SEL Highlights 2012 – 2013: Eastside Memorial Vertical Team

We are continuing with our 6 day series highlighting the different Vertical Teams each day on our blog. Please follow along to hear about all of the SEL successes this school year!

Join us today as we celebrate Eastside Memorial Vertical Team’s accomplishments.

Eastside Memorial High School’s staff has compassion!

  • Eastside has created a “culture of calm” – it is becoming cool to be smart and successful!
  • There is a sense of pride and confidence, and students here take the time to help each other with both personal and academic concerns.
  • SEL is woven into Advisory lessons, school-wide expectations for students, and character education lessons in athletics.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency and depth.

EastsideEastside students receive awards for succeeding and making progress in school

Martin Middle School is all about relationship building; from the Principal high fiving students in the hall to teachers using positive language to redirect misbehaviors.  Here’s an example of one way Martin encourages relationships: teachers share personal information about themselves outside of their rooms to encourage a deeper connection between staff and students.

Martin Teacher Door Sign

Allison Elementary was one of the first schools to pilot SEL campus wide.  This year, they have been focused on encouraging a positive culture and climate to reinforce the explicit instruction in the classroom.  The Principal, Mr. Velasquez, at Allison Elementary likes to start off morning assemblies with jokes, often submitted by students.  This practice builds language arts skills as well as contributing to the positive culture and climate at Allison!

“What flies around the Kindergarten room at night? Alpha-bats!”

Alpha- Bat

Allison is also excelling at integrating SEL concepts into core academic areas.

Allison integration Here’s an example of SEL Standard Goal IV Objective A: “uses positive communication and social skills to interact effectively with others,” integrated into ELA.

Blackshear Elementary does a wonderful job integrating SEL skills into other subject areas. Here’s an example of empathy skills and feeling identification integrated into a second grade English Language Arts lesson!

Blackshear 2nd grade ELA Intergration Bulletin Board

Brooke Elementary integrated SEL language into their campus wide behavior management plan so that students are practicing problem solving skills to better learn how to prevent behavior issues.

Brooke Brooke’s behavior management plan linked to SEL strategies

Govalle Elementary has been encouraging adults to model SEL skills as their students learn them. Check out their hallway expectations that include a column for adults.

Student AND Adult Expectations at Govalle Elementary

The Parent Support Specialist also took parents into classrooms for them to view peace areas. Many parents have already created their own peace areas at home!

Metz Elementary did so many awesome campus wide events this year. For No Place for Hate, Metz students lead a peace walk to Zavala Elementary to build new relationships and respect for others.

Metz Peace Walks

Metz also does an SEL focused morning assembly every Thursday where students act out skits, sing Second Step songs, and celebrate their SEL skills.

Metz assembly Second grade students leading the “Calm It Down” dance

Ortega Elementary knows how to build community and welcome new students and staff! Over the summer, teachers developed activities for the first 30 days of school to encourage team building in their classrooms as students coming from several different schools all came together at Ortega. They already have a plan for having student welcome ambassadors to help new students transition in to this caring school.

Ortega Kindergarten teachers at Ortega sharing SEL strategies for waiting during a morning assembly.

Zavala Elementary’s peace areas have really taken off (their Principal, Mr. Fox, created one for his office as well)! One third grade teacher made her own Zen Garden for students to use in the peace area. She took a small Tupperware container and added sand, marbles, and a fork. Genius!

Zavala Fox Peace AreaPrincipal Fox’s Peace Area

At the end of the year, the SEL steering committee celebrated staff for their different SEL skills they modeled during the year.  What a wonderful way to end their first year as an SEL campus!

Zavala Award Ceremony

Eastside VT
Let’s wrap up today’s post with a note of appreciation written by a student at Eastside Memorial.

SEL Highlights 2012 – 2013: Austin High Vertical Team

For the next week and a half we will be highlighting different campuses each day on our blog. Please follow along to hear about all of their SEL successes this school year!

Join us today as we celebrate Austin High Vertical Team’s accomplishments. Be sure to share comments, ideas, and questions with us below!

Austin High School: Austin High has been implementing a pilot class called MAPS: Methods for Academic and Personal Success to teach social and emotional learning skills to incoming Freshmen.

The three year data continues to show remarkable improvement.

The freshman class at Austin High School has had a 41% decrease in number of failures and a 38% decrease in the number of disciplinary referrals. We can’t show causality, but we believe the data does show correlation.

Students have built a strong classroom environment and learned many SEL skills over the course of the year. There have been many special events including: a student panel on SEL for CASEL Learning Event, an etiquette luncheon, and a special field trip to hear one of the freedom writers (Manny Scott) speak.

