students and emotional literacy

We recently had an all staff workshop on emotional literacy.  In the follow up survey, we were asked something along the lines of "was this presented as a useful tool for your classrooms?"
Using emotional literacy in the classroom was not the focus of this workshop.  It was more of an overview, an introduction, an entry to observing your own emotional states.  But we did talk briefly about when it might be useful to tap into students emotions in the classroom.
As a science teacher in particular, I don't normally think about emotions as a part of thinking through the logic of why electrical shielding does or does not occur in a certain situation.  Though I suspect our presenter would say that the kind of focus I use to do so is a subjective state, and therefore a mood or emotion.  And whether or not I am aware of how emotions come into play in the classroom, I can tell you our students definitely are.
Last week I showed a video on lightning, and there was a segment on lightning striking humans.  The video included the story of Noah Eig, a boy the same age as my students who was killed by a lightning strike.  I was a little concerned that the matter was too scary, shocking, or upsetting for my students.  I personally found the photos of the scene after the lightning strike to be gruesome.  So I outright asked them about it after the video.
They responded that it got them interested, and they definitely wanted to know about how to protect themselves in a lightning storm.  They were primed and focused to pay attention when the video told them what to do if they find themselves outside in a sudden storm.
But then they did something that surprised me:  they critiqued the apparent emotional states of the people they saw in the video recounting the story of the storm and the fatal lightning strike.  They were very much aware of their tone of voice and facial expressions, and how they did or did not match the content of their words.
It seems so obvious now, how could I not expect them to be aware of that?  But it was not something I would have taken into account when choosing or making a presentation.  Attention to emotional literacy could improve these kinds of presentations when used appropriately.

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