Your child has been learning tools to develop the skills of emotional intelligence; to understand and manage their feelings effectively, to make better decisions, build healthy relationships, and be successful learners.
There are four steps to the Meta Moment that you can see in the diagram below. Please ask your child
Please ask your child to explain how it works.
The Meta-Moment is our tool for teaching children and adults how to recognize and regulate emotions with a lot of energy and unpleasantness (e.g. anger, frustration, fear). The Meta Moment is a process that begins by recognizing or sensing when we are in the RED and choosing to use our breath to calm down. Calming down helps us to think clearly about what we want to do to reach our goals. But simply saying “calm down” doesn’t work if you haven’t developed the skills to do so.
Next, the children identify the qualities about themselves that they are proudest of: their “Best Self.” By identifying these qualities, the children are better able to brainstorm strategies that will be most effective.
Taking a Meta-Moment has helped all us at school to be our Best Selves. Ask your child to explain more about how the Meta-Moment works, and consider using the Meta-Moment as one of your own go-to strategies at home.
As a mom and principal, the meta-moment has helped me tremendously. We look forward to sharing a video blog with you shortly to share more information on the meta-moment and being your BEST SELF.
As a school leaders, we often walk around the building actively looking and listening to what students are saying and doing to notice what warms their hearts, makes them feel inspired, or sad and to celebrate all that they are discovering as learners and social young beings.
On days like this, we're reminded of how fortunate we are to be living and learning in a community that cultivates curiosity, authentic learning experiences, resilience and the love of learning in our classrooms, as well as beyond our classroom walls. Every students' story matters and their perspective on what makes our school a special place is of great value. Our students are our best resource!
This year, we decided to have students come together to create a school song that is reflective of our community of learners. Students were led through grade level assemblies where they were asked the following questions:
1. How do you feel at Chatsworth?
2. What is special about Chatsworth?
3. What memorable experiences have you had?
After gathering the information from students, it was time to compose the lyrics for our school song. Beth and Scott Bierko, from Bierko Productions LLC, worked with Mrs. Zimmerman, Ms. Scharfstein and I to create the final version of Chatsworth's School Song. Please enjoy reading the lyrics that highlighted what our students value at Chatsworth. Stay tuned for an audio-recording of the Chatsworth chimes singing it in person!
Your child has been learning how to use a few tools to develop the skills of emotional intelligence. These skills will help them understand and manage their feelings effectively, make better decisions, build healthy relationships, and be top learners.
The Mood Meter is a self-awareness tool for teaching children and adults how to recognize and regulate their emotions effectively. The Mood Meter is divided into 4 quadrants – red, blue, green, and yellow – each represents a different set of feelings. Different feelings are grouped together on the Mood Meter based on their pleasantness and energy level.
This Mood Meter has already become indispensable to our faculty and children Ask your child to explain more about how the Mood Meter works and how it's used in their classroom. Are you curious to learn more? Stay tuned for our next video blog about how to use the mood meter!
Here is a sample of a family charter that you might considering using in your home.
As a family, we want to feel ...
Appreciated, understood, and happy.
In order to have these feelings, we will...
Laugh, share our own feelings honestly, avoid sarcasm. listen respectfully, remember we love each other
We will manage conflict by...
Talking about potential conflicts before they happen. Letting each other take a moment when in a bad mood. Respecting each other's boundaries, need, and struggles.
Last year, we started a school-wide inquiry to learn about RULER, which is out of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER is an approach to teaching emotionally smart skills to children. It reinforces that emotions matter and focuses on how to build a student’s toolbox to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate their emotions. This past year, we professionally studied the main anchor tools to discover how we can eventually implement this body of work into our classrooms. This effort is to build upon all of the social and emotional learning already at place at Chatsworth!
So much of RULER involves how we relate to ourselves and to one another. As the adults in the community, we are committed to modeling and practicing the skills of healthy emotional intelligence. This includes, interacting in ways that create a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued, works well together, and manages our emotions so that we can be successful in reaching our goals.
One of the ways we’ve been cultivating a positive emotional school climate is by writing our own staff charter.
