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Showing posts with label social/ emotional awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social/ emotional awareness. Show all posts

Back to School Success Strategies Part 5: Watch Their Emotional Health!

It's getting closer to that time again. 

No matter where you are in your summer vacation, getting back is in your future. This series of posts is designed to make that return a bit smoother for you.

This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help watch out for their emotional health.

Today is Part 5 in a five part series about returning to school successfully.

As we know, a whole lot of our children have been through some tough times in the last couple of years. Between pandemics, school shootings, and political conflict, it's a challenging world.

Most classroom teachers don't have degrees in counseling or psychology, but we do know some of the things to look for, once we know our students. Once we know there's a problem, we can look to the professionals for help.

Morning Meetings, small groups, and one-on-one times are the best times to get to know the students. Knowing them is a key to knowing when there's a problem.

 

This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help watch out for their emotional health.

The above resource has 60 different group games that can be used in a variety of situations with a variety of age levels. Many are appropriate for using remotely as well as in the classroom. I'm sure you'll find something appropriate for your situation to get the students relax and getting to know them! 60 Team Building Games and Activities 

Here are a couple of other resources to help the children think about getting along with each other and getting comfortable. These resources are perfect for back to school, both in the classroom or virtually!

Once you get to know your students, you'll be able to notice when something's not right. 

What to do about it? Well, not having a background in mental health keeps me from going there, but here are a few things to think about:

1. Laughter!

Laughing is healing. I've actually heard laughter referred to as "Vitamin L!" Be sure to get your daily dose! (And yes, there is science to back this up!)

2. Contact the Professionals

Most classroom teachers don't have a mental health background. This is the time to contact the school counselor. Be sure to have data to share about your perceptions!

3. Be a Role Model!

Emotional Health problems can't be solved overnight, nor can they be solved by the classroom teacher. However, there are a few things teachers can do along the way to help struggling children feel a little better. 

Children need to know their feelings are acceptable. We're all frustrated right now. We're scared. It's ok to validate those feelings to the children. Talk about what scares you and frustrates you. Talk about how you're going to deal with it, in their language. Let them see how you handle those frustrations, and try to stay positive. Being a positive role model is the best thing we can do for them. 


Be sure to read the other four parts of these Back to School Success Strategies!
This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help you establish routines.
 
This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help you review and strengthen known skills.
  
This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help you watch out for their health.
 
 
This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help watch out for their emotional health.
 

I imagine you're thinking of more ways to look out for their emotional health.

I hope you'll share some of these in the comments below.


This is a series of 5 posts designed to make the return smooth and successful. This post has some ideas that will help watch out for their emotional health.

Six Strategies for Success in School: A Classroom Management System and More!

I had a very challenging class a few years ago!

I admit, I loved each and every one of them, but the combination of kiddos really was exhausting. I had behavior challenges, learning challenges, and a whole lot of kiddos who needed to talk and who needed to move a whole lot! They needed plenty of attention, and plenty of opportunities to let off steam. 
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!

I've had all these challenges before, but I never had so many challenges all in one group!

After that year, I made sure I enjoyed these luxuries during the summer:

-extra cups of coffee - while they're still warm
-relaxed conversations with grown ups
-reading books written for adults
-eating breakfast in my jammies
-going to the gym, with energy to work out
and most of all... 
-peeing when I need to!

But I also spent a lot of time thinking about that group, and trying to come up with ideas that I could start at the beginning of the year that could prevent some of the issues I had.

My dad always taught me: 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

and that's just what I planned to do!

After much thought, I decided on the most important strategies I wanted to focus on in my classroom.
Strategies for Success: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Team Player, Be Mindful, and Be an Active Learner

I decided to spend a whole lot of time at the beginning of the school year teaching these strategies for success!

I made posters with an explanation for each strategy. 

I made one for each of the six strategies, and made strategy response booklets for the children to write their thoughts. 

Be safe


6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
Be respectful! 
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
Be responsible!
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
Be a team player 
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
Be mindful! 

6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
Be an active learner!

 
As you can see, the posters are available in color as well as black and white for the kids to color and think about.
 
Plus, there are other items to share with the children:
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!
These posters for bulletin boards, student "strategy response booklets, and bookmarks help internalize the concepts of each strategy!
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!

I have students complete self-assessment quarterly, usually just before report cards or parent conferences. If their assessment doesn't match mine, we have a talk!

These pages could also be used in interactive notebooks.

My plan was to take a day or two discussing the meaning of each strategy, listing the children's ideas, giving examples and non-examples, and making sure the children really understood what each strategy meant before they completed that page in their strategy response booklets. 

The Mindfulness strategy took a little longer, especially those who came from classes that didn't do any mindfulness activities in the past.

I did manage to find a few websites with some awesome explanations and activities for helping children understand and practice Mindfulness.




What Happened Next?

After much discussion, we decided on a gesture for each strategy. Every morning, after the Pledge of Allegiance and the school chant, my students would recite the 6 Strategies for Success, complete with the gestures we created together. My plan definitely had a strong influence on the classroom community! They were safe, respectful, responsible, team players, mindful, and active learners!
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!

Since I started using this system, confidence in my students has increased, and their awareness of the social/ emotional climate in themselves as well as their classmates has soared!

Feel free to explore this resource more HERE.
 
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!

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