This May, students and families will gather at an area park for a Good News pot luck, where students will share highlights from the year and finish with a positive social event that includes their families.

Students are currently completing semester projects where they will present one SEL skill. They will create a lesson, poster, brochure, movie, short story, or song designed to promote positive social and emotional skills among their classmates.

O. Henry Middle School: The Second Step resource is being implemented during RODEO (advisory) time weekly. The two SEL facilitators and the principal have been supportive of the teachers and students during this time by making sure that materials are readily available to the teachers and by participating in classroom discussions. Next year, O. Henry will have an elective class that will be devoted entirely to SEL. O. Henry has welcomed many interested visitors this year specifically to look at a successful middle school model for SEL implementation. The principal is very proud of the fact that his referral rates have reduced since O. Henry became an SEL campus.

O Henry

O Henry

Barton Hills Elementary:  The teachers at Barton Hills have done a nice job of structuring supportive and nurturing classrooms that promote student learning and sharing of ideas. They experienced their first SEL Learning Walk this year and were proud of the positive feedback they received. Classrooms are implementing SEL instructional strategies in many of the academic areas.

Bryker Woods Elementary: Bryker Woods has done a great job with promoting a positive culture and climate on their campus. Every grade has participated in classroom and school wide activities that promote SEL. When walking in the halls of their campus you can see many beautiful bulletin boards that display SEL related themes.

Bryker Woods

Casis Elementary:  Casis students have enjoyed working on their “No Place for Hate” activities this school year, but especially devoted a lot of time and dedication to the “Peace Pedals” project. The culture and climate at Casis is a positive one and can be felt instantly as one enters the building. The primary classrooms are especially proud of the class promises they have made to their peers and teachers.

Casis Elementary

casis 3

Casis

Mathews Elementary:  Mathews held their SEL assemblies every Friday. Each grade level was responsible for a mini presentation that reinforced an SEL skill or concept. These assemblies also allowed for the appreciation of cultural diversity and for celebrations of staff and student accomplishments.

Mathews Elementary

Pease Elementary: Pease Elementary scheduled monthly faculty meetings that focused on SEL related topics. The principal, campus facilitator, and SEL coach met monthly to plan for these meetings. Pease has been proud of keeping their commitments to the staff and class social contracts.

Peace Elementary

Sanchez Elementary: The students and staff at Sanchez worked very hard this year on their “No Place for Hate” school wide projects. Visiting Sanchez parents eating lunch with their children have been impressed with how the cafeteria monitors have been using the “How to Calm Down” strategies and “Problem Solving Steps” in the cafeteria during lunch time.

Second Step Posters

The large Second Step posters hanging in the cafeteria as well as the mini poster lanyards the monitors have been wearing, have served as good visual reminders for using these strategies.

Sanchez Elementary

Zilker Elementary:  The students in the primary grades at Zilker Elementary have been consistent with their use of the Peace Areas and Peace Paths. The principal reported a drop in the referral rate, which correlates with the implementation of these processes.

This year the students in the “No Place for Hate” coalition produced, directed, and edited an SEL infomercial. The video was posted on Vimeo and received many favorable reviews!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62585085″>Zilker Elementary No Place For Hate Video</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/btothehill”>Brian Hill</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Small Middle School: Elective teachers from grades 6-8 have been teaching the Second Step resource during TRACK time once a week at Small. Activities that promote a positive school culture and climate have emerged this school year. Students have been receiving Cougar Kudos for using SEL skills. This year staff members submitted fellow colleagues’ names in a box in the office for demonstrating exceptional team work and collaboration. During faculty meetings, there were drawings for recognizing these teachers.  The teachers whose names were drawn received gift cards!

Small Middle School

Small 3  

 Oak Hill Elementary:  Oak Hill has enjoyed celebrating cultural diversity by displaying international flags representing countries from all over the world in their cafeteria. The Oak Hill PTA has organized social gatherings periodically for the school staff, parents, and other members of the community to meet and have international food tastings on the weekends at Oak Hill.  More Peace Areas have been seen in classrooms this year! Oak Hill

Oak Hill Elementary

Patton Elementary:  Patton has been especially proud of their “Bully Blockers” initiative. Students in grades K-5 sign a pledge to not be bullies and to be allies to those who may be targets. They also receive bracelets after signing the pledge. Squad leaders are selected from each grade level to lead a squad that helps to empower other students that may be experiencing bullying. Each squad can earn points for modeling “ally” behaviors.

patton

Patton Elementary

Brain Break Wednesday: Oxygen to the Brain

Here is a simple Brain Break that can be done anywhere, at anytime.  It is a perfect brain break to use as Standardized Testing begins across the country.

