Shine Trader Limited

Support the emotional well-being of young students

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Social and emotional learning is often considered the “missing piece” of education, but incorporating SEL into academics is essential for a healthy, harmonious classroom. Connecting emotionally with students is a simple and effective way for teachers to connect with students and begin to equip them with lifelong tools to communicate their feelings and needs. This is more important than ever as students grapple with the major changes and potentially traumatic experiences caused by the pandemic.
While teaching at Title 1 Elementary School in a city in central Los Angeles, I saw firsthand the power of SEL and how important the development of emotional skills and practice of emotional testing are to the success of my students. Extinguishing fires while attending classes has been a challenge at the start of the 2019-20 school year. My first-year students were emotional, but lacked words to express their feelings and needs. Their frustration leads to many failures, and academic collaboration often ends in quarrels or even physical conflict.

Shine Trader Limited
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Age selection
The Los Angeles Unified School District says many of its students were at risk for traumatic stress before the outbreak, so I knew I had to provide a safe, trauma-based classroom space. I also knew THAT I had to integrate basic SEL skills in an age-appropriate way.
The Partnership for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a leader in promoting evidence-based social and emotional learning, providing a framework for core SEL competency education that is appropriate for students’ age and stage of development. For our youngest students, there are core themes of competence within the multiple SEL frameworks related to self-management and self-awareness, including the ability to handle emotions in a productive way.
Simply put, being able to identify and express their feelings in the first place helps children successfully manage and cope with emotions. These skills are fundamental to emotional literacy and we need them at any age.
Understand emotions and feelings
To lay the groundwork, I began inviting students to share their feelings, and if they were comfortable, why, during our daily morning meetings. In order to teach my students vocabulary to identify and express their emotions, I designed an emotion chart marked with emotion words and accompanied by photos of children’s facial expressions.