By Stephanie L. Moore
This week, K-12Talk presents an excerpt from Stephanie L. Moore’s new book, SEL at Distance: Supporting Students Online.
A note from the author:
In SEL at a Distance, one idea I share for how we can frame thinking about how to use learning technologies to support SEL is “affordances.” When making decisions about technologies and designing online learning environments, it is important to think about what learning opportunities different technologies afford (or do not afford). The following excerpt provides several examples around common questions I hear, reframing the question of which technologies are “better” into instructional considerations in online learning. One of the paramount considerations at this uncertain time, as most teachers and students have returned to school buildings even as new variants of COVID emerge, is how to leverage the tools teachers have at hand to center their pedagogy around students’ needs.
Shifting from Instructor-Centered to Student-Centered Pedagogies:
Online (and blended) learning afford you the ability to shift your pedagogical practices so that you spend less of your live or in-person time with your learners as the content delivery vehicle and more time focused on feedback, support, and interaction. We often rely on ourselves to be the primary information delivery channel, by way of lectures. Unfortunately, in the rush to move online during the spring of 2020, many schools tried to replicate live lectures, not realizing this took the least advantage of the online learning environment. Lectures are something you can readily record and let learners watch on their own time. This could be a lecture you provide or an available video you find online and want your students to watch. Rather than taking up precious together-time with learners for this, have them watch it on their own then show up ready to engage in active learning with you. This makes much better use of anytime, anywhere content delivery that the internet is good for and reserves live time (whether in a class or online) with your students for meaningful interactions.
Continue reading “Online Opportunities: The Continuing Benefits of Remote Instruction”
By Eric Iversen
For a long time, advocates of STEM education have worked to bring STEM learning closer to students’ lives outside of school. This year, though, COVID has made STEM learning a part of students’ lives in ways nobody ever imagined or wanted. As schools were forced to close, educators have been managing the switch to emergency remote learning to the greatest of their abilities, and the resources and strategies that have been shared across the K-12 world are voluminous. Even so, there is no doubt that uprooting STEM education from the school building comes with many kinds of loss, including carefully designed classroom and lab spaces set up with technical equipment and materials that are impossible to replicate in the home.
Continue reading “STEM and SEL in Tandem, at Home”
By Nancy Boyles
Soon after the world shut down last March and students fled the classroom to stay safe at home, teachers recognized the heightened need to address children’s social emotional (SEL) needs. These were strange, scary times: Were the kids okay? How were they faring away from their friends and teachers and the familiar routines of school? It was a scramble to reimagine school overnight, but teachers quickly saw the value of using picture books with SEL themes as part of their online instruction. Excellent, I thought. What a great way to connect thinking and feeling.
But in practice, it’s easy to fall into a few pitfalls that can lessen the impact of reading SEL-related picture books with students. Here are three tips to maximize the power of picture books to connect SEL and literacy whether teaching online or face-to-face in a classroom.
Continue reading “The Power of Picture Books: Maximizing the SEL-Literacy Connection in Turbulent Times”
By Future Cain
Humans are inherently social creatures, and for most children, school is their first and most important social experience. Few could argue the mental, physical, and emotional well-being that social connections promote, and for children, the relationships developed with peers and teachers at school help fill their need to belong, feel heard, and be seen, loved, and valued. COVID-19 has abruptly changed the nature of these relationships for students nationwide. My own children, like countless others, long to sit next to and talk with a friend, whether it be on the school bus, eating lunch in the cafeteria, or enjoying recess or study hall with their peers.
Continue reading “Thank You to Teachers for Social and Emotional Learning”
Let’s begin with a conversation among fourth graders. These students were sitting in a group of four and discussing structural and behavioral adaptations in plants and animals.
DeVon: Hawks have sharp claws that kill their prey.
Casey: What is this? (looking at a worksheet)
Diamond: A artic fox has…
Reshma: Insects are shaped like a leaf so predators think they are real leaves.
DeVon: A rosebush has thorns to…where’s this go [inferring the question: is this a structural or behavioral adaptation]?
Reshma: Frogs have long strong legs to hop really far.
At first glance, this sounds like a conversation. The students are talking about the science topic and they are facing one another around the table. But, unfortunately, this isn’t a conversation at all. To qualify as a real conversation, students need to talk to one another, listen carefully to each other, and take turns in the discussion so that one idea builds upon another. This scenario falls short. Although it is terrific to see students actively engaged in a science activity, there is so much more that is possible and necessary in a science classroom so that students get the most out of the instruction. High quality science discussions require students to use social and emotional skills (Hunt, Rimm-Kaufman, Merritt, & Bowers, in press). Without those skills in use, students remain focused on their own ideas. The quality of their answers reflect individual, not collective knowledge.
Continue reading “STEM: Leveraging SEL Skills to Improve Science Instruction”
Teachers have always known that they have a duty to teach students, not just content. Most of the skills taught beyond the core curriculum fit under the umbrella of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). CASEL identifies five competencies of SEL: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. While all of these competencies should be practiced in the social studies classroom, I want to focus on two:
- Appreciating diversity
- Respect for others
Continue reading “Social Studies: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning”
- Identifying problems
- Analyzing situations
- Solving problems
- Ethical Responsibility
As the days grow shorter and Labor Day approaches, most of you are preparing your minds and classrooms for the start of the school year. Increasingly, that means not only writing or revising academic goals and lesson plans but also considering how best to foster the emotional well-being and growth of a new group of learners. What strengths and challenges will your students bring with them? How will you cultivate the former and meet the latter? We thought you might be interested, in this last gasp of summer reading time, to dip into some recent books about social emotional learning and mindfulness: what better way to get into a positive mindset about the fall semester? The dozen titles below are recommendations from two of Norton’s authors whose own work and writing focus on the social and emotional aspects of educating the whole child.
Continue reading “Summer Reading: An SEL Frame of Mind”