Thurgood Marshall Elementary


Using RULER at Home

What is RULER and How Can We Use it at Home?

What is RULER?

  • RULER is a Research-based program created by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence 
  • RULER is a program used to help students, families, and educators build emotional intelligence
  • RULER is an acronym used to remember the different aspects of emotional intelligence. RULER stands for:
    • R ecognizing emotions in self and others
    • U nderstanding the causes and consequences of emotions
    • L abeling emotions accurately
    • E xpressing emotions appropriately
    • R egulating emotions effectively

Why do we use it at school?

  • Research has shown many benefits of the RULER curriculum including:
    • Students using RULER have better academic performance
    • RULER increases emotional intelligence and social skills
    • Decreases anxiety and depression
    • Improves school climate
    • Students using RULER are less likely to bully other students
    • Students using RULER have better leadership skills and attention
    • Teachers have better relationships with students, less burnout, better relationships with administrators, and are more positive about teaching

The Four Anchor Tools of RULER and how to use them at home

  1. The Charter
    • The Charter helps enhance school climate and community well-being through establishing common goals and a shared vision.
    • It is a document created by the community (the classroom or the family)- everyone should be part of the process.
    • The Charter clearly and specifically outlines what is needed to build a supportive and productive learning environment.
    • The Charter fosters a sense of shared accountability for behaviors and reduces unkind behaviors.

      How to Use The Charter at Home:

    • Create a family charter of shared ideas for how everyone will be treated at home.
    • The family charter should answer questions such as:
      • How do you want to feel at home?
      • What behaviors help make those feelings? What can you do each day to make sure that everyone experiences those feelings? Be specific!
      • How should we prevent and manage unwanted feelings/conflict?
    • Revisit the charter regularly and use it to reflect- for example, “What have we done to appreciate each other this week?”
    • Add to the charter as needed.
    • The Charter should be signed by everyone and displayed in a visible area.
    • Here is a template to help you create your own family charter
  2. The Mood Meter
    • The Mood Meter helps develop emotional awareness through recognition and communication of feelings.
    • It is a color-coded chart used to graph feelings based on energy and pleasantness levels.
    • The Mood Meter helps families and educators know how to best meet students’ needs.

      How to Use The Mood Meter at Home:

    • Post a mood meter in your home in a visible area. Make your own or use these mood meter templates
    • Use a nametag, special magnet, photo, or picture to represent each family member- check-in throughout the day (morning, after school/work, bedtime) and move your image around depending on your mood.
    • Ask questions: Where are you on the mood meter? What caused you to feel that way? How can you stay there or move to a different quadrant? What is that emotion called? How can I help you move to the green?
    • Talk about how to prevent or reduce red and blue feelings and how to initiate, maintain, and enhance yellow and green feelings.
    • While some emotions may be uncomfortable, remember, there are no ‘bad’ emotions, all feelings are ok!
    • Keep a journal: Use different colors for different moods. Use the journal to understand what triggers different feelings. *There’s a mood meter app to help track your mood*
    • Plot characters in a book on the Mood Meter: where are they on the Mood Meter? Why? How can they stay or move to a different quadrant?
    • Come up with a song that represents each quadrant and play a song to express or generate different emotions.
  3. The Meta-Moment
    • Helps students handle strong emotions so that they can make better decisions
    • It is a brief ‘step-back’ from the situation
    • Teaches students to pause and think before acting and consider how their ‘best self’ would react in the situation

      How to Use the Meta-Moment at Home:

    • Know the Meta-Moment Steps: Knowing the steps will help you assist your child during triggering events
      • Step 1: Something happens- There is a triggering event that causes an unpleasant feeling
      • Step 2: Sense- How are you feeling? How does your body feel?
      • Step 3: Stop- Before reacting, pause for a second to assess what is happening.
      • Step 4: See your best self- Visualize your best self, use positive self-talk and visioning
      • Step 5: Strategize- What would your best self do in this situation?
      • Step 6: Succeed!- Reflect on the successful result, what made it successful? How can you use this knowledge next time you are triggered?
    • Model the steps yourself when YOU are triggered.
    • Practice breathing exercises and positive self-talk BEFORE a triggering event occurs so that you know exactly what to do in the moment
    • Post a reminder of the steps in a visible spot. Here is a Meta-Moment Steps poster to help
  4. The Blueprint
    • The Blueprint helps students and educators manage conflict.
    • Students learn to consider a disagreement from another person’s perspective.
    • The Blueprint helps develop empathy through considering the feelings of others.
    • This tool helps people work together to identify healthy solutions to conflicts.

How to Use the Blueprint at Home:

  • Use questions during disagreements and problem-solving to help your child understand what someone else might be thinking/feeling. For example:
    • How do I feel? How does the other person feel?
    • What caused my feelings? What caused the other person’s feelings?
    • How did I express/regulate my feelings? How did the other person express/regulate their feelings?
    • What could I have done to handle the situation better?
  • Help your child consider the perspective of characters in books/movies.
  • Here is a blueprint worksheet to help

Feeling Words Curriculum

  • Helps students expand their vocabulary of emotion words.
  • Through developing a richer emotional vocabulary, it becomes easier to understand and support your child’s needs.
    • For example: If you ask your student how they are feeling and they say, “Bad” it is more difficult to know how to support them than if they say, “Angry” “Sad” “Disappointed” etc.
      How to Use the Feeling Words Curriculum at Home:
    • Tell a personal story or read a story together. Then ask your child…
      • How did the character felt?
      • How do you know they felt this way? What were the clues?
      • When was a time you felt the same way?
      • What did you do when you felt that way?
    • Ask your child to imagine what he/she would do or say if they had a friend that was feeling _________ (scared, sad, mad, etc)
    • Draw pictures of what different emotions look like or make songs of what different emotions sound like
    • Play a game!


Feel free to contact Meghan Kaloper, Thurgood Marshall School Counselor at: 206-252-2808 or

Additional Resources for Families

More resources, activities, and videos:

More information and research basis for RULER:

RULER Program Positively Impacts Student Behavior and Achievement

Document created by Lizzie Ward, Seattle University, MAEd Candidate, 2016


Brackett, M., Caruso, D., & Stern, R. The anchors of emotional intelligence
Great Kids! (2016). Tools for families. Great Schools Yale tools for Families
Kubitz, M. (2015). Family charter: Shared goals, shared feelings.
Kubitz, M. (2015). Feeling words curriculum
Kubitz, M., (2015). The blueprint: resolving conflict by looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. Retrieved from Kubitz, M. (2016). Family charter: Shared goals, shared feelings.
Kubitz, M. (2015). The meta-moment: Controlling our emotions before they control us.
Kubitz, M. (2016). The mood meter: A tool to developing greater self-awareness of others.
Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (2013). The anchors of emotional intelligence.