Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic, but it’s certainly not new. Skills like empathy, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships, recognizing and managing emotions, problem solving, approaching tasks with grit and perseverance, and taking on others’ perspectives have always, and will always, be crucial to kids’ success. Research shared by CASEL reports that SEL programs lead to “immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement,” and “up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics.” SEL is certainly worthy of time and attention from those who support children’s development.
Books are valuable tools for guiding conversations about SEL topics. Children can examine and learn from characters’ actions and experiences and relate them to their own. Of course, book selection is key. When kids see both themselves and others in diverse books, it says, “You matter. Reflect on your experiences.” and “Others matter. Listen and learn.” Therein lies the heart of SEL.
As students grow and change, so do their social emotional learning needs. Linking diverse books to SEL goals and challenges across different ages is a powerful way to support students as they navigate each developmental stage. This blog series explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels. Continue reading
In this guest post, teacher-in-training Anna Nardelli, a junior at Mount Saint Mary College earning her certification in early and elementary childhood, shares her firsthand experience connecting students to “mirror” books.
I have a passion for teaching children and believe that all children deserve the opportunity to see themselves in mirror books as well as seeing others in window books. Mirror books give children the chance to see a representation of themselves in a book. For some children, this is not a common occurrence, but when it happens it lets them know that this world is full of people who are just like them. Window books give children another outlook on the world. They may not get the chance to see different cultures outside of their everyday life, but through window books, they can travel and see the world. Continue reading
Resident Literacy Expert Jill Eisenberg began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
Note: This lesson can be done with other books, but dual language/bilingual books offer a unique opportunity to engage non-English speaking parents in the classroom and provide a way to continue rigorous discussions with their children at home regardless of English in the home. Bilingual books additionally underscore the diversity of our classroom communities and equalize parents as teachers in students’ minds.
Using a bilingual book with a Spanish-speaking parent in the classroom is a strategy I learned teaching in San Jose, CA as a part of a parent engagement program called “Los Dichos de la Casa” by Silicon Valley YMCA. Whether your classroom has only a few English Language Learners (ELLs) or a majority, bilingual and dual language books can encourage close reading of a text and increase accessibility of the text to ELLs.
In this series, I’ve modeled how bilingual and dual language books are being used in classrooms to foster deep, critical thinking and a love of reading. Last week I looked at first and second grade, and this week I take a look at third and fourth grade:
Exemplar text: Grandma and Me at the Flea/ Los Meros Meros Remateros by Juan Felipe Herrera