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Social Emotional Learning- A snap shot of the October 9th Professional Development Day

posted Oct 16, 2015, 1:30 PM by J Slaney   [ updated Oct 16, 2015, 1:53 PM ]
Have you ever wondered what happens during the staff professional development days when your children stay home from school?  On October 9th,  the Placentino and Miller Staff came together to deepen our learning and understanding of Social Emotional Learning in the classroom.  The day was completely designed and delivered by our very own staff.  The topic, Social Emotional Learning of Students, has been an ongoing topic not only in our school, but across our District, and in the educational field.  Our guiding question for the day wasHow can we build upon our personal and collective awareness of social/emotional health and develop strategies for addressing the behavioral health needs of children?  We all know that in order to learn academically, we must meet the social and emotional learning needs of our students as well. We need to teach the whole child.

The day began with a message from our key note speaker, School Psychologist, Jessica Smith. Mrs. Smith gave the educators an indepth review of social emotional vocabulary (i.e. inhibit, shift, emotional control, initiate, working memory, planning, organizing and monitor) that they had learned from the September professional development day. Connections with these vocabulary terms were made to the social and emotional competencies of self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


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For the rest of the day, educators attended four break out sessions with the goal of practicing and using common vocabulary to describe behavior and share/expand their toolkit to support students in their classroom. The breakout sessions were the following:


#1: OT Strategies for Self-Regulation

Wendy Krauss, Mara LaCava, and Cindy Moratti


Objective and Outcome:

The objective of this breakout session was to provide in-class supports to help all students regulate their behavior throughout the school day.  These strategies can help students to inhibit impulsive behavior; modulate and control their emotional responses; monitor and assess their behavior; and shift flexibly between lessons.



#2:  Organizational Tools & Strategies For the Elementary Classroom    

Alycia Babino and Jessica Smith


Objective and Outcome:

The objective of this breakout session was to provide an overview of various organizational tools to enhance student learning.  These strategies can help students to initiate tasks; plan and organize their approach to a task; organize their materials and work spaces; monitor their performance and task completion; and shift or transition between learning activities.



#3: Mindfulness

Rosalie Paillard, Heather Dalton and Anne Marie Cohen

Objective and Outcome:

The objective of the Mindfulness breakout session was to explore ways that mindfulness practices in the classroom can support students in their development of executive skills.  Mindful practices can help all students inhibit impulsive behavior, gain and sustain emotional awareness and control and increase working memory.


#4: Whole Body Listening, Social Narratives, Social Thinking, and Superflex     

Julia Levin, Erin Fleischer, Susan Serreze, Trish Moore and Lianna Ramage


Objective and Outcome:

The objective of this breakout session was to provide strategies and terminology to use with students in the classroom to improve social skills and behavior across the school day.  The use of social stories were discussed, with tips on how to formulate narratives to improve target behaviors and to encourage positive behaviors to continue.  The strategies and skills provided in this breakout session will help students inhibit impulsive behavior; shift more flexibly in social and academic situations; plan and organize specific experiences through the use of social narratives; and improve overall emotional control across the school day.


I am incredibly proud of all of our presenters and the talent they displayed in sharing their expert knowledge in these areas. The day ended with the teachers brainstorming next steps and take aways. The room was literally buzzing with excitement, which is not easily done the Friday before a long weekend. Our staff is committed to our continuous learning of and the growth of our students' social emotional well being.




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