SEL has been offered since QAE opened its doors. From the first day of school, teachers and staff have employed the SEL best practices of: connecting with each child as an individual; valuing and validating emotions; Monday Morning Meeting; cultivating compassionate citizenship and acts of empathy; and encouraging children to be decision-makers in their education. Indeed, a hallmark of the staff at QAE is that they value and promote a learning environment that is grounded in trusting and respectful relationships.
In its second year, the QAE staff chose the Positive Discipline in the Classroom (PDC) curriculum to be the foundation to our SEL programming. PDC is effective, flexible, and has deep resources for SEL skill-building. Teachers have adopted the Classroom Meetings, Positive Time-out spaces, and Mistaken Goals techniques. They have also incorporated the PDC strategies of Kind but Firm, Focus on Solutions, Learn from Mistakes, and Connection Before Correction.
In addition, QAE has several SEL curricula that explicitly teach core SEL competencies. Some programs, such as Zones of Regulation, teach self-awareness and social awareness. Others, such as Kelso’s Choices, work on conflict resolution, a specific skill found in the relationship skills competencies. The PTSA has underwritten the programs, and has worked to place the programs strategically throughout the grades.
SEL Programs Currently, there are several SEL programs that take place during school hours.
Positive Discipline in the Classroom - (All Grades) - Developed by the nationally acclaimed author Dr. Jane Nelson, the Positive Discipline in the Classroom program teaches important social and life skills, and is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities.
The Positive Discipline in the Classroom is the foundational SEL curricula for QAE. All staff are trained in the curriculum and participate in additional trainings such as the school year kick-start refresher course, the trauma literacy course, and 1:1 classroom meeting training.
Key components of the program are:
Creates a classroom climate that enhances academic learning
Uses encouragement rather than praise and rewards
Instills valuable social skills and positive behavior through the use of class meetings
Promotes the understanding of the motivation for students' behavior instead of looking for causes
Kelso’s Choice - (All Grades) - This curriculum is designed specifically for elementary-age children, and equips them with age-appropriate tools to manage conflicts. Kelso’s Choice teaches children to distinguish between big problems (e.g., problems that are dangerous, against the law, or cause a child to feel unsafe or frightened), and small problems. The only solution for big problems is to report them to a trusted adult.
If it’s a small problem, students are encouraged to try at least two of the nine problem-solving strategies before reporting the problem to an adult. If, after two attempts, the child is unsuccessful at solving the problem, it is time to ask an adult to help.
Problem-solving strategies include:
Go to another game or activity
Share and take turns
Respectfully talk it over and listen to each other
Ignore the problem behavior
Tell the person to stop the problem behavior
Make a deal or compromise
Wait and cool off before attempting to solve the problem yourself.
Emotional Literacy Library - (K, 1st and 2nd Grade) - Emotional Literacy is the ability to recognize, understand, and name in oneself and others, as well as the ability to manage and express one's emotions productively. Our kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade teachers built classroom libraries of picture books that identified emotions and named them. Reading these books as a class, and individually, helps children learn emotional literacy and can build self-regulation.
Here are some titles that teachers have picked for their classrooms. My Friend is Sad by Mo Williams My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss The Feelings Book by Todd Parr It is Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr Ish by Peter Reynolds The Dot by Peter Reynolds How Are You Peeling by Saxton Freymann Zero by Kathryn Otoshi Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Ish by Peter Reynolds One by Kathryn Otoshi Spoon by Kathryn Otoshi Zero by Kathryn Otoshi Little Miss Plants a Kiss by A K Rosenthal Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith
SocialThinking™ (1st, 2nd and 3rd Grade) SocialThinking™ is a innovative curriculum that teaches children to be a "social detective". Children are encouraged to think about how their actions affect their friends, classmates, and teachers, which is called "thinking about how you are thinking about me." Being able to imagine and even anticipate how others perceive us and our behavior is a very important social tool.
In addition, children are taught that they can change what others think about them by changing their behavior. Through becoming a good "social detective", children have a stronger sense of control and are better able to connect and get along with peers.
You may hear your child use some of the SocialThinking™ vocabulary. That is great!! Let your child teach you about being a "social detective." This will reinforce their emerging social cognition skills.
The World Peace Game (4th Grade) The World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that gives 4th graders a framework within which to explore what it is to be a part of a global community. In the game, they will be confronted with global economic, social, environment and warfare issues. The game provides a lively arena for children to practice problem solving, conflict resolution, and positive decision making.
The WPG intentionally immerses students in chaos, contradiction, and complexity. The game encourages students to slow down to problem-solve, and to think deeply to discover unexpected strategies and solutions.
Social and Emotional Learning & WPG Fourth graders will be practicing their 5 core SEL skills as they play the WPG. To achieve world peace, each student will need to use empathy, self-awareness, other-awareness, relationship skills, and pro-social decision making. They also practice more advanced SEL skills, such as persistence and flexible thinking, as well as “being comfortable with being uncomfortable”. The game is challenging, but the children rise to the occasion, and achieve amazing, complex solutions.
Zones of Regulation (K, 1st-4th) The goal of the Zones curriculum is to teach children about self-regulation, and to give them opportunities to practice and strengthen their self-regulation skills. Self-regulation can go by many names, such as self-control, self-management, and impulse control. Self-regulation is an essential skill in life, and in all learning environments. Children who can regulate their own emotion and attention are better ready to learn and thrive.
Zones of Regulation groups all the ways that children feel and act into four “Zones”. Blue Zone—when your body is running slowly, such as when you are tired, sick, sad or bored. Green Zone—when you are ready “good to go.” You feel happy, calm and focused. Yellow Zone—when you feel your engine running high, such as when you are frustrated, overwhelmed, silly, wiggly, excited, worried, anxious, or surprised. Red Zone—is when you have “flipped your lid.” You have extreme feelings such as terror, uncontrolled anger, aggression, or elation.
In the first half of the Zones curriculum, children learn about how their emotions and attention are connected, and then how to recognize emotions and attention in themselves and classmates. They learn that they are in most or all of the Zones throughout their day.
In the second half of the curriculum, Zones teaches about tools for moving from one Zone to another, and encourages each child to build a repertoire of tools. The goal of the curriculum is for children to gradually become more able to call upon their toolkit, rather than needing adults to help them regulate themselves.
It is very important to know that there are no "bad" Zones. All of the Zones are expected at one time or another. As the curriculum progresses, children will practice identifying what Zone is expected, and how to change Zones to better match their levels of alertness and emotions to their situation.
You can support your child at home by using Zones vocabulary. Print out this glossary for yourself. Also, print out this chart and post it at home for the whole family to learn the Zones. Another idea is to have a bin, box, or cubby with Zones tools. Here is a list of suggested items.
QUEEN ANNE ELEMENTARY PTSA
Our Vision: Create, maintain, and support a healthy and successful environment within the QAE community and support staff, students, and their families in the quest for an excellent education.