Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Resilience: A Vital Ingredient to Social Emotional Learning

For me Twitter is an idea exchange. On Twitter I've collected thousands of people who are great thinkers and doers in our world--these people inspire, challenge, and teach me continuously. One woman who I have followed for years is Emelia Sam. I've been reading two of her books: The Book of Soulgasms and I Haven't Found Myself. Similar to Emile's inspirational and challenging tweets, her books are provocative and have helped me see the world in different ways.

Some of her words that have inspired me most include the following:
  • "Your vision requires reverence."
  • "Disconnection invites chaos."
  • "Imperfect choices accompany awakening."
  • "Authentic power need not disempower others."
  • "Life is meant to be savored not solved."
Emelia is a wise woman, one who has helped me to be resilient in life. Similarly, I've been reading Oprah Winfrey's book, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. It's a great book to pick up now and then for positive challenge and inspiration, another way to build your resiliency in this world. 

As I continue my effort to think about how I'll embed social emotional learning into the classroom next year, I am focused on chapter 7 of Integrating SEL Into The Curriculum. How can I help my students to be resilient and use both challenge and failure as stepping stones to success--what will I do?

Early in the year, the students and I will speak explicitly about anxiety. I'll pose these questions:
  • What is anxiety?
  • Why do some people handle anxiety better than others?
Students and I will discuss this, and I'll reference the list of reasons on page 82 of Integrating SEL Into The Curriculum. Further I will integrate the activities in the chapter into our curriculum. First I'll integrate the focus on important changes into our early year timeline preparation. Together students and I will complete the "Do I Dare Do It" survey (p. 84-86), and students will focus on resiliency or "grit" as some name it with the early year read aloud, James Printer, a Novel of Rebellion, a story about the King Philip's War and part of our new social studies standards. The activity related to important life changes will be integrated with our early year timeline activity and the activity which helps students to find humor in difficult situations will be a an early year composition activity where students can create a cartoon, write a short story, or craft and possibly act out a script.

Most of all students will learn what it means to be resilient and then be able to use that knowledge throughout the year as they face challenges on their own and with others. This will be a valuable life lesson.

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)
  • 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. 
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)
  • 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)