Last year and over the summer, I spent some time reading and attending conferences focusing on social emotional learning since that is a district focus this year. And as we discussed during our beginning of the year staff meeting, connecting with kids and teaching them with the social emotional competencies in mind is just as important, if not more, than teaching them academics.
One resource that I kept and was rereading came from The Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice that DESE put out. They have a section that discusses the 10 teaching practices that promote SEL. I wanted to share that list with you and get us thinking about what we are doing and what we need to incorporate and improve in our daily interactions with students.
1. Student-centered discipline - Love that this is the first one on the list. This is going to be a topic of discussion at our staff meeting this week along with some activities. We need to make sure our disciplinary strategies are developmentally appropriate.
2. Teacher language - Are we making sure that we are talking to the students not at the students? And are we encouraging students with the language we use? Are we encouraging them to have a voice?
3. Responsibility and choice - Do we give students the chance to make responsible decisions. This is one of the 5 core competencies for SEL.
4. Warmth and support - We discussed this during our opening day quote off activity. Do our kids know that we care about them? How do we show every kid this every day? Is each classroom environment and other environments in the school set up so that students know we care?
5. Cooperative learning - We need to be providing numerous opportunities for students to work cooperatively and collaborate in the learning process. We also need to remember to teach them how to work together; we don't want to assume that if we put them in a group, they will be able to cooperate.
6. Classroom discussions - I have already seen great dialogue about content happening in many classrooms. We want to encourage lots of dialogue between teachers and students, staff and students, and also between students and other students.
7. Self-assessment and self-reflection - Hmmm...sound like a UDL guideline?! We need to be making sure that we are having students actively think about their own work. Self-reflection is such an important skill that we all need to keep working on.
8. Balanced instruction - We have certainly been improving every year in this area. Are we using multiple and appropriate instructional strategies?
9. Academic press and expectations - We need to be providing challenging work for all of our students. We also need to make sure that it is meaningful work. And we all need to believe that every single one of our students can achieve by setting high expectations and figuring out how to help everyone reach those expectations.
10. Competence building - Throughout the school day, are we helping our students' develop social emotional skills? Are we helping them with self-management, social awareness, self-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making? Crucial skills that require us to keep talking about how we weave these through all of our instruction.
One of the keynote speakers at The National Principal Conference was a man named Kevin Carroll. I actually missed him speak, but followed lots of people tweeting about it and then ordered his books. One is called The Red Rubber Ball at Work and the other one is called Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. He was the former 76ers athletic trainer who writes about how to bring a sense of play into work in order to stimulate creativity, encourage risk-taking and achieve your goals. I just started reading The Red Rubber Ball at Work.
I am working on writing an article about mindfulness in education and one of the books I am reading for writing inspiration is called Dancing in the Rain: Leading with Compassion, Vitality, and Mindfulness in Education. This book was written and published close to home at Harvard School of Education.
Monday - Dr. Chesson visits FloRo from 9:30-11:00, PTA General Meeting @ 7:00
Tuesday - Liz out of district all day for MSAA Board Meeting, PTA Room Parent Meeting @ 7:00
Wednesday - Wellness Wednesday - anyone who wants to meet on the track at 8:00, come walk and chat! Liz and Melissa at Elem Curriculum Leadership Mtg @ Prescott 8:00-9:30, Staff meeting @ 3:30 in the cafeteria
Friday - Liz and Melissa at SLT 8:30-11:00
Saturday - Joseph Middlemiss Super Hero/RocknRoll Road Race (or walk), GrotonFest
Great things I noticed last week:
- A big thank you to Nancy Caporello for finding an empty bulletin board and filling it with awesomeness!
- Some amazing collaboration and creation has been taking place in our new MakerSpace.
- I had a great time teaching the Wellness class all week. We read the book My Brave Year of Firsts and discussed it. And then in preparation for Dot Day and to practice collaboration and cooperation we played Twister!
- Laura Taylor invited her K teaching peers into her classroom to observe a math lesson that she worked hard to universally design.
- Even though the weather made us move the party inside...the Welcome Back Party on Friday night was tons of fun!
Check it out:
Have to admit that I have considered acting out the beginning of this article in a staff meeting. Since I am putting this link in here, I will spare anyone from public shaming during our staff meeting, but please read this post...great thoughts on why we should be rethinking public behavior charts: