Sixty-one percent of the teachers said their work was always or often stressful. 58 percent of teachers described their mental health as “not good” for at least seven of the previous 30 days.
Positive Affirmations are short positive statements targeted at a specific set of negative beliefs. They are used to reprogram our subconscious minds, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it. Basically, they help to create the reality we want!
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Using positive affirmations can help us to keep focused on our inner goals!
Grab more teacher affirmations linked in my bio!
When we use affirmations with students, we are rewiring students' brains. We're teaching student brains a new way to think about the world. We are helping to change student brain processes, leading students to see different things and have different thoughts. We eliminate negative ways of thinking and essentially change a student's mindset so much that they get what it is you affirmed!
And the benefits continue! Self-affirmation has been shown to have powerful effects on learning! Research suggests that it can minimize the anxiety, stress, and defensiveness associated with threats to our sense of self while keeping us open to the idea that there is room for improvement. You know-learning!
Grab these affirmations +++40 more here:
By: Miss Rae's Room
Source: AFT, 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey
In full disclosure, I saw this campaign beginning and I thought "Is this really the right time for this? Is this what we should be fighting for right now?" with all of the chaos happening in our country. But then, I realized education is the answer to all of this!
Education is the catalyst for all change. It's how we can bring our country together again. It's what nations are built from. It's what the future of civilization depends on. And education is what will make America great again.
According to the "nation's report card," the average reading scores for 4th and 8th graders in the U.S. have dropped since 2017, while math scores increased by one point for 4th graders and decreased by one point for 8th-graders, with progress overall remaining flat for the past decade.
It's time for a change!
If we can reimagine our schools with common sense school reform, we can make American schools great! Our students' need a developmentally appropriate curriculum linked to Social Emotional Learning. And our teachers need stronger teacher prep programs on the science of learning to be able to deliver this instruction. It only takes common sense to see what we need!
Schools have played an essential role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools provided meals, internet, technology, emotional and mental health support, and seemlessly continued to educate the future of our nation! If schools are so essential, then, our funding should be too. But instead, we are facing massive budget cuts in the richest nation in the world.
It's time for a change. And it's time for that change now.
The #reimaginingschools campaign was started by a New York state teacher, Emily Aierstok. You can learn more about this campaign on her Instagram: @readitwriteitlearnit You can also screenshot your own thought bubble to share how you would like to see the United States #reimaginingschool
~By Miss Rae
First, I hope everyone is well!
With all of this free time, I have been doing a great deal of thinking. My mind naturally wanders to our students who are learning, or hopefully, still learning at home right now.
When I think about learning, though, I'm not just talking about academics. Students with learning disabilities are more susceptible to lagging social emotional skills for a variety of reasons. How are they handling this crisis?
Social and emotional skills help students to build cognitive skills, learn academic content, apply knowledge and feel they are a successful student. They can also help our students to feel safe and secure in their world.
By explicitly teaching SEL skills, we can help students make progress in areas of their life including academic areas.
So that's why I'm checking in on my students' emotional health daily.
I recently posted SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING IEP GOALS & OBJECTIVES to address my students lagging skills so I know that they are ready to face this crazy world.
I'm also trying to support my families' social emotional health by reaching out to see how I can help. I keep track of my communication during remote learning on these FREE EDITABLE HOME SCHOOL COMMUNICATION FORMS.
Happy and healthy teaching!
In recent years, Social Emotional Learning has moved from the counselor's office to the classroom. And now in light of recent events, COVID-19 has our classrooms in the homes of our students.
Teachers are amazing! They have seamlessly moved from instructing in their classroom to instructing from a computer screen. There are beautiful examples of transforming lives to shape the lives of our future generations all over social media.
Teachers are sharing curriculum to provide some consistent normalcy to student lives. They are opening up their homes and worlds to students from the other side of the screen. And this is all happening while the world, including teachers and students are under a great amount of stressed. We are all working to ensure that are students' learning is not impacted by this.
But just a friendly reminder...
Our curriculum teaches feelings, not just academic skills.
I challenge teachers to not forget to...
...distance teach feelings!
We all need some self care time right now.
So here are some ways to promote Social Emotional Distance Learning:
Happy and Healthy Teaching!
By Miss Rae
Teacher pressure is real. We barely have enough time in the day to teach the academic content, never mind, teach those Social Emotional Learning skills that are students need. So the only way to do it is to integrate our academics to our SEL skills!
And here is one strategy I use to foster collaborative student discussions that support comprehension AND build student relationships through conversation skills.
First, provide students with a text to read independently.
Before reading, ask them to come up with a focus question about the text that will guide their reading.
Have students to use the heading of a text to create a "digging question" (i.e. a why or a how question).
This will help students determine key ideas of a text.
This also improves strategic use of a highlighter.
But the main point is to highlight only answers to the question that the student came up with. This helps to prepare them for discussion times, and it allows it all to be student-driven.
