Discover how meaningfully integrating technology in the classroom can promote positive mental health amongst students!
Every time I talk to someone about the mountains and journeys we have had to walk with our students lately, I see this picture that Hamish Brewer showed me years ago. It is easier sometimes to say that the child is a behavior problem rather than truly find why the behavior is even there. When we choose to do that we hold space for the student and in return create opportunities for students to own their experiences and emotions. As a school counselor, I think the most important thing we can do as humans is build connections and foster them. And to add to that, if we do not meet the social and emotional needs of our students first, then the academics surely will not follow. You see what I just did there?? I started deep…
But we honestly cannot address the needs of our students without addressing the needs of our staff. The same energy I mentioned above needs to be for the adults as well. Adults cannot pour from an empty cup. Staff must feel supported and empowered if you want to build that positive learning community. Some top sites that I recommend for learning more about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) are:
I want to also share a video from CASEL to show you the five areas of competencies
This video will showcase:
- Social Awareness
- Relationship Skills
Now I want to pivot (buzzword right? That is all I feel we have done this year is pivot) to show some ways you can introduce social and emotional support in your classrooms, schools, counselor office, communities, and home.
Now I want to go back to these two words, hold space. If you follow me on social media, then you know I have mad love for Wakelet. One of the things that drew me into this tool was that it allowed me to do things for my students and staff that I never could have done before. I was able to meaningfully integrate technology into our school counseling programs to build those connections and relationships that were so desperately needed. This allowed me to hold space for them. So with that said I want to share something you can implement now on your campus and for yourself personally. If we truly want to connect with students and help them with emotions, then we need to find what grounds them.
Grounding means being fully present in the moment, regardless of what is going on around you. If you are not grounded then you will lose that steady footing. Again, when I say students, I also mean YOU. Alex Isaacs truly inspired me recently with his reflection rooms. So it got me thinking, if he can build this in a bitmoji space, then why not on Wakelet. This is a sister project to the Digital Calming Rooms I use in Wakelet. If we truly want students to own their emotions and experiences, then we need to encourage them to use their self-management skills. You remember that word right? It is part of the CASEL 5 in the video above and it is just one key element to help the whole child with SEL.
Take this Reflection Room template and allow your students to build their OWN calming room, not one we make for them. They can find the things that they know ground them, calm them, let them be present in the moment, etc. Here is an example of a reflection room I created for myself. And the great thing about this is that I can continue to add to my room as needed. So I urge you to take the templates and practice them with yourself first, then introduce this to your students and staff. Watch as those self-management skills unfold not only for yourself but for your community as well.