Drum roll please………..

Take a deep breath! It sounds simple, but it is an essential brain break with a huge impact for kids and adults.

reminder take a deep breath 

Taking a deep breath involves breathing in through your nose for 4 counts

and out through your mouth for 4 counts.

Place your hand on your stomach to make sure the movement is coming from there and not your chest.

You can also use a chime or bell that students can listen to as they breath. Students come back together when they can no longer hear the note.

Watch as a sports psychologist explains how to take a simple deep breathe and why it is so important.

 

More information from Edutopia on how helping students “de-stress” helps them succeed in school.

What are your favorite brain breaks? Feel free to share in the comment section.

Brain Break Wednesday: My Turn, Your Turn

This Brain Builder/ Brain Break comes from Committee for Children, the creators of Second Step. It is a very simple one that can be adapted for any level.

My Turn, Your Turn

1. The leader says “my turn” and then says or does something for the followers to repeat or respond to. (Example of basic level: leader pats head twice. Example of higher level: leader says,”Answer: what is the square root of 64?”)

2. The followers wait to repeat or answer until the leader says “your turn.” (Ex. followers pat head twice or say “8”)

Watch the video below to hear about why Brain Builders/ Brain Breaks are so effective and to watch a Kindergarten teacher model “My Turn, Your Turn.”

What are your favorite brain breaks? Feel free to share in the comment section.

Powerful Parenting from CFChildren

Here is an article on Powerful Parenting from Committee for Children, the authors of Second Step (the resource PK-8 teachers in AISD are using to explicitly teach SEL).

parents

Powerful Parenting: Building Relationships and Instilling Confidence

As parents, you worry about the risks your children face and the choices they will have to make. But if you have a strong relationship with your children that is built on a foundation of trust and open communication, they are more likely to tell you about their problems and gain from your values.

If your children have confidence in themselves, they are more likely to handle situations assertively. If your children have self-management, relationship-building, and problem-solving skills, they are more likely to make safe and healthy choices. As a parent, you can help strengthen these areas of your children’s lives.

Love Them for Who They Are

Unconditional acceptance of your childKren not only builds a strong relationship with them, but encourages them to have confidence and trust in themselves. Separate who your children are (their being) from what they do (their behavior). Remember, behavior can always change.

Help your children discover their interests and passions and encourage them to pursue their interests by providing opportunities and support.

Spend time with your children. This helps build strong relationships and provides opportunities for you to teach and model essential skills. Use words, gestures, and touch frequently to let your children know that you love them.

Take time to have extended conversations with your children. Bedtimes, meals, and car rides are often good times. As often as possible, have family dinners where you can share news, discuss problems, and make plans. Research shows that children who have dinner with their families several times a week are less likely to smoke or use illegal drugs, have sex at young ages, and get into serious fights.

Have frequent, brief playtimes with young children (5–10 minutes can make a difference). Allow your children to direct the play.

Read together and talk about the characters’ feelings, challenges, and solutions.

Talk about your family’s culture(s). This will help your children feel more strongly connected to their ethnic background and their culture’s values and beliefs. Research shows that positive cultural identification can improve a child’s self-esteem and protect against emotional problems.

Discipline and Guide

Positive guidance and discipline promote children’s self-control, teach them responsibility, and help them learn to make thoughtful choices. Specialists suggest that inconsistent, harsh discipline that includes physical force, threats, and negative comments may interfere with healthy development. Here are some key components of positive discipline:

  • Pay attention to what children do right. Children thrive on positive attention and are more likely to repeat a behavior if you notice it and comment on it.
  • Use consistent, caring consequences for unacceptable behavior. The consequences should be reasonable, directly related to the misbehavior, and respectful of the child.
  • Give the message that mistakes are a chance for learning.
  • Offer choices whenever possible to provide practice in making decisions.

Get Involved in Schoolwork

When you are involved in your children’s schooling, it gives the message that school is important and that you value this significant part of their lives. It also helps children achieve higher grades, finish more homework, and have better attendance, behavior, and attitudes. Here are some ways to be involved:

  • Ask your children about their day. Use open-ended questions: “What was the most fun thing about school today?”
  • Communicate frequently with your children’s teachers about your children’s progress and how to help them out at home.
  • Be aware of your children’s homework. Set a time and place for them to do it. Be around to answer questions, but do not do the homework for them.
  • Attend school activities as often as possible.

