What ‘s Social-Emotional Learning Got to Do with IT?

Help Students Express Complex Feelings

For students who have a difficult time expressing emotions or feelings, you can use memes or colors to help them gain a better awareness and understanding. We recommend using engagement tools like Nearpod to help students share their feelings. You can do this by presenting them with a set of nine images with recognizable characters or critters that display distinctive emotions. Search online for a “scale of emotions”, and if, for example, you pull up a Baby Yoda scale, you can ask students to use a multiple-choice poll: “On a scale of Baby Yoda, how are you feeling today? ” This will provide you with an immediate temperature check of your students’ emotional state.

To help students express more difficult emotions, you can also do a search for therapist Gloria Willcox’s colorful “feeling wheel” or psychologist Robert Plutchik’s interactive “wheel of emotions” and share with your students.

Online Tools Build Safe Communication in the Classroom

Think about a time when speaking up in a meeting didn’t feel safe, when ideas would be discounted or someone else would take credit. Students have these same concerns. Establishing psychological safety within our classrooms is vital to building those relationships and helping students make more responsible decisions.

We recommend teachers use Slido or a similar edited tech tool to post open-ended responses to anonymous fun questions, multiple-choice answers or create a visual classroom that is safe.

Questions can be images, like the ever popular “one’s gotta go” game, where students must choose an item to remove. You can also post “would you rather” questions, which tends to spur live debates.

When your students see that your classroom encourages curiosity and open-mindedness, they will feel comfortable speaking up or defending their responses in the classroom, thus reinforcing responsible decision-making.

KEEP READING: Game-based learning prepares K-12 students for a digital future.

Know What Students Are Facing Before Starting Class

Just like fingerprints, every child is unique, with a specific set of experiences that will shape their responses to a new learning environment. Understanding a student’s individual state of mind is an important part of relationship-building.

For the past few years, Delaine has been using a daily one-question survey that asks, “What should Mrs. Johnson know today? ” It’s a simple form that teachers can create that allows students to check in each day. For budding readers, you can use the drawing and audio functions in Seesaw for the same result.

These tools serve double duty, allowing Delaine to take attendance while getting a snapshot of what’s going on in the hearts and minds of her students that day, and helping that hour. Some respond by sharing that they didn’t get much sleep or that they are hungry; Some use it to share a joke or a concept they ‘re struggling with. Delaine can then adjust her lesson based on this feedback and address issues privately with individual students.

We know these suggestions are a small part of a much larger effort to help connect students’ hearts and minds. However, we recommend that educators try and take it one step at a time. You can find these and many other SEL and digital wellness resources for educators at heartmind.usGeneral Chat Chat Lounge

UP NEXT: Software solutions keep mental health at the forefront.

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