SEL, Trauma & COVID-19
It's Time to Start Planning for Fall
COVID-19 school closings this year left districts, school, and teachers scrambling. We had to get creative. We had to find new ways to reach out and connect with students, to teach, and to meet special education needs.
Some of us delivered resources to students at home, helped set up hotspots for students with no internet, and some distributed lunches and food.
We had to learn new technologies that made some of our heads hurt and most importantly, buy a big plant to hide the clutter behind us during Zoom meetings!
We finally made it to summer, which means, it's time to start planning for fall!
Right now it looks like school will be back in session for fall, but uncertainty remains. If it is, what kind of pandemic safety measures will be in place? Will a second wave force another school closing? How do we make up for lost instructional time and get students where they need to be academically? How do we better address the depths of the equity gap that the pandemic has exposed? There are a lot of questions. It’s hard to say what exactly will happen next year and how it will be accomplished. One issue that should be on the top of everyone’s list for fall is social-emotional learning.
SEL is Essential
SEL is an important component of the educational system. It helps students by building their awareness and giving them skills to regulate attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. SEL provides the groundwork for students to achieve goals, build healthy relationships, have positive interactions, and be successful in life. We all know, first hand, how learning in the classroom decreases without good SEL skills.
COVID-19 Has Added Another Dimension to SEL’s Import
When learning went online in the spring, teachers knew the importance of maintaining SEL. Kids had lost their connections to their schools, teachers and friends. Teachers went out of their way to connect with students, help students connect with each other, listen and help students cope, and teach them how to communicate and connect in new ways.
The COVID-19 shutdown and the continued uncertainty about the future have brought additional concerns we need to be prepared for in the fall.
We need to be prepared to support students’ social and emotional well-being, help them reduce stress, cope and emotionally manage their feelings, attitudes and behaviors even more now. Being trauma-sensitive schools and teachers will be key to achieving these goals.
As you plan for fall, ask yourself if you and your school’s SEL plans are prepared to support students suffering from the uncertainty, disarray, and trauma COVID-19 has added to the equation.
For more information on the role of SEL in the wake of COVID-19,
check out the following resources.
Social-Emotional Learning Should Be Priority During COVID-19 Crisis
Pandemic-Induced Trauma, Stress Leading to 'Uptick' in SEL Need
Student Trauma Won’t Just Disappear In the Fall, Counselors Warn
CASAL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) COVID-19 Resources
NCTSN (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) COVID-19 Resources
Recharge & De-stress with Our Educators' Self-Care Series!
New for June...
Express: I'm So Vulnerable!
How to Be Resilient in a Chaotic World
(3 credit hour Iowa license renewal)
Part of the Educators' Self-Care Series
As adults, we deal with the aging process in ourselves and our parents. We deal with each developmental level our children go through and hold on for the long ride through their adolescence. It’s tough enough when things go right, when we are healthy, our children are healthy and our parents are healthy. It is a real balancing act when things go wrong and we are caught in the cross fire of dual or even triple tragedies.
How do resilient people, adults and children, make it through? Why do some people get through trauma relatively unscathed and others end up with a life time of debilitating mental and physical problems? We will explore these questions and more in this class.
I’m So Vulnerable: How to Become Resilient in a Chaotic World is a class designed to help participants define what it means to be vulnerable and how to achieve resiliency. The class will explore:
Basic brain functioning and how neurons and synapses work to form our habits, as well as the neuroscience behind our thoughts.
The key elements for building a healthy self-image and creating a resilient and strong self.
Managing anger, calming our minds and bodies, and using the red zone vs green zone strategy to understand how to control defensiveness.
How to fine tune and enhance our emotions for the positive with special attention given to how to deal with our negative thoughts and our inner critic.
How to build on the characteristics of compassion, mindfulness, grit, gratitude, confidence, motivation, intimacy, courage, aspiration and generosity within ourselves.
Express: I'm So Stressed!
Mindfulness & Meditation for Teachers & Students
(3 credit hour Iowa license renewal)
Part of the Educators' Self-Care Series
Anyone in education is under a huge amount of stress in their school life. Added to that, most educators have family commitments and are squeezed in the sandwich generation raising kids and dealing with aging parents. As educators, we need now, more than ever, to practice mindfulness for ourselves, our families and our students. Mindfulness is a practice that can transform us, bring us peace, heal our bodies and our minds and allow us to enjoy our lives.
Express: I’m So Stressed! Mindfulness & Meditation for Teachers & Students explores the many facets of mindfulness and how to integrate it into our daily lives. It provides information for teachers, students and parents and gives examples and practices. Educators will understand the importance of mindfulness for themselves and for their students. The question is not “do we have time for mindfulness?” The question is “can we afford not to make the time for mindfulness?”
Express: I’m So Stressed! Mindfulness & Meditation for Teachers & Students is a class designed to bring into alignment the mental and physical self by promoting calm, self-discipline and patience through mindfulness practices and meditation exercises. This class will provide a look at the nature of mindfulness, the benefits of mindfulness and the how-tos of mindfulness.