Partner Discussion (2 students) (5 minutes)
With a partner, students should share the questions that they asked prior to reading, the answer to their questions, and discuss and attempt to resolve any confusions about the text.
Group Discussion (4-6 students) (5-10 minutes)
Partner groups should partner up with other partner groups for this step.
In their small groups, each student should share the following: this was my focus question, here is what I found out, and here is what confused me.
Some variations to this can include asking partners to think of one question that they will ask the larger group. After partner discussions, each student can find a passage to read aloud to the larger group, and then, each group member should respond to the selection with why it is important, connections, or with a question.
Have groups share out with the whole class a summary of their discussion OR the teacher can lead a discussion about the text.
Now, here is how you can link SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING to this reading comprehension strategy!
As a class, build a list of discussion norms. By having the students take part in the building of the discussion norms, students are able to take ownership over their daily learning.
Here is an example of a Discussion Norms chart...
After modeling and practicing a few discussions, students should be ready to reflect on their own participation during discussion.
You can use a reflection page similar to this one...
Students should reflect on the skills that they are strong at during discussion and skills that they need to work on.
Next, they should choose ONE skill to begin to focus on improving during discussion.
You can have students fill out a goal sheet with their discussion goal and they can include some success criteria - how will I know when I meet my goal?
After each discussion group, students can reflect on their progress toward their goals, making adjustments if necessary, or setting new goals after achieving the ones they set.
Discussion activities give students a chance to practice goal setting, failing, adjusting, achieving, and effectively communicating.
By Miss Rae
We all know the importance of teaching Social Emotional skills, right? The research is clear - when schools embed SEL into their daily practices and curriculum with fidelity, there is academic progress, improved school culture, higher graduation rates, and a ton of more positives.
And there are a few small ways we can support Social Emotional Learning in the classroom.
So here are 3 Bite-Sized Social Emotional Learning Lessons!
1. Cooperative Zen Learning
Okay so cooperative learning is an obvious SEL strategy, right? But there's a twist to this one - students have to work together without speaking. Here's how it works:
2. Calming Counting
So how often do you offer counting to ten as a calming strategy and a student tells you it doesn't work? So teach your students a different calming counting strategy.
You can use this calming counting strategy to improve focus.
This strategy helps to bring you back to the present, and not overthink the past of the future (AKA anxiety). Use this strategy prior to a lesson. Teach it when students are regulated so they can independently use it when they are unregulated.
3. Social Emotional Read Alouds
I've said it before and I'll say it again - story is a powerful framework for teaching Social Emotional Learning skills. So it does not matter what you are reading - the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Sojourner Truth's role in the Underground Railroad, or the work of Albert Einstein - there is always a Social Emotional skill to be taught and learned.
And the easiest way to do that is through questioning and discussion. Ask questions related to Social Emotional skills and use Think-Pair-Share, small group or whole class discussion, and learn away!
Here are some question examples...
Developing and strengthening Social Emotional Learning skills is hard, lifelong work. By embedding these bite-sized SEL lessons, we can begin to build the foundation for our students!
By Miss Rae
Classroom conflicts happen. Right? No matter how hard we work to create a positive classroom community, there are bound to be conflicts. And that's okay. Not everyone is the same which is what makes this world so great. But differences in personality are going to lead to conflict at times - which is also okay - if we know how to handle these conflicts appropriately.
So as teachers we can teach our students that conflict is natural. But there are ways to problem solve productively. And it's okay to not have the same opinion as someone else - or even your best friend.
But trying to teach these skills in the moment is useless. So like most skills we need to give students a chance to practice them in isolation. Specifically when teaching skills that involve executive functioning, students should not be in a heightened state during this isolated practice.
So to teach conflict resolution to students, here's what I do: I ask my students...
WHAT WOULD YOU DO???
So I give students conflict scenarios to solve.
My favorite way to do this is to break students up into small groups. I give each group the same scenario to discuss. I also give them guiding questions for discussion like...
Then, we come back together and debrief as a class. My goal is always to add to a growing list of strategies for how we can solve conflicts.
You can also choose one scenario to discuss as a whole class. Or give small groups different scenarios to discuss and then share out to the whole class.
By practicing conflict resolution, students improve their problem solving skills before the problems arise naturally - because they will :)
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Education is paying more attention to the importance of Social Emotional Learning now. They are finally realizing that these skills matter. The goal of teaching social and emotional skills is to build students' mental health and resilience—so that as they grow, they can adapt and handle what comes at them. SEL targets essential life skills for students, provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' ability to succeed in school, careers, and life.
Here are 10 teaching practices to promote SEL in your classroom:
1. Academic Rigor & High Expectations - Academic rigor promotes engagement while setting achievable but high expectations to establish that their teachers want them to succeed. The focus, there though, is on the teacher’s belief that ALL students can and will succeed to the HIGHEST AND ABOVE of each of their potential!
2. Student Centered Discipline - Teachers can use developmentally appropriate disciplinary strategies to motivate students to want to behave in the classroom. One way to do this is to give students a voice in the classroom through activities such as allowing the students to develop the classroom norms or rules.
