings and the Center, we endeavor to enhance both transformational leadership and emotional intelligence skills and strategies through the Seedlings Institute for School Leaders. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence offers this multi-day master class as a way to provide a foundation for understanding and implementing emotional intelligence as well as a space to reflect and recharge with like-minded leaders. The Seedlings Institute gives district-level team members the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to build emotional intelligence - the skills of recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion - in all stakeholders at schools. It also explores leadership development topics, such as visioning, conflict management, and systems thinking. We are excited to convene district and school leaders for this immersive and rejuvenating experience, which occurs each summer at Yale. Through a generous grant from the Seedlings Foundation, districts can access this professional development opportunity at a fraction of the actual cost. School leaders who attend the Seedlings Institute will also attend an Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute with a leadership team from their school. The Anchors Institute, through the research-based and CASEL SELect approach for social and emotional learning called RULER, will prepare pilot school teams to implement the skills and tools of emotional intelligence both among staff and in the classroom. With district-level support and development opportunities provided for school leaders, this partnership aims to see large-scale positive shifts in the culture of the district, schools, and broader community. To contact us for more information about the Seedlings Institute for School Leaders, click here.   

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Yale and Lady Gaga Host Teens to Talk About Emotions

Yale and Lady Gaga Host Teens to Talk About Emotions

Yale News ~ October 25th, 2015 | The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Born This Way Foundation, created by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, hosted teens from across the country to discuss the importance of emotions in school and life at the Emotion Revolution daylong summit at the Yale School of Management on Oct. 24. Lady Gaga joined 200 high school students, top policy makers, and academic officials, including Yale President Peter Salovey, a pioneer in the study of emotional intelligence, to discuss ways to recognize and channel emotions for positive outcomes. Full Article 

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Blumenthal, Sandy Hook Parent to Push Social/Emotional Learning

CTPost.com ~ August 10th, 2015 | This could be the year of reading, writing and social/emotional health. For more than a year now, the Bridgeport Public School system has been working toward the roll out of a new Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence program that promises to change the culture of the city school system by tapping into the social and emotional well-being of students and staff. They call it RULER, as in “Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating” emotions. Full Article 

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Real Schools – Lyceé Français New York

Real Schools – Lyceé Français New York

Lyceé Français – Innovation With Parent Engagement By Rose Nisker BACKGROUND The Lyceé Français de New York (LFNY) is an independent bilingual school for students from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Founded in 1935 by Comte Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle, then French Consul General in New York, the school follows the academic curriculum established by the French National Ministry of Education, while incorporating aspects of the American educational system. LFNY’s single building campus is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, occupying a full city block in one of the country’s most expensive neighborhoods. With 1,367 students representing 45 nationalities, LFNY has a distinctly international feel. Its bilingual environment is bolstered by a student body comprised of one-third French citizens and another third made up of French-American dual-citizens. A central part of the school’s stated purpose is to provide teaching methods that “reflect both the French standards of intellectual rigor and the American traditions of pragmatism, positive reinforcement, initiative, and creativity.” Lyceé Français DE NEW YORK AND RULER In 2013, Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and RULER co-creator Dr. Marc Brackett visited Anne Harlam’s pre-k classroom at LFNY. The students were eager to share the many RULER-based projects they had been developing all year, including their classroom Mood Meter. When Brackett asked the students to report on their emotional state, a little girl raised her hand enthusiastically. “I’m in the yellow!” she declared. When asked why, she responded, “Because the Mood Meter man is here!!” The little girl in Harlam’s class isn’t the only RULER enthusiast at LFNY– the Head of Primary School, Vannina Boussouf, is also a fan. Boussouf was first introduced to RULER 3 years ago through a webinar program with Dr. Brackett. She was looking for a social and emotional learning program that would fit her school’s unique bilingual, international environment. “We are not only bilingual, we are bicultural,” Boussouf explains emphatically. “We needed a program that our teachers could translate and adapt for the cultural backgrounds at our school.” She knew that anything with a rigid format and highly circumscribed materials wasn’t going to fly, especially with the French team of teachers and administrators at LFNY. “Many social and emotional learning programs have a very American spirit,” she says with a chuckle. “It can come across as too positive or artificial for those coming from a French background.” Boussouf felt that the flexibility of the RULER program was ideal for both her French and American teaching and administrative teams. “RULER presented a framework with very versatile tools which we could take and alter to fit our school.” Excited by the webinar, Boussouf encouraged 3 LFNY teachers to attend the RULER training, each one representing a different Primary School grade-level and language specialty– Pre-K English teacher Anne Harlam; Veronica McGivney Park, a bilingual 1st grade teacher who heads the English program in the Primary School, and Daphnee Marchini, a bilingual 5th grade teacher with a French emphasis. “We wanted them to be able to come back and train all of our teachers, administrators and parents,” says Boussouf. Boussouf also encouraged the PTA to bring Dr. Brackett to speak to LFNY parents. The packed event was a compelling introduction to the program, and parents were eager to participate in follow-up RULER trainings led by Harlam, Marchini and McGivney Park. For LFNY’s bilingual community, the RULER-trained teachers report that even just the act of translating the RULER materials into French has been beneficial in inspiring social and emotional awareness. When 5th grade teacher Marchini was translating some of the words for the Mood Meter, it became clear that there were cultural differences as 

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