Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

SEL Basics

23

Aug

Teaching Love Over Hate: A Response to the Charlottesville Incident

by Karen Niemi, President and CEO, CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning)

Dear CASEL friends:

Like so many of you, I’ve been shaken and horrified by the events of this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. The prospect of overt and violent hatred and bigotry once again entering the American public square of ideas is abhorrent, and again, a very real threat.

I couldn’t help being struck that so many of the participants in the violence were so young, like 20-year-old white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr., who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. So much tragedy. . . a life cut short, and the living are left with pain, heartache, loss, and, for some, the inspiration for violence yet to come.

How could a society capable of nurturing so much beauty and compassion have also produced Mr. Fields? What forces stoked his fears of diversity and emboldened him with hate? How could his life have been different — not to mention the lives of hundreds of KKK members, alt-right supporters, white nationalists, and violent extremists — if he possessed the skills to understand and manage his emotions, feel empathy, and build positive relationships? We will never know.

I’m more convinced than ever that the work we do here at CASEL is part of the solution to this type of bigotry and fear. We believe in the power of education to teach nonviolence, promote understanding, endow children with purpose and meaning, and provide the skills and behaviors that can create a more inclusive, healthy, and positive future.

Our board chairman, Timothy Shriver, perfectly summed up what we must do to succeed when he said, “I want to change the cycle of stigma and prejudice that destroys lives all over the world every day. Until we can get in front of people and awaken them to the idea that this is not acceptable, it’s very difficult for people to appreciate what we do and change the way we act as a society.”

We are the educators who teach love over hate, the helpers who run toward disaster to comfort the afflicted, and the change agents who will help destroy prejudice and stigmatization.

I ask each of you not to disengage after the tragedy of this past weekend but instead to see it as a call to redouble our efforts because this work is vital, perhaps now more than ever. And we must succeed. Our children are counting on us. Our communities are counting on us. Our country is counting on us.

Together we will build a better tomorrow!

Karen Niemi

President and CEO

CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Read the Full Post on CASEL’s Website

21

Aug

How to Combat a Negative Climate by Promoting Respect and Understanding

Summary:  This article by CASEL makes a statement about how respect and understanding is needed in this time of negativity in the aftermath of the Charlottesville incidents earlier this month.  The article also provides resources for addressing hate and racism in the classroom as well as resources supporting SEL.

Source:  CASEL, August 2017

Categories:  Core Values, Positive Relationships, Educational Equity, SEL Basics, Empathy

18

Aug

Bite-Size SEL Lessons

Summary:  Snack time can be an opportunity for social and emotional learning instead of simply a pit stop for hungry kids.  Snack time can offer opportunities for building community and sharing responsibilities in the early elementary classroom.

Source:  Kerry Elson, Edutopia, August 14, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, Classroom Practice, Student Engagement, Core Values

18

Aug

Social Justice Reading List as a Resource for Teachers

Summary:  The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) has created a list of resources called the “Social Justice Book List.”  This list is available to teachers as a aide to starting conversations and search for solutions in response to the recent social unrest in our country.

Source:  Laura Beth Ellis, NNSTOY, August 17, 2017

Categories:  Educational Equity, Social Justice, Core Values, SEL Basics, School Culture/Climate

14

Aug

Elias

State Board Issues Guidelines for Social and Emotional Education …

Summary:  This article reports on the NJ State Board adopting guidelines for Social and Emotional Learning and includes an interview with Maurice Elias who made a presentation in support of SEL and the new guidelines.

Source:  John Mooney, NJSpotlight, August 14, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, School Culture/Climate, Core Values, Codes of Conduct

12

Aug

Circle up: Teaching Social-Emotional Skills Year Round

Summary:  This article tells the story of “Aim High,” a summer program in California for disadvantaged middle school students.  Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) has a central role in these programs and also in the accountability measures of the CORE districts in California as well as the California State Department of Education. 

Source: Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource, August 8, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Positive Relationships, Educational Equity

11

Aug

Minecraft

The Fascinating Link Between Minecraft and SEL

Summary:  This article explores how Minecraft can support social-emotional learning.  A new report, How Minecraft Supports Social and Emotional Learning in K–12 Education, published by Getting Smart, investigates the connection between classroom use of Minecraft and the SEL outcomes of K– 12 students.

Source:  Laura Ascione, eSchool News, August 11, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Student Engagement, Student-Centered Learning

11

Aug

Marshmellows

Building a Modern Marshmallow Test: New Ways to Measure Social-Emotional Learning

Summary:  This article reports on a contest to develop a new “Marshmellow Test” – ideas for innovative ways to measure social-emotional learning.  While most of the suggestions were for performance-based tests, concerns were noted about the objectivity of these tests since other factors may influence performance.

Source:  Evie Blad, Education Week, August 10, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Assessment Tools

10

Aug

LGBT Flag

Minnesota Issues Best Practice Guide for Serving Transgender Students in Public Schools

Summary:  Minnesota’s School Safety Technical Assistance Council’s “Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” is not intended to be a mandate, but is more of a guide for educators in issues related to transgender students.

Source:  Linda Jacobsen, Education DIVE, August 10, 2017

Categories:  LGBTQ Issues, Educational Equity, School Culture/Climate, SEL Basics

2

Aug

Tree

What a Photograph of a Tree Can Teach Leaders About Change

Summary:  This article uses a tree metaphor to address the change process in education.  Change is almost always a difficult proposition that is often associated with loss.  The  authors show that when leaders are sensitive to various factions affected by the potential change, they can address those concerns and alleviate some of the fear and hesitation that goes along with any change process.

Source:  Jill Berkowitz and Ann Myers, Education Week, August 1, 2017

Categories:  Leadership Qualities, School Culture/Climate, SEL Basics