3. Prosocial Teacher Language - Teachers can model appropriate communication skills for students! Teacher language can encourage and motivate students.
4. Classroom Discussions - Classroom discussions help develop communication skills and an ability to elaborate on student's own thinking.
5. Self Assessment & Self Reflection - Students can learn to view their work through an assessment lens as well as a reflective lens, allowing them to actively think about their own work and then, think about how to improve upon it. This inevitably leads to goal setting.
6. Promote Responsibility and Choice - By allowing students to have a voice in the classroom, teachers promote responsibility and choice. Explicitly teach students that they have choices, to take responsibility for their choices, and to learn from their choices. Some ways to promote responsibility and choice in the classroom are peer tutoring, cross age buddy reading, etc.
7. Balanced Instruction - Balanced Instruction occurs when there is an appropriate balance between active instruction and direct instruction and between individual and collaborative learning.
8. Cooperative Learning - Cooperative Learning requires students to actively work together around content in a meaningful way. Explicitly teach students the norms for working with a group. Then, give them opportunities to practice, apply, and adjust those skills. The jigsaw activity is one way to include cooperative learning in the classroom.
9. Competence Building - Competence Building is when a teacher develops students' social-emotional competencies systematically through the typical instructional cycle (lesson goals/objectives, introduction to new material/modeling, group and individual practice, and summary/reflection).
10. Offer Support - There are tons of research studies that demonstrate the significant impact teachers have on students. Help students to grow from their learning, both academically and behaviorally. One way to do this is to develop a behavior intervention plan with the student and include opportunities for your support to help the student achieve!
What are some other ways we can teach SEL to our students?
By Miss Rae
Incorporate this 5 Minute Fluency Focus Sequence into your daily reading lessons to improve fluency and target some social emotional learning goals of teaching students to take ownership over their learning by setting goals for themselves and graphing their progress.
Fluency refers to the reading of words quickly and accurately. And research has shown that skilled word level reading is the gateway to fluency.
If fluency related issues are connected to deficits in decoding, instruction should target phonics. If fluency is impaired by rate and accuracy, instruction should target automaticity in application of skills.
The largest factor that determines a student's fluency is the size of his or her vocabulary. So fluency instruction should be directed towards building a student's sight vocabulary. These words can be either phonetically regular or irregular, but the point is for students to be able to instantly read them because they are that familiar.
Simple exposure to words and reading practice boosts sight vocabulary of typical readers!
So here is the 5 Minute Fluency Sequence!
This 5 Minute Fluency Focus Sequence can be incorporated into your daily reading lessons.
Just align your practice passages to learned sight word vocabulary and with, exposure and practice using this sequence, watch student fluency improve!
Social Emotional Learning Component:
Social Emotional Learning: Have students set goals for their fluency! This improves Self Awareness, Self Management, and Responsible Decision-Making skills! Students are able to make more prosocial choices for their own academic learning due to improved goal directed behaviors!
By Miss Rae
Students have definitely changed!
My first years of teaching were spent in a therapeutic classroom in a therapeutic school. The students who sat in front of me then are the profiles of the students who are sitting in general education classrooms today.
These are the students who struggle to regulate their emotions. Their responses to problems do not match the problem. They are unmotivated to learn. They struggle to learn because they can't pay attention. They have been exposed to more trauma than most adults I know. They do not know how to socialize or communicate effectively.
Research indicates that success for students with learning difficulties depends on both effective academic programming AND the development of positive social and emotional environments. So what this means for us is that we have to teach strategies for approaching difficult tasks and teach students to believe in their own capacity and ability to learn.
effective academics + positive social emotional environments = student success
By teaching social emotional skills, we are preventing, modifying, and altering the effects of risks and outcomes associated with the typical trajectory of academic failure (Haft, et al., 2016).
So how can we teach SEL skills in our classrooms?
*Have students write a story or write role play (or just role play without adding the writing) typical situations that happen when they are together. Then, discuss! “How would you feel if this happened to you?” "What are some strategies we can use if this does happen to us?
*Make a Feeling Wheel with a spinner. Students can spin, label the feeling face that the spinner lands on, and share (or write) about a time they felt that way.
*Make Feeling Dice (cover milk cartons with paper and drawing different feeling faces on each side). Students toss the dice, label the feeling that lands face up, and share (or write) about a time they felt that way.
*Use read alouds to teach about an emotion. You can choose a picture book or a longer novel. No matter the choice, the discussion should focus on the SEL learning takeaways.
*Show students a photograph of a child's face, showing a certain emotion. Prompt students to think of words to describe the emotion displayed. Write a list of all of the different words students come up with. Then, ask them to turn and talk to their neighbor about a time they have felt that way. Challenge students to use a word from the generated list while they are sharing. The next time you play, make sure the photograph represents a different sort of emotion. The goal is that over time, students will develop an active vocabulary of words that describe their feelings.
By: Miss Rae
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And find others here...