If you work in education, you know that “having the summer off” really means, having meetings after the kids are gone, then a few weeks off, and then starting to plan for the next school year. People often ask teachers, “what do you do all summer” or “what do you do with all of that time off?” What most people don’t realize is that teachers, school counselors, school administrators and everyone else in education usually work year round and try to find some pockets of time over the summer to take a break. Summer is also used to figure out ways to integrate new goals, new pedagogy, or the latest trend in education into the classroom and/or lesson plans.
At Cultures of Dignity we encourage schools to integrate social emotional learning (SEL), with training for educators, into the school day. SEL is a crucial part of helping young people grow into adults that can handle and understand their own emotional landscape. As schools continue to navigate a world with Covid and a generation of students that are recovering from the past few years, the need for SEL is paramount.
While our newsletters and the few tips included will not make anyone an SEL expert it can help you get your classroom and school set up for the fall and provide some SEL support. A great way to build SEL engagement in your classroom or throughout the school is through interactive bulletin boards. Using a bulletin board demonstrating self care, mindfulness, and daily needs creates an environment for students to feel genuinely seen and supported. Interactive bulletin boards will not only help you lead and guide SEL activities for your students, but also help them strengthen their SEL skills without you feeling pressure to be an SEL expert. Making the board interactive is a fun way to reinforce what you are doing in the classroom. They can also provide ways for self-guided facilitation, think of a mindfulness corner where kids are able to take a moment to reflect on their own while you are able to work with other students.
While the idea of bulletin boards is not revolutionary, it is a simple way to help your students know that you care about their emotional health as well as their academic success. Simply asking students what they need, or giving suggestions for self care, with a tool like an interactive bulletin board, is social emotional support. Some bulletin board ideas provided in the links below are pre-made for purchase, some are DIY so you can pick what feels good to you, but all will help you integrate SEL practices into your school environment and demonstrate that your classroom and school are safe places.