Is it February already? This semester has gone by fast, so I hope you've found your footing as you move through your school year. One of the hot topics that has continued into this new year is social emotional learning, and some of our most popular trainings have been our High Structure-High Love series that Amy Brewer from Positive Tomorrows has led. We are offering part 3 in this series on March 12th, and whether or not you attended the first two, I hope you'll come to this one. Amy is an amazing presenter, and the content she provides is incredibly beneficial.
As we learn more about social emotional learning (SEL) and how to implement it in our classrooms, I'd like to present the basics here. A great resource is the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning or CASEL. They list 5 core SEL competencies: Self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, self-management and relationship skills. And each of these has more extensive sets of skills listed within.
How do I implement these in my classroom?
One of the easiest ways to implement SEL strategies in your classrooms is through books. That can mean reading to smaller children or having books that older children read to themselves and then using class share or journaling on the SEL competencies. Teachers can also use class work around showing kindness, coping strategies or sharing positive thoughts and affirmations.
How can OPSRC help?
As we move forward, our team will continue offering resources and trainings that help teachers learn to implement these competencies and strategies in their classrooms. Based on research, we know that SEL programs improve attitudes, lower conduct problems, increase attendance and improve academic performance. But we also know that consistent, quality training for teachers is key to successful classroom implementation.
If we can do anything to help you or your district, please reach out. We would also love your feedback on other areas in which you would like to see us provide professional development. We always want to make sure we provide the training you need AND want.
Take a moment! Breathe! Relax! Breathe again. Even better, involve your students! Research is showing that when a teacher introduces just 5 minutes of simple breathing techniques, yoga or meditation, students’ attention spans increase, their focus on topic improves and some studies show improved test scores and fewer cases of bullying.
With education budgets continuing their decline and class sizes on the rise, it is even more critical to empower students with the ability to be in the driver's seat of their own learning and to empower teachers to serve in the role of learning facilitator.