Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Self Management: Think Independently

President Trump has incited debate throughout the country. His strong and often uncustomary ways have elicited a wide range of emotion from people worldwide. Recently a famous lawyer who often seems to support Trump, Alan Dershowitz, complained that he was shunned by old friends and acquaintances due to his support of the President. He received all kinds of commentary and backlash, so then he wrote an editorial for the Boston Globe essentially standing up for independent thinking and civil debate. While I often disagree with Dershowitz's support of Trump, I did agree with the what I believe was the main premise of his editorial which was to support civil debate, speaking up, and independent thinking.

As I delve into the area of independent thinking as part of social emotional learning, I'm wondering how we might foster greater civil debate, speaking up, and respect for independent thinking in our classrooms and why that matters. As I further dig into the book, Integrating SEL Into the Curriculum, I want to see how I can utilize the activities suggested to elevate my students' abilities to think for themselves and respectfully honor the thoughts and ideas of others. As suggested in the book, How can we make students more observant and objective? How can they more critically and accurately navigate the influences around them? This ability to think independently and critically supports individuals and a society that is creative, constructive, and collaborative.
Culture Flag Bulletin Board

I can find many ways to integrate the activities in chapter 6 of Integrating SEL into the Curriculum to develop independent thinking.

The "Dream Me" activity will support students' early year timeline project as well as social studies standards. The "Where do you want to live?" activity will be a good introduction to our environmental education and life science unit. "What do you really think?" will support an early year discussion about homework and study habits, and "Curiosity: A Critical Ingredient" will be a good first lesson for the social studies current events unit. I'll embed the "Culture Flags" activity into the All About Me Window Activity at the start of the year and utilize the information related to the egg drop design process with our early year solar oven activity. Since this was a chapter I wrote in the book, I am very familiar with the activities and know that each activity provides a successful avenue to develop students' ability to think independently and develop social emotional learning skills and knowledge.

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
  • Time Line Prep: parent interview, template, and Dream Me activity. Coordinate with tech teacher. 
  • Study Skills: What do you really think? (Integrating SEL - chapter 6, Socratic Method)
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 Teamwork: Crossing 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.
  • 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 Element: Use this lesson from Integrating SEL, Chapter 6 as introduction to current events learning/teaching.
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)