The charter will help all of us who work at Chatsworth to understand and deal effectively with the spectrum of emotions and situations we experience. It will help us create the school culture we all want. Last year, our faculty gathered to ask ourselves these 3 questions:
The five feeling words we all want to live by at Chatsworth are:
Pleasurable emotions, such as satisfaction with teaching, understanding relationships with colleagues, students and families, and pride in student accomplishment- all enhance health, well-being and performance - for teachers and students alike. This charter is living and will be re-visited throughout the school year to keep it alive and change when our feelings shift.
Please be on the lookout to learn more about your child’s classroom charter! We just celebrated the many classroom charters that were created across the school building. Together, we noticed similarities and differences in each of the charters, while exploring the significance of what resonated with us. For example, many charters demonstrated that children want to feel safe and included when at school.
Take a moment to ask your child about how they want to feel in their classroom environment. You may also want to consider how they’d like to feel at home. Families will have an opportunity to learn more about this at our first Principal’s Coffee. Date to be released soon!
We look forward to sharing more about our RULER journey, as it continues.
Our partnership with Little Flower Yoga School Project began in 2014. This partnership has evolved over time at Chatsworth. Our shared efforts have always centered on teaching the staff and students about the power of using the tools of yoga and mindfulness practices to develop inner resiliency needed to navigate physical, mental and emotional stress in their world. The goals we strive towards are as follows:
Please take some time to ask your children about what they are learning about during their classroom visits from Argos, and other instructors from Little Flower Yoga. If you couldn't join our first parent workshop hosted by Mayuri Gonzalez, from Little Flower Yoga, then join us on May 10th at 1:30! Learn all about taking mindfulness practices to your home.
Here are a few resources for you to explore and could possibly empower you with some mindful movement with your child.
https://www.gonoodle.com/ GoNoodle provides children with hundreds of videos that play on movement and mindfulness. So much fun!
http://littlefloweryoga.com/books These are yoga and mindfulness books written by Jennifer Harper Cohen, and other leaders in contemplative practices that develop and strength practices from children.
The Book of the Month is a book selected by a committee of teachers, along with Ms. Zadrima and myself, in order to share with the students and teachers each month. Each teacher is given a new book of the month and a letter that introduces the book, with possible practices to try with their classes. The books selected always have topics that send our students school-wide messages that build character, and encourage discourse in the classroom around important themes.
Book of the Month was a tradition that I started in September of 2012, as a new assistant principal to Chatsworth. This tradition has evolved over time and one that we believe is important in contributing to cultivating a culture of shared values within our school community. We are proud of the rich picture books selected and presented to our students each month. The teachers are encouraged to share their students’ responses with the school community, which you might have noticed posted on our bulletin board in the main entrance. It always is amazing to see how the varied messages that authors send, resonate differently with each of our students, yet there are always similarities in the universal themes.
Some titles that have been shared this year are as follows:
The Golden Rule by IIene Cooper
Check out these short clips of the shows that your children attended.
As a Chatsworth community, we continue to value sending our students messages that build moral character through Book of the Month, and other opportunities at our school. #ChatsworthValues
#BetterTogether week that ran from February 5th through the 9th. This week long effort was led by our parent community, in conjunction with the entire Chatsworth staff. This was made possible because of collaborative efforts, relying on one another to plan, execute, and celebrate the differences in us all.
#BetterTogether is an initiative that promotes messages of awareness of others, inclusivity, possibility, and responsibility while exploring and understanding how people with different abilities live and see the world around them. Our students at Chatsworth were able to learn about and experience what a person might feel like, or how the adapt to living with a specific difference that impacts some aspects of their lives. Each grade level learned about differences; such as visual and hearing impairment, physical needs, the autism spectrum, down syndrome, and look into how we are all unique. This work happened in the classrooms where parents and teachers together joined our students to teach into appreciating and understanding how others live in the world with differences. Most importantly, there differences don't limit their possibilities to achieve, and strive for the stars, just like they do!
This week also enabled us to invite speakers to share their own stories and journeys with our second through fifth graders.
Chloe Weiser, who is a senior at Mamaroneck High School came to share story with our second grade students about what it's like to live with hearing loss, as well as the technology that is changing the world for people who has hearing loss. She discussed how she worked with researchers at Columbia University to design a microphone for cochlear implants, which will be implantable allowing people to swim and bathe with it. The students learned about what it means to have hearing loss, and various ways to communicate; such as use of lip reading, and sign-language. Receiving the Original Science Research and Acorda Scientific Excellence Award communicated the impact of what perseverance and passion can do for us!
