Technology Transforms Student SEL

Nicole Vaughn @MrsNicoleVaughn

ELA Teacher @co_sumner @SumnerConnect

Knox Doss Drakes Creek Middle School #sumnerconnect #sumnerachieves

Social, Emotional Learning—such jargony term. At least, this seems to be the mindset for many educators in the current days of checking off all of the boxes before 3pm rolls around, and trust me, there are MANY boxes to check off. But what if SEL is not just a part of “this list”? What if this term is in fact THE answer to connectivity in all aspects of learning? How do we treat this terminology now? Do we just throw SEL around by asking some questions or using a scripted curriculum saying we gave it a shot to check the box, or do we actually dive deep and come to the realization that SEL is the key to student success?

Social Emotional Learning is not just about figuring out how our students are feeling, but it is about getting to know who our students are and how we can meet their needs. In our classroom, we do daily student check-ins via google form. Having students fill out this form is just the very beginning. I take five minutes each day to read how students are rating their emotions and if they have anything they need to share with me. These check-ins have opened the doors to daily communication and relationship building opportunities. Here are a few personal stories to demonstrate the true power of making SEL part of who we are and our community of learning:

For a few days leading up to this check-in I had noticed this student marking he was struggling. On this day, he opened up and told me he was having family issues at home. His behavior had been off, and he seemed apathetic about school and not completing his work. One conversation about his struggles changed the entire trajectory for the rest of his school week. This student knows I read each of these check-ins, and although I am still working to build our relationship stronger, he continues to share openly and honestly with how he is feeling each day. This notion alone, creates belief in himself and belief that I care about him, so now he cares about our class and his learning.

Students who do not take interest in school or are apathetic to learning are why SEL is so vital in our classrooms. We are a community, and when one student is not an active member, then there is a downward shift in the expectations and beliefs of the community. The photo below is a screenshot of a daily check in, and this student did not enjoy our ELA class at the beginning of the year. He was constantly laying his head down, not answering questions when discussions were happening, and not completing classwork or assessments. The student started asking me questions through the daily check-ins. These specific types of questions I would typically view as meaningless candor, but they meant something to this student. My answers gave him the assurance that I was reading his check-ins and could see all concerns and needs. We quickly established a great student, teacher relationship, and now he is so incredibly excited to come to our classroom and learn. Checking in with this student daily made all of the difference in the meaning of being at school versus being a part of the school. He feels like he belongs–because he does.

Bottom line: relationships and trust are established first; then, learning can happen.

Technology Transforms Student SEL

Nicole Vaughn @MrsNicoleVaughn

ELA Teacher @co_sumner @SumnerConnect

Knox Doss Drakes Creek Middle School #sumnerconnect #sumnerachieves

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