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Sunday, May 7, 2017

As I continue to consult in schools, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the focus on academics at the expense of the SEL development of the child. Recently, I discovered a new blog - Greater Good - The Science of a Meaningful Life. Following is an article from that blog. This is a must read.

Districts and schools all over the country are working hard to make social-emotional learning (SEL) a part of the “DNA” of the educational process, meaning they’re going beyond just the adoption of an SEL curricula and are incorporating SEL into school climate, discipline policies, teacher professional development, and the like.
But for educational leaders who are new to SEL or who are trying to figure out where to start, this process can seem overwhelming.

As the stories illustrate, SEL isn’t just about academics. It’s about human connection—that beautiful and complicated necessity of life and school. Here’s how Austin, Texas, administrator Caroline Chase puts it:
Sometimes it’s hard for the adults to connect to the fact that students are human beings. So SEL is the humanity that’s created when we do things like check-ins with each other, which allows us to have real relationships—where you’re really interested in somebody’s story and you want to know what that person’s about and why they are the way they are.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This is one of the best articles I have read in a while. We are only just beginning to recognize and validate the connection between social, emotional, and intellectual ties. Courtesy of A View From The Edge News and Notes from Oklahoma Educator Rob Miller A View From The Edge.

 Hugging A Porcupine

He ( or she) is ours...
He is ours. He was ours when he arrived in kindergarten thirteen years ago – precocious, curious, and bursting with spirit. His blue plaid shirt brought out the tint of his eyes and his bount…

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Here is a great article on learning to critique a peer's work and raise the critiquer's awareness of their own processing. Be sure to see the video on the bottom of the article. Courtesy of MindShift.

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How Students Critiquing One Another's Work Raises The Quality Bar
Too often, when students produce schoolwork, they turn it into a teacher for a grade and move on. And after the teacher spends time evaluating the student's work, many students never look at the feedback, a cycle that frustrates both parties and isn't the most effective way to learn.

Several schools are trying a different model — one that takes more time but also helps students feel more ownership over the quality of their work. Called peer critique, students follow clear protocols that remind them to "be kind, be specific, and be helpful" in the feedback they give to peers.

At Two Rivers Charter School in Washington, D.C., students explain to Edutopia how through a process of revisions, they can feel proud about gradually producing high quality work. And, since students start doing the peer critique protocol in preschool, the school has built up a culture infused with a growth mindset. Students (and teachers) are constantly experiencing that they can learn from other people's work and that work can always be better.

"You're basically changing the idea of what it means to 'be done,' " said Jessica Wodatch, executive director of Two Rivers Charter School. Often times teachers and parents underestimate the capacity young children have to absorb and use constructive critique. EL Education has a helpful video showing how careful questioning, ground rules and a culture focused on improvement can help students to create beautiful work, often surpassing what adults may expect.
Edutopia EL Education

Friday, February 17, 2017

Can Virtual Reality “teach” empathy? This article presents an interesting approach to teaching empathy. I think it has some viable applications. It is well worth a read. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Educators look to VR to teach empathy
Educators look to VR to teach empathy
Researchers at Stanford University have found that virtual reality experiences can help tap into users' emotions and stoke empathy. Some educators like English teacher Cayne Letizia have used VR experiences involving refugees to help teach empathy.
The Hechinger Report (2/15)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 9, 2017

This is a great read. Very insightful. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

How does bullying affect academic confidence?

Persistent bullying during a student's school career may correlate with lower academic performance, according to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology. Researchers collected data for students in 24 states.
CNN (1/30),  U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (1/30)  Bookmark and Share

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A great read - A way to address a nation wide epidemic! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Some La. schools test "trauma-informed" model
Officials at some schools in New Orleans have adopted "trauma-informed" teaching, which takes students' life experiences into consideration. Data show New Orleans students face higher-than-national-average rates of trauma, so educators are working with mental health advocates to create models to support rather than suspend students.
The Hechinger Report (1/25),  WWNO-FM (New Orleans) (1/23)  Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We are moving forward! A good read. Courtesy of EdWeek.

Training Teachers to Identify Student Trauma Will Be Main Legislative Priority, Teachers Union President Says
The president of the largest teachers' union in Indiana has identified the group's legislative priorities for this year, listing training teachers to...
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Design Thinking is a perfect example of the union of emotional and academic thinking. A must read! Courtesy ofASCDSmartBrief.

What is design thinking?
What is design thinking?
Design thinking has captured the attention of educators, but there may be ambiguity about how to define the concept, says Neil Stevenson of global design company IDEO. Stevenson offers insights about the definition and its application in schools.
The Atlantic online (1/4)  Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 1, 2017

This is a practical powerful article that helps students understand how to work with students who have challenges (anxiety and defiance) - about 50 percent of our clientel in the US. Courtesy of Mind/Shift. Well worth the read.

20 Tips To Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious Or Defiant Students

A National Institute of Health study found that 25.1 percent of kids ages 13-18 in the U.S. have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. No one knows how many more haven't been diagnosed. Additionally between eight and 15 percent of the school-aged population have learning disabilities (there is a range because there's no standard definition of what constitutes a learning disability). Nine percent of 13-18 year-olds have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (although the number one misdiagnosis of anxiety is ADHD), and 11.2 percent suffer from depression.

Jessica Minahan is a certified behavior analyst, special educator, and co-author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students. She says in any interaction with students, teachers can only control their own behavior, but that's actually a lot of power. "We are 50% of every interaction with a child," Minahan said. "We have a lot of control over that interaction."

You can find more information in the link below, but here is a snapshot of some of Minahan's tips, including how to better navigate transition periods:

Tip 5: When teachers want to wrap up a task they often use a countdown. "Silent reading time is going to be over in five minutes." But counting down doesn't support a high achieving anxious child who feels she must finish. And it takes a lot of executive function skills and cognitive flexibility to fight the urge to keep going after the time is up. So instead of counting down, a teacher might walk over to that student and say, let's find a good stopping point. She may stop a minute later than the rest of the class when she reaches the designated point, but it won't escalate into a tug-of-war.

Transitions are another common time for kids to act out. Younger students often don't want to come in from recess, for example. But when a teacher says, "Line up. Recess is over. It's time for your spelling quiz," it's no wonder the student doesn't want to go from something he loves to something he hates.

Tip 6: The teacher can give students an in-between step to make the transition more palatable. Go from recess, to two minutes of coloring, to the spelling quiz. The intermediary step gives that non-compliant student behavioral momentum. He's already sitting down, quiet, with pen in hand, so the jump to spelling isn't as jarring.

For middle and high school students, school is all about being social, but the only times students get to see their friends are in the two to five minute passing periods between classes. Again, the transition is from something they love to something they hate, so don't make that transition extra hard by collecting homework as they come in the door. The toughest kids are probably already not doing well in the class, and a reminder of the homework exacerbates feelings of inadequacy.
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