“If you can name it, you can tame it!”
These are words of wisdom from Marc Brackett, Founding Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. We are using Brackett’s approach to social emotional learning (RULER), and part of that work is to teach children (and adults) to name their feelings (and then try to shift them if desired). The single act of naming your emotion with precise language is supposed to help you begin to deal with your feelings in more constructive ways.
I’m trying that today. As we try to figure out this distance learning model, I’m finding that some things that were pretty straightforward when we were doing this teaching and learning thing in our schoolhouses, are rather complicated when using technology. Everything seems to take too long to figure out.
Read Aloud, for example, turns out to be a pretty complicated idea. When we first shut our schools last week, I made a list of things I could do during this remote learning period. One of those ideas was to video or audio record some Interactive Read Alouds. I figured this would be a nice way to stay connected with children and families, a way to help teachers with their literacy instruction, and a powerful way to layer in some good teaching and learning. But then I started hearing about copyright issues. I get it. We certainly want our authors to benefit from the sale of books, and we would never want to impact their work in a negative way. I just never thought it would be so complicated.
A group of us worked together on this for the last few days. We tried to read and understand the law, we talked with each other, we reached out to librarians and technology experts, we talked with other teachers via Twitter and email and Facebook, and we tried to get some sort of guidance from our district administrators. Eventually we found a way to record Read Alouds and share them with families without violating any laws or hurting any of our favorite authors. It’s just that it took such a long time.
Naming my emotions has been helpful. I feel a bit calmer. I feel like I’m being authentic and sharing how I feel with all of you. Now I need to move to the next step, which is working to shift my feelings to a more positive place. Hopefully I can make that happen.
Thanks for listening! It helped.