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By Kim Gulbrandson on 11/26/2014 5:01 PM

Coping with the demands of everyday life can sometimes be difficult. I am reminded of that when I think about the experiences of my friends and colleagues just in the past month: death of a loved one, loss of a job, car problems, job interview, illness, selling a house, and a divorce. Such challenges can be especially trying without healthy coping mechanisms. Virginia Satir once communicated this when she said, “Problems are not the problem. Coping is the problem.”

Talking SEL and More
By Emilie Coulter on 11/24/2014 2:14 AM

We’ve also been talking about the difference between unsafe and unwanted touch. When I asked nine-year-old Etta to give me an example of unsafe touch, my witty child walked over to Amos and slugged him. “Correct!” I crowed. Amos remarked drily, “It was unwanted, too.” 

SEL at Home
By Emilie Coulter on 11/14/2014 1:00 PM

Talking about tough topics, in addition to being an excellent tongue-twister, is a skill every parent needs to master, or at least muddle through. As someone who once found the perfect moment to talk about sex with her five and eight year old children after hearing an NPR story about drive-up windows for boar semen (“What are they even talking about, Mom?”), I am a big fan of seizing natural opportunities. Of course, sometimes those opportunities don’t come soon enough, and we need to nudge them along.

SEL at Home
By Joy Brooke on 11/10/2014 11:10 AM

When we educators reflect on this notion of how we “feel” about math, I’ve noticed we often go back to memories where others labeled us “good” at math or “not good” at math. We must think about these moments and make sure we don’t do the same in our own teaching.

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
By Joy Brooke on 11/3/2014 10:44 PM

I taught a lesson last week to second and third graders about Vincent Van Gogh. We began by reading a story about Van Gogh—the most “tragic” artist in art history, according to the book. We talked about how what he painted changed with his moods. We talked about our moods and how when our moods change what we do at the moment is affected. For example, when we are happy we often to our best job, and when we are grumpy or upset about something we rarely do our best job.

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
By Kim Gulbrandson on 10/27/2014 1:17 PM

In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought it would be nice to highlight all the progress that has been made in bullying prevention over the past 15 years.

Talking SEL and More
By Joy Brooke on 10/7/2014 7:31 PM

What if all parents focused just as much on their kids’ social and emotional growth as the number on their report cards? What if understanding emotions and being able to communicate them was as high a priority as knowing basic math facts? What if along with reading to your child every night your classroom teacher expected you to brainstorm five different ways your child could make a new friend the next day?

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
By Joy Brooke on 9/29/2014 9:30 AM

Our children are exposed to competition enough in sports and outside of school. Even the workforce these days is longing for people who can work collaboratively. Top CEOs of companies will tell you they are looking for team players. Yet time and time again I see a competitive classroom environment that fosters just the opposite. How are you fostering collaboration in your classroom?

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
By Joy Brooke on 9/19/2014 10:46 AM

These days, teachers have so much responsibility—large class sizes, little support, a diverse range of learners, and many mandates, including new teacher-evaluation systems, the Common Core, and standardized testing— that many feel overworked and stressed.

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
By Joy Brooke on 9/9/2014 10:11 AM

This is no understatement for the beginning of the year. We know that emotions for students, parents, and teachers are all over the place. It is important we as adults understand our own emotions and the emotions of others. The beginning of the school year is an opportunity for us teachers and our students to gain great emotional and social learning if we allow time.

Mrs. Brooke’s SEL Classroom
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