Published: | By: Kim Gulbrandson Topics: Curriculum, Middle School, Social-Emotional Learning 3 Things Students Like About the New Second Step Middle School Curriculum “This is good for kids to be able to learn about these types of things. I mean, you don’t get that at a lot of schools, and I think it’s really awesome that we’re able to do it here.” —Student Over the past two years, sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teachers from classrooms across the country piloted the new Second Step Middle School lessons during the program’s development phase. During and after implementation, we asked students, administrators, and teachers to provide feedback. When we asked students to share their thoughts about the curriculum, these were some of the things they said they liked best about it. The Videos Time and again, students told us their favorite part of the new Second Step Middle School curriculum was the videos. They thought the videos were “fun” and said they enjoyed watching them, because they got to hear about other middle school students’ personal experiences firsthand, rather than from a teacher or reading a text. Time to Share and Talk The new Second Step Middle School lessons prioritize discussion, so students have ample opportunity to talk to each other. The students we asked for feedback made it clear that this is exactly what they want. They liked being able to discuss their thoughts and ideas and reported enjoying discussion time more than they usually do. Students reported feeling relieved to be able to talk to other students about their experiences. One student affirmed that kids should be able to “let their feelings out,” while another student commented, “I’ve liked having the conversations. It gives us more perspective.” Relatable to Real Life Students said the new Second Step Middle School curriculum lessons taught them social-emotional skills for real-life situations. In their words: “. . . it’s relatable, so we can use it on an everyday basis.” “It’s like real life.” “I think it’s really important because you’re going to be using these skills your whole life.” “I think it’s important because it can help us out in real life.” Students also reported feeling personally connected to what they learned. Multiple students said it helped them to know that other students were going through the same things and they’re not alone. Others gave specific examples of real-life situations where they were able to apply Second Step skills and concepts, such as using slow breathing as a calming-down strategy during a sporting event. Overall, the students who tried the new Second Step Middle School curriculum liked what they saw and experienced. To hear more from students who tried the new curriculum, keep following my posts.