Classroom Mood Meter Activity | Facing History & Ourselves
Two middle school students write with pencils on a big paper activity.
Activity

Mood Meter

This mood meter activity develops students’ vocabulary for describing their feelings and their empathy muscles.

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At a Glance

Activity

Language

English — US

Subject

  • Advisory
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12
  • Culture & Identity
  • Equity & Inclusion

Overview

About Mood Meters

This activity helps students recognize how they are feeling and learn strategies for regulating their emotions. Using a mood meter also helps teachers understand how their students are feeling so they can make a plan to follow up one-on-one as needed. Over time and with repeated use of the mood meter, students can develop an increasingly sophisticated vocabulary to describe their feelings and work their empathy muscles by listening to their peers and strategizing about ways to support them.

Preparing to Teach

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Procedure

How to Use a Mood Meter in Your Classroom

  1. Model Your Mood. Display Marc Brackett’s Mood Meter and model the routine for students by pointing to where you place yourself on the graph. As you identify the color on the Mood Meter that represents how you are feeling, do a “think aloud” to explain how the square represents your state of mind and what might be causing you to feel this way. 
  2. Students Chart Their Moods. Next, have students identify and plot how they are feeling on a Mood Meter handout that you create (or that they create in their journals). Then ask students to respond to the following questions in their journals: Where do you place yourself on the Mood Meter right now? What emotion best describes what you are feeling? What might be causing you to feel this way?
  3. Debrief and Discuss. Debrief in a quick Wraparound activity. If time allows, discuss strategies as a class that can help improve a person’s energy and mood.

Variations

Share your screen to show Marc Brackett’s Mood Meter and model the routine for students by explaining where you place yourself on the graph. As you identify the color on the Mood Meter that represents how you are feeling, do a “think aloud” to explain how the square represents your state of mind and what might be causing you to feel this way. 

Next, pose the question to the class: Where would you place yourself right now? First, have students write their color in the chat. Then have them write their coordinates. Finally, ask them to name their emotion. If time allows, create breakout groups and have each group come up with a strategy that could help someone improve their energy and mood. Groups can share their ideas in the chat, on a virtual whiteboard, in a shared Google Doc, or verbally.

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif