Professional Support for Social–Emotional Development and Positive School Climate
The Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning laboratory (EASEL) at Harvard University is testing the use of flexible, bite-sized lessons to teach social and emotional learning. The “kernels” are designed to be adaptable to students’ interests and needs. The EASEL team works with teachers and school staff, OST/afterschool providers, families, mental health workers, and others in the community to support social–emotional development and a positive school climate. The lab offers three types of professional development opportunities: (1) One-Time Professional Development, Training and Support includes the science of social and emotional learning (SEL); a whole-child, whole-setting approach to SEL; as well as core principles and strategies for integrating SEL into everyday practices and routines, integrating literacy and SEL instruction, and more. (2) SEL Workshop Series explores topics central to social–emotional development and provides concrete tools and strategies (something to take home and try each month). Workshop topics include executive function and brain development; understanding and managing stress; talking about and managing feelings; and supporting positive behaviors. And (3) SEL Customized Partnership may include ongoing coaching/professional development; concrete strategies and tools for building SEL; SEL Assessment tools and data collection to inform instruction; review and/or consultation of SEL activities and/or assessment; and integration of EASEL’s materials/resources into an existing curricula or program.
Super skills, twenty-first century skills, best practices—whatever you want to call the 4C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication), they are an integral part of the student experience in our classroom. Even so, sometimes a pathway to incorporate the 4C’s may seem evasive or like it takes too much time. Adding the following tools and ideas to an instructional toolbox can support a seamless incorporation of the 4C’s into our teaching and learning for all students.
Each time you and your students embark on a new story,
your characters undergo a transformation. If you lead your students through the
elements we’ve discussed (creating an epic classroom, uncovering a conflict, and traversing the rising action to solve the conflict) then the transformation will happen by itself. A critical part of
epic learning is helping students to realize that metamorphosis and use what
they’ve learned. Here are a few activities to facilitate reflection and wrap up
your epic learning experience.
FOOD Ed. is a national standards-aligned course that brings STEAM to life by exploring the complexities of the nation’s food system. The semester-long interdisciplinary course explores connections between food and culture, food and environment, and food and power.