Rachel Handler also came to speak to our second and third grade students about being a singer, actor, and dancer who has performed in Carnegie Hall, off and on broadway, and in episodes of Law and Order, and other televised shows. She sang, "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, to highlight how anything is achievable. Rachel communicated how supported she felt from her family and friends on her road to recovery. There was also an opportunity for her to highlight other individuals living and thriving from new technologies, support teams, and hard work that enable anything to happen. She played videos for the students of her dancing shortly after her accident, and others who have succeed in continuing to follow their dreams and passions. The students loved hearing and learning about who she is and what she believes!
Here is a link to her page http://www.rachelahandler.com/
Up next, Rebecca Alexander came to speak to our 4th and 5th graders about what life is like living with usher's syndrome. Rebecca is a psychotherapist, author, keynote speaker, fitness instructor and a disability rights advocate. Her presentation send messages to students that even strong people need help, and not to shy away from a person who has a disability even though your first reaction can be that it's weird and uncomfortable. Rebecca discussed the how it's important to help others who might be having difficulty, the same way that you would want to be treated. Rebecca also shared with students about her adventures that included climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and swam from Alcatraz to the shore in the San Francisco Bay. I'm not sure many of us can say the same! Rebecca is an inspiration, and someone who reminded us all that it's important to remember how fortunate we are. Being able to do the smallest things is a gift.
Here is the link to her page http://www.rebalexander.com/
I leave you with some student quotes about the week.
Some tools that are already used in the classrooms to support mindfulness work...
Happy New Year! As we launch into the second half of the school year, we would like to update you on our progress with the implementation of RULER at Chatsworth. You might remember from our welcome back letter to the community that this was one of our goals for this school year. You might be asking, what does RULER stand for and what it is... Well, RULER teaches five key skills of emotional intelligence:
Recognizing emotions in one’s self and others.
Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions.
Labeling emotions accurately.
Expressing emotions appropriately.
Regulating emotions effectively.
This is an evidence-based approach, out of Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence, led by Marc Bracket, which supports and develops social and emotional learning that helps school communities integrate the practice of emotional intelligence into daily life.
So much of RULER involves how we relate to ourselves and to one another. As the adults in the community, we are committed to modeling and practicing the skills of healthy emotional intelligence. This includes, interacting in ways that create a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued, working well together, and managing our emotions so that we can be successful in reaching our goals.
One of the ways we’ve been continuing to cultivate a positive emotional school climate is by writing our own Chatsworth Charter. The staff charter will help all of us who work at Chatsworth continue to understand and deal effectively with the spectrum of emotions and situations we experience. It will help us to continue to build and maintain the school culture we all want. Our faculty has gathered over several faculty meetings, this year so far, to ask ourselves these 3 questions:
If you’re curious about our faculty charter, please keep your eyes open around the school building. The charter will be posted shortly!
We look forward to partnering with you and sharing more about this approach
Our next step is to introduce the anchor tools to our staff. The first tool up is the mood meter!
Here is a link to read more if you're interested. http://ei.yale.edu/ruler/ruler-overview/
Every year, our physical education teachers organize Chatsworth's Turkey Shoot for our third, fourth and fifth grade students. This is a tradition that all children look forward to participating in when they become third graders. Our teachers also get very excited to take part in this event, which does become a bit competitive! Every year, I'm struck by how supportive the crowds are for their peers, as the finalists stand tall, take deep breaths, and try their best in front of the entire grade level. Cheering on friends with words of encouragement fill the gymnasium, as the basketball launches into the air, and attempts to swish, or rebound of the rim. The children are brave, resilient, and always feel successful, even when they don't necessarily "win" the shoot.
This annual event is in conjunction with our Turkey Food Drive. All students bring either canned goods, cereal, or dry milk to contribute to the Mamaroneck Food Pantry. This is always a community effort that Mr. Romano and Ms. Glickman describe as "overflowing bags of love" that are donated to help others. As Hellen Keller says..."Alone we can do so little, together we can so much."
As you prepare for your own annual Thanksgiving, let's all be thankful for the many gifts that we endure each and every day within the school walls, and in our community.
Today, I am thankful for my Chatsworth Family.