Social-Emotional Learning Goals #julychallenge Post 15


Still addressing 14 ways of thinking about good teaching from this post…

3.     Include social-emotional learning goals as well as academic goals.

It can be easy as a teacher to get wrapped up in student assessment data.  We must continually keep focused on the whole-student.  I always enjoy reading @druinok’s post on her experiences with AVID- Advancement Via Individual Determination.  To my understanding, it provides students with a system that will enable them to achieve more, be aware of choices and resources and work toward their post-secondary goals.  It provides them with academic structures as well as a mentor for accountability.

Many years ago, when I first began teaching in our freshman wing, The DOCK, our goal was to instill self-Discipline,  Organizational skills, develop positive Character traits and enhance student Knowledge through learning.  Our first few years were a huge success, but I never understood why it didn’t continue throughout the remainder of the school. Being out of the DOCK now, I terribly miss our weekly meetings to discuss options and strategies for struggling students, both discliplinary and acsdemically. 

After talking with some colleagues, their view of the DOCK had been tainted by comments others had made.  This made me sad because at the very heart of our collaboration was caring for students-the whole student.  Since I am no longer with that team, I must find ways to continue those positive practices.

I began using the INBs as a measure for helping students stay organized, developing reflection and study tools that can carry through their education.  I learned about Cornell notes through @druinok’s blog and shared the idea with some colleagues.  I value what CN can do in helping students learn and achieve.  I have observed students owning their INBs which leads to better effort in class and studying.

We also used excerpts from Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens book to drive our charachter models.  Each month, we would do an activity and focus on a trait specific to a given habit.  This summer, our school has participated in a 3-day Leadership training, focused on the 7 habits.  Our GRIT team has been meeting weekly to plan and outline school wide activities based on our shared goals.  I see this as a positive thing for our school culture and the possibility of having major impact on students as well.

Recently, I have noticed employee tshirts, one at a restaurant, “I love my job!” on the back and at a grocery with “Glad you’re here!” on the front.  Along with a poster “You are important!” – all of these may go without saying, but why not voice them?  I am a firm believer that my attitude rubs off on the students. 


Its fun to treat them as well.  I brought caramel apple suckers to an entire class one time because a student had been there for an entire week.  What happened next? The class began encouraging her too and the was a marked turnaround in her attendance and effort the second semester. 

Some ways I plan to make this happen:
Taking notice when they are at school.
Letting them know they were missed when they were absent.
An email or phone call to parents to pat them on the back. (Five on Friday)
Meet them at the door, good morning and a smile.
High fiving a small achievement. 
A note on the back of a paper to tell them I am proud of them. 
None of those things cost a dime. 

By holding them accountable, having conversations with them individually about their progress and effort or lack of, they become more aware of the impact of their actions.  Showing them their benchmarks and having a discussion about what they can do to improve.  Then letting them write their own goal and 2 things they plan to do to meet that goal.
But don’t stop there.  Revisit their goal often to remind them, keep them on track.  Most importantly, celebrate those small successes toward the end goal can be powerful motivation.

What are some ways you enhance the social-emotional growth of your students?

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Setting Personal Social-emotional Goals pt. 2 #julychallenge Post #17 | the radical rational...

  2. Although it costs money, I like to buy my students their favorite candy on their birthday. I think they care more about me remembering their birthday and actually following through on my word than they care about the candy. They always seem surprised that I actually do this, even though I make them write it down at the beginning of the year and explain why.
    I also like to point out when I notice something that helps them learn. For example, one student always has to repeat things back to me out loud and once I pointed out that she needed to do that to learn it, other students were less annoyed. I like to just be very observant and share my observations with them. I think it makes them feel noticed.
    That’s the only two I can think of that you haven’t mentioned.

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