By: Rachelle Dené Poth
Buncee and SEL
It has become increasingly important for educators to focus on the mental health and wellness of our students. We also need to find balance and focus on our own self-care so that we can model this for the students in our classrooms. To do so, we need to have access to the best resources and tools to help students build social emotional learning (SEL) skills in our classrooms. For educators who may be looking for an overview of SEL and where to begin, I recommend starting with CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.
Another great resource is a course available through the Microsoft Educator Center called “Creative Expression and Social-Emotional Learning with Buncee” co-created by Francesca Arturi and Laura Steinbrink. It is a one hour course that I highly recommend for educators. While working through this course, you will better understand SEL, the five competencies and how Buncee helps students to build their skills in these areas. The five SEL competencies are: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills.
Why is it important that we focus on SEL?
Research shows that by regularly addressing the five competencies of SEL in our classrooms, we will positively impact and see an increase in student academic performance. It is essential that we have ideas and tools that can help us to create learning experiences for students to develop each of the five SEL competencies. Buncee has created a toolkit with template activities for grades K-6 and 7-12 to help educators feel confident with bringing SEL into the classroom!
How can we use Buncee to address SEL?
Self-awareness: As students work independently on a Buncee, they become aware of their skills and their interests as they create. Using Buncee for PBL for example, enables students to design their own learning path, learn to self-assess and continue to evolve as learners. Explore some of the Buncees here
Self-management: We can provide Buncees that help students to set goals, or share how they are feeling, do an emotions check-in, for a few examples. When students set goals for themselves or work through an assignment, they learn to deal with any stress or emotions they may feel during the learning process. Using some of the templates, we can help students chart their emotions and be better able to process and manage emotions and stress.
Social awareness: In my classroom, my students create Buncees to share with students in Spanish-speaking countries, which helped all students to develop a greater awareness of any similarities or differences between them. Sharing Buncees on a board enables students to learn about one another and is highly beneficial for developing empathy.
Relationship skills. When we create an “About Me” Buncee, or use some of the icebreaker activities, or as teachers, introduce ourselves to our students and share on a Buncee board, it helps us to build relationships and collaborate. Sharing on the Buncee Board enables us to learn about one another regardless of whether we are in-person, hybrid or virtual. Developing relationship building skills is essential for future workplace success and to help students work as part of a team.
Decision making: Creating with Buncee empowers students with choices in learning. As they create to share what they have learned, they develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Buncee helps educators create a more inclusive classroom and learning experience for students. Buncee continues to provide the resources that will promote students’ academic, emotional and social development.
Finding ways to bring SEL into our classrooms is not something extra added on to what we are doing. With Buncee, we can weave in activities that promote student engagement in learning while developing the essential SEL skills to prepare them for the future.Competency in SEL positively impacts the future success of students whether in college or in the workplace.
About the author
Rachelle Dene is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She was recently named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021.
She is the author of five books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World and her newest book “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us” is now available. All books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or directly from Rachelle.