My number one priority at the moment teaching in-person second and third graders is their health and well-being. This is a hard year for everyone; especially our children. They have had to adapt to a world with many unknowns, unpredictability and change in their little lives. Our students are resilient, strong and unbreakable. Every day I experience anxiety going to a big school with so many people during a pandemic, but the energy and spirit of these little people make my day so wonderful. When we are in our classroom and present, there is nothing that can pop our bubble of happiness. We have created a positive environment where we prioritize being kind, respectful, mindful and having a growth mindset.
Our ‘mindful minutes’ everyday is my favourite part of the day. I model that I need time to regulate before I am able to teach and they need it to get their bodies and brains ready to learn. We check in with how our body and heart feel, do a variety of breathing activities, and positive affirmations. Each day I lead a type of mindfulness/meditation and then we all say our positive affirmations.
- I am a super learner.
- I work hard and try my best.
- Mistakes help me learn and grow.
- I ignore distractions.
- I am focused and regulated.
- I am a good friend and classmate.
- I am kind and caring.
- I am safe and loved at school.
Today is going to be a good day! 🙂
We have many other affirmations as well but I make sure to say those. Recently, I have been opening the floor to have students pick affirmations they feel we need to say in our hearts. For example, “we are joyful and happy, we are bucket fillers, we are brave, etc” It is a beautiful part of our morning routine that sets the tone for our learning time.
When schools shut down in March, I made it a prime concern to make sure my students had this as part of their routine. I knew how much they were missing school and their friends. Attached is a video I made of our ‘mindful minutes’ in March for students to watch each day if they chose. Hopefully this helps you understand what I am getting at. I was set on bringing this part of our day to their homes.
Social-Emotional Learning has become a big part of my classroom and has changed how I teach. Students can not learn if they are not regulated first. Students need strategies to help them deal with everything life throws at us. Many adults do not have these coping skills and strategies. I really wish I would’ve learned these when I was young.
With all that being said, this is why I have chosen to do my course on Social-Emotional Learning. It is important not only during this difficult time but always and will benefit students whole being as they grow.
To continue with my long rationale, I have included a video to understand what Social-Emotional Learning is. After teaching for many years and using this in my classroom, I will make lessons around what I have found works best in my teaching, for my students, and have had the most success in. It will be my own interpretation of Social-Emotional Learning. As I create these lessons, I may change the title to ‘Emotional Well-Being’ or ‘Healthy Mind and Body’. We will see what happens!
Course Overview: Social-Emotional Learning
Rationale: To summarize what I wrote above, Social-Emotional Learning is an important part of child development. Children must learn how to self-regulate, build healthy relationships, and develop skills to process their emotions in a positive way. In order to learn, children need to have positive self-esteem and believe in their abilities. Many children are not learning these skills at home; therefore I believe it is important to implement these lessons in a blended learning format.
Target Audience: The beauty of this course is that it can be used with a variety of age groups. I will target Kindergarten to grade 5 with all lessons created to be adapted beyond these ages.
Course Format: I will be using a blended learning format on Canvas and Seesaw. Lessons will be flexible and accessed at home and/or used in whole group, in-person instruction. With attendance not being consistent this will give students opportunity to participate from home. The course will be designed to be approximately four weeks. Students can work at their own pace at home or school.
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes: From the Saskatchewan Health Curriculum the outcomes and indicators targeted are:
- USCK.1 Develop basic habits to establish healthy relationships with self, others, and the environment.
- USCK.3 Explore that who I am includes more than my physical self.
- USC1.1 Examine healthy behaviours and opportunities and begin to determine how these behaviours and opportunities may affect personal well-being.
- USC1.3 Analyze, with support, feelings and behaviours that are important for nurturing healthy relationships at school.
- USC1.5 Explore the association between a healthy sense of “self” and one’s positive connection with others and the environment.
- USC2.1 Demonstrate a basic understanding of how thoughts, feelings, and actions influence health and well-being.
- USC2.4 Examine social and personal meanings of “respect” and establish ways to show respect for self, persons, living things, possessions, and the environment.
- USC3.2 Examine the spiritual dimension of the “inner self” and determine the importance of nurturing it.
- USC3.4 Understand what it means to contribute to the health of self, family and home.
- USC4.3 Examine healthy interpersonal skills and determine strategies to effectively develop new relationships and/or negotiate disagreements in relationships.
- USC4.5 Examine how identity (i.e., self-concept, self-esteem, self-determination) is influenced by relationships that are formed with others.
- USC4.6 Assess healthy stress management strategies (e.g., relaxation skills, stress control skills, guided imagery, expressing feelings, exercising).
- USC5.4 Analyze the connections between personal identity and personal well-being, and establish strategies to develop and support a positive self-image.
- USC5.7 Assess the importance of self-regulation and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
There will be many cross curricular connections within the lessons such as English Language Arts, Physical Education and Arts Education.
Course Materials: Access to technology, support from family members, and positive engagement.
- The audience is young with many needing assistance to participate in online portion.
- Students may not have access to technology at home.
- Will have to be adapted for visually impaired learners in my school.
- There may be disengaged students not doing any of the online portion like when we moved to online learning.
Guiding Questions and Assignments: There will be two lessons per topic that flow together as children learn and build on each skill.
- What are Feelings and Emotions?
- Growth Mindset
- Positive Affirmations
- ‘Bucket Filling’
Assessment Strategies: Formative assessment will be how this course is assessed. Students will participate in a variety of activities at the end of each lesson that will demonstrate their understanding of the concept.
I welcome all feedback, questions and ideas of how I could make this course come to life. I am struggling with the assessment part and delivery of the course. I know it will change as I put the lessons together and learn more about online course formats. If you have any ideas, I would be very grateful.
Thank you for reading! 🙂