Saturday, January 20, 2018

Social Emotional Learning #SATCHAT

As I reviewed the questions, links, images, and other materials for this morning's social emotional learning (SEL) #satchat, I found myself reviewing the efforts I'm engaged in on my own and with colleagues to boost SEL in ways that matter.

We know that SEL improves lives and success. It's a critical component of teaching/learning programs. And, it's also a limitless arena for development and growth. As we teach programs related to SEL, we develop our own social/emotional intelligence as well.

Question two today will focus in on the elements that make-up social emotional learning, and this is the first area I want to think about--where do we embed these elements into our curriculum program, and where might we boost this learning more.

Self Awareness
I know myself well, and I understand what I need to be happy, comfortable, and successful.

Students' showcase portfolios help students to think about who they are and what they are doing. These showcase portfolios include many reflective pieces. It takes students time to reflect, and I think we can continue to think about where we embed time for good reflection and share to build greater self awareness.

Social Awareness
I know how to read the people and places around me, and then act in ways that allow me to be successful in social situations. 

I believe our efforts to build good conflict resolution helps here. We use a "first step, second step" process where we encourage students to solve problems first on their own with words, and then if that doesn't work, seek the help of a teacher. Further, regular class meetings focused on the classroom community and social competency help to build this awareness. To continually focus in on the classroom community in meaningful ways builds this awareness.

Relationship Skills
I am aware of what it takes to be a good friend, classmate, sibling, neighbor, and utilize those skills in my relationships.

At the elementary level this is mainly focused on friendship. In our Open Circle meetings, the guidance counselor focuses in on specific skills that help in this regard. Project/Problem Based Learning (PBL) also opens the door for lots of collaborative work which often results in discussions about positive working relationships too. Our end-year biography project allows students to get inside the life of a global changemaker from today or the past, and in this study students focus on the individuals' relationships and other aspects of social emotional learning.

Responsible Decision Making
I understand what it means to make a responsible decision. I focus on personal/collective goals and what it takes to meet those goals and make good decisions.

We are always moving students towards greater independence by providing opportunities to practice and develop responsible decision making. Online learning menus, workshop lists, class protocols, and meetings provide students with the parameters within which they have considerable decision making skill. We talk about those decisions often, and help to coach students more specifically who meet challenges in this area.

Self Management
I take care of myself in ways that keep me happy, healthy, and successful with respect to my relationships, goals, and interests.

We continually coach students forward in this area with suggestions, modeling, and encouragement to manage their time, materials, emotions, relationships, and more. As I think about this, I think I can add more specific conversation about this at the start of the school year.

To make the case for each of these social emotional learning categories with specific language that brings the categories to life is a positive way to start the school year. I would also like to add mini posters to my classroom to help all of us use this language regularly to help students build these skills.

The mini poster from CASEL below also lends a positive rationale for SEL education in schools.