We put students first by putting teachers first. It took several years of teaching before I fully appreciated the logic and legitimacy of that line. In a world where a teacher’s job description looks like a balancing act between educator, social worker, nurse, and administrator, taking time to prioritize self-care is extremely important.Read More
When I was eight years old, I started experiencing severe anxiety in the classroom. This usually occurred during any activity where I was asked to write.
My teacher would ask the class to write about what we did during the previous weekend—a pretty straightforward writing assignment. But for me, I was so worried that I couldn’t write the “correct” sentence, so I would go blank - unable to remember a single thing I did during the weekend. That’s when the panic would begin.Read More
I grew up an hour outside of New York City, and was raised in a community where rest is something one earns.
Does that narrative sound familiar to anyone else?
Here are three steps I find helpful in preventing burnout
1. Giving myself permission to rest and scheduling that time into my calendar. Whenever I can, I am not scheduling more time to work after my evening workouts or dinner. I want to savor the time spent with friends, the post-workout bliss, or yummy meal to really reap the benefits of relaxation.Read More
While I haven’t mastered the use of homeroom / advisory time, the following three steps helped me by lightening my load (I let other people plan homeroom for me!) and turning homeroom into a time of positive relationship building.
Remember you’re not on an island
Leverage community partners and let others work for you. From social & emotional learning programs to ice breakers there are amazing resources out there built by teachers. I utilized CNN Student News (now called CNN 10) and a corresponding worksheet a friend of mine created to foster a climate of civic engagement and ASSET’s social & emotional learning tools, which come with all the materials necessary for implementation, to help my students develop strategies for how to regulate their stress.
Tips for project based learning
Connect it to their lives & their future
Always provide exemplars
Teach students how to regulate their emotions
One day after a particularly problematic period, I walked into a co-worker’s room where the quote was on the wall: “Students don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I realized this quote was in need of an update. I’m now convinced the 2019 version of this quote should read: “Students don't care how much you know, until they see you explicitly teach them how you care.” After all we are teachers; students expect us to go beyond showing and concretely teach them something.
Leveraging social & emotional learning (SEL) programs radically improved my classroom management by:
Investing students in co-creating a positive culture
Teaching students how to respond to stress and other triggers
Giving me a chance to calm myself before responding to any misbehavior
The issue is if you’re a teacher in a state implementing Common Core standards, you’re stuck with them regardless of your opinion. Teachers don’t set public policy, but they certainly have to deal with the repercussions of it. We must teach in the world that is, not necessarily the world that ought to be.
So how do you teach in the era of Common Core?
Bring Positive Psychology into the classroom
Provide opportunities to fail...safely
Teach stress management skills
When it comes to students’ mental health it is imperative we have a long term approach as these are the types of programs that can impact a student for years to come. A study involving over 97,000 students over 18 years found “3.5 years after the last intervention the academic performance of students exposed to SEL programs was an average 13 percentile points higher than their non-SEL peers.”Read More
“Who’s ever been in a position where your mind goes blank right when the test starts?”
Before I even finish the sentence, dozens of hands shoot up in the air. I follow up by asking my class what they do when this happens to them.
Here is how you can reduce student testing anxiety
1. Teach AND provide time to practice coping techniques
2. Emphasize that college is not the end game
3. Publicly celebrate non-academic wins as often as possibleRead More
A Summary of ASSET’s Case Studies by the DPS Imaginarium Innovation Lab
In February 2016, Tessa found herself on stage at the Denver Public Schools Imaginarium Innovation Lab’s Design Challenge sharing the success of the ASSET pilot in Brent Modak’s classroom. Tessa shared her observations: a loud group of students with high-stress levels could be calmed down and focused within five minutes of an ASSET lesson. Brent also noticed a change within himself; he, too, was calmer and more focused after he led ASSET in his class.Read More
Importance of Student Reflection
The DSST: GVR case study, while proving the positive impact of the curriculum, drove home one point very clearly: opportunities for student reflection when trying new activities is crucial. From this insight, Drew Madson, an ASSET teacher, had the idea for an ASSET Student Toolbox Worksheet. The Student Toolbox, now a component of the curriculum, provides students the opportunity to pause after experiencing a new social & emotional learning tool and reflect on whether that tool helps them regulate their stress.Read More
How to Make SEL a School-Wide Initiative
Beth Lakin, an eleventh grade English teacher at North High School, has been an ASSET champion since the early days when we hosted summer institute PDs and kept the curriculum in an excel spreadsheet.
Beth is the real MVP. She’s grown ASSET from her single classroom to making the program a school-wide initiative with the help of her principal’s support.Read More
What Makes a Great SEL PD
After DSISD’s professional development, Tessa and Gina stood in the parking lot giddy with excitement and celebrating a successful session. They asked themselves what went so well in the training? Was it the Voodoo Doughnuts the two had brought for their new ASSET team?Read More