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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in social skills

Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Listen...

Listening, not just hearing but really listening is a skill many students need help with. Some are naturals at it. Others might be bad at it. Truth is many were never taught how to listen effectively.

The listening skill affects success in school, work, and relationships.

But the question is: How many of us teachers explicitly teach listening?

In his recent Kwik Brain Podcast on listening a renowned learning expert Jim Kwik summarized the key to good listening as the ability to listen with more than your ears.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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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 Teaching Strategies

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I will never forget the first time I asked first graders where Earth is. While some looked a bit puzzled by my question, others confidently pointed up. Up? Why of course, it is in outer space! Young children are expected to master map skills and to know where they live. If you have ever tried to teach little kids the names and layers of places in which they live, you will understand how very difficult that can be for both student and teacher! I have used songs, books, and the recent Me on the Map crafts and activities that are abundant on Pinterest! In spite of the fact that my students could create the visuals and sing the songs,most remained confused by the difference between city, county, state, country, and continent. At least by the end of the lessons they all pointed to the ground when asked where Earth is!

Now, I have an idea that I think may be just the answer to this difficult learning task for young children! The best part is the map skills can be incorporated into actions that will teach lessons far beyond the simple social studies standards of mapping. We spend so much time in school learning academic skills, that we often forget the importance of building social character skills in our children. Those skills are equally important or, perhaps, even more important in the education of the whole child. Our world is in great need of people who have developed empathy, responsibility, and a sense of caring. Would you rather guide your students to become excellent test-takers or excellent thinkers, problem solvers, and people? In teaching small children where they belong in the world, you can teach them that they and their actions can make a difference...

Begin with a song! Singer-songwriter, and my friend, John Farrell, has written a song that is perfect for this task. It's the Little Things puts into words and music the idea that when we work together, we can make this world a little better. Take the time to teach the song to your students. You can even add hand signs to make it more interesting! 

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