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Friday, July 13, 2018

Embedding SEL into the Academic Program: Social Awareness

Through substantial dedicated effort led by the principal, guidance counselors and educators outlined a pyramid of behaviors for each grade level that went from small issues to serious problems. This pyramid was created by a colleague who  invested substantial time into the endeavor, and then each grade level completed the pyramid. Early in the year we'll use this to lead a discussion with 5th grade students about behaviors that occur in school and how to discuss, problem solve, and label the severity related to those problems. This was good work. 
This summer I'm engaging in a number of independent study projects including my main education goals of elevating math, science/STEAM, and SEL learning experiences and results. I know that when we learn with intention, we not only read and study the information, but we decide how we will allow that information to transform the way we live, relate, and practice our professional work.

As I reread a book I co-wrote, Integrating SEL Into Your Curriculum, I am considering the many ways that I'll update the curriculum program this year to include worthy SEL experiences.

I've already written a number of posts about this including the following:

More importantly I've started thinking about specifically where these lessons will be embedded into the fifth grade year (see bottom of post). A list that gets longer and longer making me realize that I should probably organize all of this in a website instead.

Today I'm focused on social awareness. We know that when children are socially aware, they succeed with greater success. There were many activities listed in the book to help students gain a good idea of the differing behaviors, perspectives, and actions students in a class will take when given similar problems or questions. The activities help students to understand themselves and others, and this valuable perspective taking will help them when it comes to the many collaborative activities that make up the curriculum program, activities which help students learn more know and gain important collaborative skill for our increasingly interdependent world. As I thought about how I could embed all these activities, I made some specific decisions below, and I also added to the list of activities I'll embed throughout the year. Some of these activities such as the deserted island activity can be easily left for a substitute teacher on a day that you will be out so that students continue to build their awareness of one another. 

Some of the activities in this part of the book fit nicely into early year team building such as the Alphabet Actors activity. 

First Weeks of School - Building Classroom Culture and Getting to Know One Another

  • Who are You? Strengths and Challenges (Weaknesses) - visualization, "window (shield)" activity, "right sized" proud pig activity. (include culture flag headings/information in this activity (Integrating SEL chapter 6)
  • Personal Assessment: Godilocks Games (p. 94-95) is a good activity for children to do an early assessment of themselves. This will provide good information for teachers and family members as they goal set with and for students. 
  • What is a Hero? Who are your heroes? Identifying honorable characteristics, finding people to look up to, learn from,  and follow in real time, history, and literature, sharing the story of Malala.
  • What is your point of view or perception? The birds story, a discussion on classroom needs, wants, and desires.
  • Active Reading: The Student Handbook: What do we do well and what can we get better at--how can we shortlist the handbook rules and protocols to a memorable phrase, sign, poem, or acronym? How can we make these rules and protocols are own?
  • Just Breathe: Making the most of the mindful moment and other morning routines. 
  • Goal SettingYour one word
  • Peer Pressure: Do I Dare Do It (Integrating SEL p. 84-86)
  • Study Skills: What do you really think? (Integrating SEL - chapter 6, Socratic Method)
  • Humor Helps: Integrating SEL p.89-90. I'd like to turn this into an activity where students can create a cartoon, write a paragraph, or write and act out a script. I may integrate this with the writing, art, and/or tech teacher. Students love the integration of humor into the classroom and as one who is very serious, I can see how helpful this would be. 
  • Behaviors at School: To get a head start on conflict resolution and language related to bullying behaviors, students and teachers will use the pyramid on top of the page to discuss the kinds of behaviors that can happen at school, and the appropriate ways to prevent and if needed respond to those behaviors in an effort to build a more caring and helpful classroom community. 
Math/Science SEL Lessons
  • Using visualization in math and science as we learn about and practice with essential tools: color continuum, number lines, rulers, thermometers, place value chart.
  • Equations and Expressions: Using self control and choice to assist your learning and performance (Integrating SEL. . .p. 62-68)
  • STEAM TeamworkCrossing the peanut butter pit (Integrating SEL - chapter 5), Alphabet Actors (p. 94), Can-moving activity (p. 102) and similar activities such as note card towers (p. 108) and marshmallow or gumdrop structures.
  • Where do you want to live? Introduction to environmental education (Integrating SEL - chapter 6)
  • Solar Ovens STEAM activity - embed SEL questioning and activities from Integrating SEL, chapter 6 egg drop activity.
Social Studies
  • Visualization and Empathy to understand historic context and roles as we read historic texts including James Printer, a Novel of Rebellion
  • Resilience/Grit Activity. Integrating SEL p. 86-87
  • Self Awareness with Timelines: Students will create a time line that includes a parent or guardian's main event before they were born from birth onward, their own main events, and 4-5 events they imagine for their future. This will be done in technology class. Prepare for this activity with early-year homework and classwork including "Dream Me" activity from chapter 6 in Integrating SEL. 
  • Curiosity: A Critical ElementUse this lesson from Integrating SEL, Chapter 6 as introduction to current events learning/teaching.
  • Time Line Prep: parent interview, template, Dream Me activity, and ImportantChanges (Integrating SEL p. 82-84) Coordinate with tech teacher. 
Team Building and Personal Development Lessons and Activities Throughout the Year
  • Think Positive activities and study Note that several of these activities can be integrated with physical education and music class too. 
  • Self Control Lessons (Integrating SEL chapter 5)
  • The Conflict Within (p.106) - this might fit nicely with the writing program
  • Trust Walk (p. 104-105)
  • Difficult Choices (p. 105-106)
  • Deserted Island (p. 107)
  • Reflection (p. 109-110)