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

Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants and hold the world in arms grown strong with love. And there be many things we forget in the days to come. But this will not be one of them.


Brain Andreas

If I hadn't witnessed it with my own eyes, I am not sure I would have believed it could happen.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


I recently wrote a piece, Breaking the Silence, that detailed some of the tough conversations that I had with my students surrounding race and how the color of our skin impacts how others view us. The response to my piece has been overwhelming and I have received a lot of support from people all over the world of education. A lot of people have told me that I am courageous and brave, but I'm not buying it.

The ability to have these kind of discussions revolves around strong relationships, a culture of caring, and creating a safe space. As educators, we all have our own way of doing this, but I want to share my approach as it has allowed me to dig deep with my students and get real.

The biggest influence for me in creating a safe space lies with the norms of a program called Challenge Day. I have had the privilege of participating in multiple Challenge Day events in a previous school and I have carried their tenants with me everywhere I have been.


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Posted by on in ** Sponsored Post **


After a few years of teaching, I realized the academic skills we were expected to teach were not enough to ensure students were prepared to be productive participants in society.  Over time, my students’ social emotional development became as important to me as the academic skills designated by the state.  When my administrators decided to add an advisory class, I jumped on the chance to plan its curriculum.  Despite my best efforts to create meaningful social emotional learning experiences, the class was often treated by both staff and students as an afterthought, with the skills not transferring to other classes or “real life.”  I found a solution to this when I tried a new classroom model: self-paced blended learning.  A self-paced classroom is able to provide personalized instruction via blended learning, with the right balance of autonomy and support to develop both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.  The students in my pilot program outperformed their peers on credit accumulation every trimester, but the real success was the social emotional growth I observed.    

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines Social Emotional Learning as, "the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”1  There are five SEL competencies, which I was able to address in the self-paced class.

Self-paced instruction is “any kind of instruction that proceeds based on learner response.”  We used a self-paced design as a pilot to support a variety of struggling learners.  We selected a group and scheduled them for a three hour block of class.  Within this block, we offered thirteen different blended learning classes.  The students chose which courses to focus on. I became a true learning facilitator, supporting all subjects, but responsible for one.   The advantage of the self-paced, blended learning model is that it allows for the integration of SEL skills as part of the structures of the academic class instead of a separate initiative.  


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Posted by on in General


When something is broken we try to fix it. Oftentimes, if the damage isn’t too bad, then we are successful. This is true with things. It is not true with people. And yet we go about our days constantly trying to fix the children that we serve. When really we should be focusing on making them better.

This may seem like a minute detail. But I believe the difference between the two is significant.

I currently spend much of my day working with children who have many social and emotional needs. Oftentimes when I go home I feel as if I have failed. The students that I have spent so much time and energy and love trying to fix, often come back the next day and repeat many of the same behaviors.

Nevertheless, I continue to keep doing what I am doing. Not giving up hope. But it is eating away at my self-esteem. Because I can not fix these kids. And I am one of the people who is charged with doing so!

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


Enthusiasm is building about 'growth mindset' and how it helps students persevere and stay open to new challenges.  In line with this, understanding the 'fixed mindset' can also help us find new ways to help students push through their fears of failure and inadequacy.  

What's a fixed mindset?

A person with a fixed mindset believes that ability and intelligence are things we're born with or not, and there's not much we can do to change the 'fixed amount' we are born with. 

Why should you care?

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