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Building Communities For Student Success

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Behavior Intervention Specialist / Resources -- web and paper-based -- ALL  FREE

Educator SEL is:

  • The competencies that adults need in order to manage stress and create a safe and supportive classroom environment
  • The skills and mindsets that adults need to effectively embody, teach, model, and coach SEL for students
  • The overall well-being and emotional state of adults in school settings

SEL Check-In Resources

Social Emotional Learning Articles/Resources

SEL Elementary Websites

SEL Secondary Websites

Social Emotional Learning Books
  • Fostering Resilient Learners, Kristin Van Marter Souers with Pete Hall
  • Relationship, Responsibility, and Regulation, Kristin Van Marter Souers, Pete Hall, et al.
  • Behavior: The Forgotten Curriculum -- An RTI Approach for Nurturing Essential Life Skills (Transform Your Differentiated Instruction, Assessment, and Behavior-Management Strategies), Chris Weber
  • Culturize:  Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes., Jimmy Casas
  • Help for Billy: A Beyond Consequences Approach to Helping Challenging Children in the Classroom, Heather T. Forbes
  • Teaching to Strengths:  Supporting Students Living with Trauma, Violence and Chronic Stress, Debbie Zacarian, Lourdes Alvaraez-Ortiz, and Judie Hayes
  • All Learning is Social and Emotional:  The Hidden Curriculum
  • The Formative Five:  Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs, Thomas R. Hoerr
  • The Morning Meeting Book, Roxann Kriete, and Carole Davis
  • Taking Social-Emotional Learning Schoolwide:  The Formative Five Success Skills for Students and Staff, Thomas R. Hoerr
  • Teaching to Empower:  Taking Action to Foster Student Agency, Self-Confidence, and Collaboration, Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone
  • Relentless:  Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm, Hamish Brewer
  • Better Than Carrots or Sticks:  Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management, Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, et al.
  • Hacking School Discipline:  9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice, Nathan Maynard, and Brad Weinstein

Additional Resources 

Practical Tips/Practices to Support SEL in the Classroom (Classcraft, 2022)

1. Review Current Events

Your students might think you’re just making small talk, but reviewing current events that display proper SEL behavior or show signs of poor behavior is a good start. During the discussion, you could point out how things could have fared better if the behavior had been managed more appropriately. Students will begin to understand how poor decisions can lead to an instant downfall, so managing emotion is the key. Once students realize the consequences of improper behavior and how it affects the future, they will make their choices more carefully.

2. Greet your Students 

Do you greet each of your students by name as they enter your classroom? Try it! Once it becomes a daily habit, you might be surprised to learn that your students are repeating this practice with their peers and other adults! Greeting one another in a welcoming and civil manner is just a small step in bringing back humanity. 

3. Journal Writing

Students are less likely to share their thoughts in a one-on-one discussion or in a small group. But, they will open up in journal writing. There’s something very liberating about putting thoughts on paper that one would never say in front of their peers.  

Journal writing can be used for reviewing numerous SEL skills. It just depends on the writing prompt at the moment. For example, asking high school students to write about moments where they wish they would have shown empathy and compassion to others could make them change their behavior next time around. 

4. Setting Goals on Paper

There’s something magical that happens once goals are written down on paper. It becomes a daily reminder that in both the short and long-term, the student is working toward accomplishing a bigger task. While the present day may not be all sunshine and rainbows, stepping back and allowing students to see the big picture and an attainable goal should act as a motivating factor. An educator or guidance counselor can help students determine how to achieve these goals if necessary. 

5. Share Success Stories

Students who are currently struggling may give up after years of constant difficulties. However, hearing how others facing similar circumstances have succeeded may just give them the push they need. Here are a few examples: 

  • Elvis Presley flunked music in high school. 
  • Sylvester Stallone was down to his last dollar and had to sell his dog until he wrote the movie Rocky and gave himself the main role. 
  • Mark Twain struggled throughout life, including watching his brother die and seeing three of his four children dying before they reached adulthood.
  • Albert Einstein was never really thought of as a bright student and had difficulty finding work as an adult. 

True stories like these can help students manage their emotions during a rough patch. 

6. Write a Short Biography about Another Student

Your students probably think every other classmate’s life is simple compared with theirs. (And we know many adults who make this mistake, too!) Allow your students to see the light by putting them in pairs and asking them to write a short biography about each other. Get creative with the pairing! You might be able to create lifelong friendships! 

7. Give Each Student a Mentor 

Let’s face it. We could all use a mentor in our lives. Whether we need help to fix our car, wash clothes, balance a budget or deal with other issues that need problem-solving. High school students are no different. Maybe they need a mentor’s help to manage their emotions, get better grades, make friends, or any other SEL issues. These mentors could be a classroom peer or even a responsible adult from the community. 

8. Use Literature

There are countless novels in which characters make poor decisions and, in turn, create their own nightmares. If students are able to read about these types of circumstances, they might be able to see the similarities in their own lives and decisions. 

9. Create SEL Artwork

Self-doubt is something almost all high school students are facing and many talented students feel safer expressing themselves through their art instead of words. Try introducing an art project about positivity and optimism. You could see improved behavior!

10. New Ways of Seeing the World  

We often struggle because we can’t put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Your students have to learn to see issues from many angles. Take a story from the newspaper or even a fictional tale and view the problem from both the protagonist’s and antagonist’s point of view. 

11. Use a Quote of the Day 

You’ll find plenty of motivational quotes online. Find some that deal with SEL problems and talk about them at the beginning of each class. Start a morning meeting and ask the students what these quotes mean to them. Some of their answers could be quite eye-opening. 

12. Create Office Hours for SEL Issues

Make sure your students know that your door is always open to discuss SEL matters in private. They might just take the opportunity to open up about some of their problems. Even if only one or two students take advantage of this service, it’s worth it.