Express: I'm So Tired! An Educator's Guide to Self-Care
(3 credit hour Iowa license renewal course)
Part of the Educators' Self-Care Series
It takes its toll on our quality of life and our performance. We need to take time for ourselves and to learn how to be healthy emotionally and physically; we need an action-plan.
I’m So Tired! An Educator’s Guide to Self-Care, provides realistic ways to become healthier and take care of ourselves. This class explains the issues, identifies the problems and helps to remediate and treat those issues that keep educators sick and stressed out.
Start the new year out right and make a plan for YOU! Class starts February 19th.
June Featured Class of the Month
How to Survive & Thrive in the Classroom
(3 credit hour IA license renewal or graduate credit)
Do you feel like the harder you work the further behind you get? Then it's time to start working smarter instead of harder. How to Survive & Thrive in the Classroom is a 3 credit hour course that builds on the 7 principles employed by master teachers presented by Robyn R. Jackson in her book Never Work Harder than Your Students, 2nd ed.
Learn How to Streamline Your Practice By:
1. Starting where your students are by assessing cultural, intellectual and classroom currency
2. Assessing where students are going academically and using curriculum and
learning goals to get them there
3. Evaluating and setting expectations for your students AND YOURSELF
4. Creating a student support cycle to help them meet academic goals
5. Identifying and eliminating practices that increase workload and negatively impact the quality
6. Assessing quality vs. quantity and toxic practices & load distribution
You will also have the opportunity to find out where you are on the Master Teacher Trajectory and set goals for your your further professional development.
Make the most of your time
and become a more efficient and effective teacher.
All courses are accredited. Choose from:
6 week Iowa License Renewal Courses
8-9 week courses that can be taken for Iowa License Renewal or EDMA Graduate Credit
Visit our website to learn more and register for upcoming classes
Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for upcoming class information, education articles & news and creative classroom ideas & strategies!
Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our
By Michele Borba
Social media has become a big part of our lives. It connects us with more people faster. As with most everything, there are up sides and down sides.
For many youth, likes, shares, retweets and followers have become a new set of criteria for popularity. They've created a virtual world where online friends are equated with friends in real life (irl) and likes, shares and comments replace real life interactions, conversations, connections and compassion...and the selfies...how many do they need to take?!!
In UnSelfie, author Michele Borba looks at the latest research on how social media is negatively impacting empathy in kids today.
"...Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were just a generation ago, and narcissism has increased 58 percent..."
Lack of empathy and narcissism are on the rise and that's not a good thing. Borba connects the dots and explains how compassion and empathy are key components to happiness and success.
Learn how to help youth balance the all-about-me world created by social media and become compassionate, empathetic, successful, and happy in real world.
is a perfect choice for summer reading with important information for our developing students.
Did You Know?
Boys are Still More Confident than Girls in Math...Still!
According to an April 2020 survey conducted by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics boys are still more confident than girls when it come to math.
While girls' attitudes towards STEM opportunities have improved and indication are that they are on par with boys' attitudes, girls continue to lag behind in mathematical confidence. Lower confidence has consequences:
Girls participate less during math class
Girls more frequently choose boys for team leaders
Fewer girls are pursing STEAM in college
During middle school, 3/4 of girls report feeling just as confident as boys. Something happens between middle and high school though. By the time girls are in high school, only 1/3 report being as confident as boys.
There are a number of theories about why this shift occurs between middle and high school. There's less debate, however, about what positively impacts girls' attitudes.
Stereotypes start early: start dispelling them early.
A high number of girls credit their teachers for their success in mathematics.
Expose them to real world math applications.
Expose them to STEM and to women in STEM.
Give them opportunities and encourage their participation in extracurricur STEM.
Mentorship programs like Million Women Mentors work.
Remember to survey your own biases.
Boys are not innately better in math than girls. People in STEM are not nerdy, or geeky, nutty professors. People in STEM don't live lonely lives of isolation and never have a date. If you imagine a man when you think of a chemist, or doctor, or engineer--check yourself. Dig deeply for any underlying biases you may have. Here's why.
Gender gap studies show that STEM teachers tend to give boys higher test scores than girls when identities are known. When identities are unknown, however, they tend to give girls the higher scores!
We still have a lot of work to do!
Read the results of the entire survey at:
Society for Industrial
The Treasure Trove
Educator Resource of the Month
Resources for Parents, Teachers &
For years Dove has been trying to change the media image of what girls and women "should" look like.
We know that women come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but it's hard to compete with the image of the "perfect" woman falsely pushed on us day after day. Among us women, it's a safe bet we've had (or have) doubts about out looks.
Worse yet, those thoughts can translate into a distorted view of self-worth and low self-esteem.
Dove's Self-Esteem Project provides an outstanding selection of resources for parents, teachers, mentors, youth leaders. Topics include:
Family, Friend & Relationships
Respecting & Looking after Yourself
Teasing, Bullying & Cyberbullying
How Celebrities influence Body Image
How to Talk about Appearance
Need hard resources? There are plenty of those too, including:
Evidence-Base Body Confidence Programs
Give girls the knowledge, tools & support they need to develop healthy body images and positive self-esteem.
click here and check out the Dove Self-Esteem Project!