Rolling out RULER–STEM K-8’s new Social and Emotional Curriculum

At STEM K-8 we understand that emotions matter! This year, we are excited to be using RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that helps school communities integrate the teaching of emotional intelligence into daily life. RULER teaches five key emotional intelligence skills:

  • Recognizing – Identifying emotion in oneself and others by interpreting facial expressions, body language, vocal tones and physiological reactions.
  • Understanding – Knowing the causes and consequences of emotions, including the influence of different emotions on thinking, learning, decisions, and behavior
  • Labeling – Using a wide range of emotion words, developing a rich feeling word vocabulary.
  • Expressing – Knowing how and when to express emotions with different people and in multiple contexts (nonverbal, written, and spoken)
  • Regulating – Developing strategies that help us manage our emotions to support healthy relationships and achieve goals.

RULER integrates these skills into the academic curriculum and provides opportunities for students and all the key adults involved in their education – teachers, administrators, and family members – to learn and apply these skills.

What are the positive outcomes of RULER?

  • Improved academic performance (11-12% increase in standardized test scores)
  • Reduced aggression (handling unpleasant feelings in socially acceptable ways)
  • Reduced anxiety
  • More supportive, productive, and compassionate classrooms
  • We look forward to partnering with you and sharing more about RULER. Please keep an eye on the school calendar and newsletter for RULER resources and workshops we will offer to help you practice the skills of emotional intelligence at home.

More detailed information on RULER:

RULER is comprised of four Anchor Tools. These are evidence-based tools designed to enhance the emotional intelligence of school leaders, teachers and staff, and students and their families.

The Anchor Tools include:

  • Charter Each classroom will create a Charter that describes how they want to feel in class, what needs to happen to support those feelings and guidelines for handling conflict.
  • Mood Meter A tool for recognizing and labeling one’s feelings.
  • Meta Moments A 6 step process that teaches self-regulation strategies and how to handle stressful situations.
  • Blueprint A problem-solving tool for navigating conflicts in which students consider each other’s feelings and identify effective solutions.

STEM K-8’s introduction (to staff and students) of RULER began with the Charter.  The Charter is designed to support a positive culture and climate. Unlike “rules” of conduct, an Emotional Intelligence Charter represents agreed-upon norms for how everyone will be treated, including (1) how leaders, teachers, and students want to feel in school, (2) what everyone needs to do to feel that way consistently, and (3) guidelines for how to handle uncomfortable feelings.

The process of creating a Charter involves responding to three questions:

  • How do we want to feel in school each day? Everyone is asked to think about what these feelings will look like in school in terms of specific, measurable, observable behaviors. In other words, what will the group need to do each day to ensure everyone experiences these feelings?
  • What will we do to have these feelings consistently and create a positive learning environment? The class first discusses (A) the uncomfortable feelings and unwanted behaviors they would like to avoid experiencing in school and then (B) how these feelings and behaviors will be handled and how conflict will be prevented and managed, including what happens when the Charter is breached.
  • How will we prevent and manage conflict and unwanted feelings?

Once all three questions are answered, the Charter is written or typed up, signed by everyone in the group, and posted somewhere visible so it can be referred to and revisited for amendments as needed.



Center for the Collaborative Classroom (CCC) Literacy Curriculum

Some notes on the Collaborative Classroom Literacy Curriculum students are experiencing this year:

Grades K-2 of Collaborative Literacy are comprised of three programs, or modules. Being a Reader is the module that helps children in kindergarten through grade 2 learn how to read. In whole-class Word Study lessons, students learn about patterns and parts in words. They sort words and discuss them with partners and with the class. Word Study lessons help students explore how words work. During the first few weeks of Being a Reader, students learn to work independently in reading, writing, and word work. Teaching students to work independently allows me to begin Small-group Reading within a few weeks of starting school. Small-group Reading is targeted reading instruction with groups of students who are working on similar reading skills. The students in each group get the individual instruction that they need, and they read books that are at their reading level.

Students K-2 and 3-5 will participate in Making Meaning.  This module is designed to help students build their reading comprehension. The students hear books read aloud and discuss them with partners and the class. They learn key comprehension strategies readers use to help them understand what they read, including wondering (questioning), using text features, and determining important ideas. At upper grades they learn strategies that including questioning, analyzing text structure, determining important ideas, and summarizing. They also practice reading independently every day during Individualized Daily Reading (IDR). The first unit of Making Meaning focuses on building a reading community. The students talk about what they like to read. They listen to, read, and discuss stories. They also practice the social skill of listening carefully to others.

Students K-5 also participate in Being a WriterBeing a Writer helps students build their writing skills. The students hear and discuss examples of good writing and write original pieces in a variety of genres. During the first unit of Being a Writer, the students practice the social skills of working responsibly, listening respectfully to the thinking of others, sharing their own thinking, and showing interest in and appreciation for others’ writing. These skills help the students build a supportive writing community.