Boosting Academic Progress with Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

In collaboration with StoryJumper

Meeting academic standards and staying on track to cover the required curriculum can be a stressful experience for educators during any school year. But because of school closures and transitioning learning environments during the past couple of years, meeting educational requirements on time has become even more stressful. Educators have been concerned with finding ways to make up for the instructional time and learning opportunities lost during Covid.

SEL Challenges that Negatively Impact Learning

In addition to making sure that students develop their academic skills, we also need to help students develop the social-emotional learning (SEL) skills they need to thrive at school. If students don’t have opportunities to develop essential SEL skills, their ability to recover from any “learning loss” will be more difficult. When students lack the skills to work through challenges, lack confidence in the classroom, or experience frustration or anxiety when it comes to learning, their learning potential will be negatively impacted.

Also, students who have underdeveloped SEL skills can exhibit behavioral problems that disrupt the classroom learning space. Examples can include acting out in class or having negative peer interactions that disrupt a lesson. Some students may have trouble managing their emotions, but with SEL practices in place, we can help students to regulate their behavior so they can learn better.

Choosing SEL Solutions

To address these challenges, teachers have resources such as a variety of learning activities as well as digital tools that provide them with what they need to get started to bring essential SEL opportunities to students. Finding the time to explore new resources can be limited by busy teaching schedules and other demands. As a result, it is essential to:

  • Find resources that provide a lot of options for teachers and students in any grade level or content area
  • Provide students with a variety of ways to meet their learning interests and needs through the power of choice
  • Offer authentic, meaningful, and engaging SEL experiences for students
  • Choose resources that make it easier and less time-consuming for teachers and students to get started.

Building SEL Skills with StoryJumper

Stories are an excellent way for students to learn social-emotional skills. Stories allow students to safely explore or express personal challenges through characters who serve as role models. Students gain a sense of agency over difficult situations because they get to control and determine what happens in their stories.

StoryJumper is a valuable digital storytelling platform that boosts students’ writing, reading, and SEL skills. But it’s not just digital. StoryJumper story books that are created by students are frequently published by schools and parents as “real” hardcover or paperback books, providing a memorable and tactile connection with their story books. StoryJumper provides many options for authentic learning and makes it easy to get started on writing projects. Imagine filling your classroom bookshelves with books written by your students.

Many Options in StoryJumper

Using resources like StoryJumper, K-12 students can explore and create books based on their specific interests and needs. These opportunities foster student agency and boost true engagement ​in learning. The power of choice leads to higher student motivation to learn, improving student achievement.

StoryJumper provides everything that teachers and students need for a writing project within one streamlined and robust learning platform. Multimodal (visual, voice, and text) creation options are integrated into StoryJumper, making it easier and more engaging for students to fully express their thoughts and emotions. These integrated options help reluctant writers and students with learning challenges overcome their resistance to writing and build their confidence.

Visual. To make illustrating books easier, StoryJumper allows students to design their own characters who look like people in their own lives (see below). Students can also use illustrations from StoryJumper’s art library or upload their own drawings or photos. These options make learning more authentic and empower students to create and share their own stories, helping them connect with classmates & teachers and build self-awareness and social awareness skills.

Voice. When a student records their voice narration within their books that they choose to share, other students can hear the author’s excitement and more deeply connect with them (see below). There are also options to add background music and sound effects that further bring students’ stories to life.

Text. Text can be entered in many different languages and styled with a variety of fonts. Students can also initially write their stories in Google Docs and then copy and paste their text into StoryJumper, which will auto-paginate the text across several book pages.

Authentic Learning through StoryJumper

Creating StoryJumper books with an authentic purpose (such as publishing their book) makes students more engaged in learning, boosting their academic progress. When students know that their work will be published as a “real” book and they have the option to share it with other students, they’re much more likely to put in their best work.

Teachers can also showcase outstanding student books to the rest of the school by printing out the StoryJumper QR codes for those books (see below) and posting them outside the classroom. Other students can scan the QR code using their device, read and listen to the outstanding book, and give positive feedback to the student author, boosting their confidence.

In my Spanish III class, students really enjoyed creating stories with StoryJumper. Being able to design characters and collaborate on a book boosted engagement in my classroom. My students increased their retention of content because they were able to work with classmates and build SEL skills while using a tool like StoryJumper that sparks curiosity and creativity in learning. It was fun seeing what they created and then having time to read each other’s stories made it even more meaningful.

Easy to Get Started with StoryJumper

Teachers can quickly get started with StoryJumper by leveraging the lesson plans and writing project ideas available. You can create template books to help students finish their books faster and import your Google Classroom classes to make class setup faster.

Students can also get started quickly with StoryJumper. Once they log into their accounts, students find that it’s easier to write with multimodal creation options (compared with a typical text editor), helping them write with more confidence and less hesitation.

Students can find props/scenes and upload their own images right into their books. As a language teacher, providing ways for my students to also build speaking skills is important. With the voice recording option, StoryJumper made it easy for my students to narrate their stories and build confidence in speaking through their writing.

Regaining Some of the Time Lost

If we need to reteach some of the content and help students to master their academic and SEL skills, using resources like StoryJumper will provide something that meets every student’s interests and needs. With StoryJumper, teachers are able to create more excitement for learning​ ​and better understand student needs​.​

Learn more about how StoryJumper helps to improve social behavior. Explore the Teacher’s Guide and StoryJumper Library to see examples of what’s possible. Choose inspirational stories that help students to build confidence. Get started with a writing lesson plan and see what students create and how it boosts their learning experience!

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