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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in social emotional learning

Posted by on in General


This happens every year. I’m always wondering where the summer went. If only I had one more morning to sleep in. I wish I had spent just one more weekend at the beach. I still have three books on my Kindle that I haven’t gotten to yet. Once school starts next week I don’t know when I’ll find time to read them.

How many more days? I’m tired of just sittin’ around all day. This summer took longer than last. I’m glad they gave us that reading list. I hope the teacher will be cool with me reading all but two of the books. The library didn’t have ’em and mom wouldn’t let me buy any. Said they cost too much.

I’m really wondering how I’m going to be able to cover all of these new standards and teach a brand new grade. Sometimes I wonder if they really think about all of the changes we have to make at once.

I guess I understand why I couldn’t get those books. Since Mom got a new job and we had to move, money has been tight. I just wish I didn’t have to share a bed with my brother. If he’d stop having those nightmares I could probably get some sleep.

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Posted by on in What If?


When teachers assign student reading, it’s not usually the social-emotional domain that’s the focus of the activity. But if we’re to address the whole child, we have to be aware that books have an impact on students’ hearts as well as their heads.

That’s the focus of an article titled “Literature’s Emotional Lessons,” written by teacher Andrew Simmons. In it he tells the story of a 10th-grade student whose emotional reaction to Piggy’s death scene in Lord of the Flies caused her to flee the room. He writes

In my experience teaching and observing other teachers, students spend a lot of time learning academic skills and rarely even talk about the emotional reactions they may have to what they read—even when stories, as they often do, address dark themes.The Common Core Standardspush students to become clinical crafters of arguments and masters of academic language. While these are essential skills to possess, the fact that my other students appear perfectly comfortable not acknowledging and discussing emotional responses to literature may be as revelatory as this one student’s teary dash from class. Inundated with video games, movies, and memes, teenagers often seem hard to shake up. Characters are fictitious abstractions, and, without actors to bring them to life and makeup and digital tricks to make the drama feel real, students may strictly do the analytical work teachers expect without the interference of a significant emotional response. That’s a bad thing. An emotional response should be part of the curriculum.

Most likely, there’s some concern among teachers about the time such emotional explorations would take, considering there are standards to be met and tests to be passed. But there are standards for the social-emotional domain as well and literature provides a perfect jumping-off point for addressing them.

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Posted by on in Leadership

Loving Recklessly

This post was co-written with Todd Nesloney. You can find his blog here.

The Way It May Seem 

It seems these days that you can’t turn on the tv, radio, or surf the web without bearing witness to another atrocity that has happened around the world.  Sometimes those events are far away and easy to disconnect from, yet sometimes they happen right in our backyard.

As more and more of these painful events have taken place, something began to happen in both of our own hearts and minds.  While talking on Voxer one afternoon, we realized how heavy recent events had been weighing on our hearts.  But even more so, the thought of love kept coming to mind.  Loving unconditionally appears reckless to a watching world.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


My almost 2 ½ year old son woke up very distraught this morning. We came back from a family trip to Chicago on Sunday night. We had a fun and relaxing Memorial Day Monday at the park with family and friends, and today it was “back to the grind,” and by that I simply mean getting back to the usual routine.

Adam woke up when my wife Kasia was taking a shower and immediately started crying. Imagine a toddler screaming for his mom, angrily kicking his heels, and thrusting his little body upwards when his dad attempts to comfort him. When mom comes into the room he keeps freaking out, yelling at her to take the towel she has wrapped around her head off. He is relentless.

Somehow we get him to calm down...

But then I try to kiss him goodbye and go downstairs to get ready for work. Meltdown! Unrelenting…

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


I always say that you can find inspiration anywhere in this world, provided your ears, eyes, and heart are open. I had my brain sparked today while at church with my family. We go to church fairly regularly, even though I do not consider myself a Christian, as I identify most with the tenants of Buddhism. I could tune out what the Pastor says during the sermon, but I always make a concerted attempt at maintaining openness. This is a good thing because today he delivered absolute gold!

Today our Pastor talked about Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed or dusted with gold, silver, or platinum. The major philosophy of this practice is the breakage and subsequent repair are part of the history of the object instead of something to disguise (more info here). Typically when we repair an object, we want to hide the initial damage to make it look "good as new". Kintsukuroi places the emphasis on embracing and celebrating the damage because it is part of what makes the object unique and special. Go ahead and think about that for a second before reading any more!

So you've thought about this practice. Now I want you to think about how this practice can work if we apply it to ourselves, our students, and our schools. Is this how you approach your breaks and damage? Do our schools and students see it like this? Of course not! Society doesn't want us to focus on our previous cracks. We want to get past those issues as soon as we can and forget about them. Those are weaknesses and the quicker we forget about them, the better, right? WRONG!

Let's look at this from two different perspectives, the physical and emotional side of us.

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