Teach Social Skills

Model and teach your children social-emotional skills. These are skills people use to deal with their feelings and dilemmas and to interact with others. Social-emotional skills include the following:

  • Empathy, which is knowing one’s own feelings and being able to recognize and respond sensitively to others’ feelings.
  • Emotion management, which is managing strong feelings such as anxiety, frustration, and anger before they become overwhelming.
  • Problem solving and decision making, including conflict resolution.

Many of the parenting skills outlined in this article can help you model and teach social-emotional skills:

  • By listening to your children and respecting their feelings, you model and teach empathy.
  • By responding to misbehavior with caring, thoughtful, and consistent consequences, you model emotion management and problem solving.
  • By giving children choices, you give them opportunities to practice decision making.
  • As you talk through plans and problems at dinner, you model and teach problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution.
  • By reading with your child and talking about the stories, you provide opportunities to learn about empathy, emotion management, and problem solving.

As a parent you have power: power to influence, model, and listen, and power to connect with and love each of your children. By using your power in positive and thoughtful ways, you can provide a measure of protection for your children.

For more information from Committee for Children, check out their blog.

SEL Campus Wide

Social and Emotional Learning can be seen in many ways across a campus.  It may be a teacher teaching a lesson to the whole class on managing anxiety, a student helping another student after a fall on the playground, or a whole campus activity promoting SEL.  As we visited campuses in AISD, we have seen many creative ways to celebrate SEL campus wide. The following images are a few of the stellar examples we have seen so far this year.

Your ideas inspire other educators.  Send us pictures of what you have done to promote SEL campus wide to: selaustin@gmail.com

Linder Learner's Creed - all read daily over the PA

Here’s a way to start off your morning right! At Linder Elementary they use  positive self-talk to set daily goals in this Learners’ Creed.  It can be heard campus wide over the PA each morning.

Zavala Singing Second Step Songs

At Zavala Elementary (above) and Metz Elementary (below) students sing the Second Step songs at a special morning assembly to share the new skills they are learning with the entire student body. At Zavala, Kindergarten and 1st grade students sing The Feelings Song. At Metz, 2nd grade students show off their dance skills with The Calm It Down Song. 

Metz 2nd grade leading calm down dance

A teacher and administrator greet students as they enter Mendez Middle School in the morning, creating a warm and safe learning environment

The friendly faces of teachers and administrators at Mendez Middle School greet students with a smile and a handshake.  Nothing beats a warm welcome first thing in the morning!

Pleasant Hill NPFH

Pleasant Hill Elementary sparked students’ creativity with a No Place for Hate poster contest.

Oak Springs peace banners

Scholars at Oak Springs Elementary created peace banners for No Place for Hate. At morning assembly everyone admired their hard work while listening to The Calm It Down Song. 

Image

Peace Areas and Peace Paths

We have all seen it! The meltdown over a rumor, the argument over a new toy, conflict happens. Peace Areas and peace Paths provide students, teachers, and campuses a space and a method that is safe, sincere, and easy to follow.

The AISD Social and Emotional Learning Department has been following campuses on their journey towards student empowerment to self-regulate and solve their problems.  We have seen imaginative spaces and proactive educators leading the way towards a calmer and more productive school environments!

Dawson Peace AreaThis Peace Area is from Dawson Elementary.  It shows how SEL can be integrated with other Classroom Management programs such as Conscious Discipline.

Becker Peace Area in use!At Becker Elementary check out how they modified the Calm Down Second Step poster to be Dual Language.

Casey Peace Area Reflection Writing 5th gradeThis student at Casey Elementary chose to calm down using reflective writing at a Peace Center.

Brooke Peace Area in GymEven during P.E. class at Brooke Elementary students have a place to calm down and solve problems that often come up during competitive and physical games.

Highland Park K Peace AreaThis Kindergarten teacher at Highland Park created a safe haven that included student artwork. The self-portrait to the left was painted by a young boy to illustrate what he felt like when he was angry. He wanted it to be posted in the Peace Area to encourage other students to use the Peace Area and that they were not alone in their feelings.

Cunningham Outside Peace Path step 3Cunningham Elementary took their Peace Path to the playground!

Barton Hills Wall Posters Peace AreaAt Barton Hills, students created their own Peace Area Instructional Poster for how to calm down when they’re angry.

Andrews Peace Path

Look at this creative way to put your own flair into a Peace Path! Go Andrews Elementary!

Casey Elementary teachers became Croc Stars! They wrote and choreographed their own Crocodile Walk Song that shows students how to calm down.

Check out even more examples of Peace Areas across the district!

Please send your example of a Peace Area, Peace Path, or music video to: selaustin@gmail.com

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  -Aristotle