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Tuesday, January 4, 2022


So, what do social emotional learning and executive function have in common? Feeling good about yourself and learning how to cooperate and work with others are paramount in every person's life. But how are children ever going to develop these skills as they sit in front of a screen? Here are a few simple strategies that might brighten your school day and nurture the WHOLE child.

Social Play
Vygotsky maintained that dramatic play is where children learn to regulate themselves. They take on imaginary roles and must stick to their roles and adjust to changing plots. 

Note! Isn't it frustrating that every expert on SEL and EF emphasize the importance of play, while increasingly play is disappearing from our classrooms and children’s lives!!!

Sing and Dance
Music is the perfect opportunity for students to learn to follow directions and develop self-regulation.

You can use a play phone or make your own "I" phone similar to the one below.  Start each day by passing the phone around the class and asking each child to say a sentence about what they want to learn or do that day. “I …..” Only the person holding the phone is allowed to talk!

Classroom Experts (Karen Stone)
Every student can see themselves as an “expert” with this idea. Make a poster with areas of expertise, such as cutting, writing numerals, writing letters, spelling, tying shoes, etc. Children get to sign their name and put their picture on the poster where they feel they are an expert. Students must consult at least “3 experts” before asking the teacher.

Compliment Circle
Children sit in a circle and the teacher begins by giving a child a compliment. The first child then passes on a compliment to another friend and so on until everyone has had a turn giving and receiving a compliment.
*Let children toss a sponge ball or bean bag around as they compliment each other.
*Give a “hand hug.” Teacher squeezes the first child’s hand, then
they continue to pass the “hand hug” around the circle until it gets
back to the teacher.
*Let each child “pass” a smile around the room.

Brain Hug
Teach children how to give themselves a “brain hug” and you will also help them gain self-control and center themselves.
     Thumbs up. (Extend arms in front of you with thumbs up.)
     Thumbs down.
     Cross your wrists.
     Clasp fingers.
     Bring your clasped fingers down and in towards your chest and hug yourself.

Pat on the Back
Students raise their right hand, stretch it across their body, and pat their left shoulder as they say, “Good job! Good job!”

*Cut hands out of construction paper. Write positive comments for students and tape them on their backs.