Here are some school truths:
SEL is vital!
Literacy is crucial!
ELD/ESL is imperative!
And these have always been…maybe your student population changed, life sure has changed, but people have always needed support learning, practicing what they have learned, learning about differences and similarities, appreciation, respect, and expressing themselves properly. All of these may leave a teacher to feel overwhelmed because they think they need to figure out how to fit these all in- individually, SEL, ELD/ESL, Literacy.
But, never fear there is enough time to get them all in and sometimes they work altogether. Trying to teach every subject and focus individually will take more time then we have in the week, month, school year. We have to take advantage of our class minutes and teach multiple subjects and skills together. The way to do this is to capture our morning meeting or classroom meeting time back!!!!
I love to have my classroom meetings after recess time. It allows my students to calm down from their outdoor playtime and transition to class focus. We are able to go over any behaviors that occurred on the playground, and I help student talk through ways those situation could have been handled- this discussion with teacher prompting and student feedback is SEL, modeling what could have been done or proper things helps students envision for their next recess. This allows for your second language learners to practice their speaking skills- this is a great time to bring in sentence frames- they can turn and talk to practice with a partner before sharing with the class. So far we have SEL and ELD and literacy is adding in the a reading and writing portion. Adding an agenda to the board when starting the class meeting- sharing the pen (for a portion) with students, and reading it back together those verbal skills that are needed with reading.
Literacy is reading, writing, speaking and listening. These four components are entwined with ELD/ESL (English Language Development/ English as a Second Language) but need more structured support. How can we add this into our classroom meeting? Here is another example:
-Pass out a SEL current even article from ReadWorks, Time for Kids, Scholastic News, Studies Weekly, Newsela or one of the other sites (several are listed here), and work through it with your students. Have them turn and talk to a partner, to read through the article.
Step 1: Let the class know you are going to read an article and what the topic is about to make connections to their life, to what they are learning in class, and to each other. This will help to build the background and aid students in connecting old and new information.
Step 2: Before reading introduce some vocabulary, have students practice reading and naming the vocabulary, add a hand motion when practicing each word for kinesthetic memory.
Step 3: Partners can scan the article for words they need help with so before they read you can go over the words and give them another scaffold to success.
Step 4: Have the partners read the article together so they can help each other. Go around and listen to the groups reading- take those ELD notes to support English needs, take literacy notes to support reading needs (These may overlap of course). *You can give a itty bitty mini lesson on a need you see for example… “Class, when you see a period it means full stop, outstretch your arm and place out your hand.” Read a sentence and show them the period and stop then read another sentence. Keep it extremely short!!!
Step 5: Either ask for volunteers to read the article or read it aloud and have the class read it with you aloud. This way they can practice without any embarrassment and hear the proper pronunciation and pacing from you, an experienced reader.
Step 6: Talk about what the article means, ask students to think about how they can relate it to their friends, school, family etc. Give them think time and verbal sentence frames to use when answering.
Step 7: Send it home for homework to read with a pet, family member or to a doll. Answer a question or two out the reading so they can apply writing skills.
Now you have kept the topic SEL based, using literacy, and ELD scaffolding.
This is keeping your classroom student based and working for the needs of your students in the way that is best with out fully stressing the teacher out.
Keep it real!!!!
Keep it connected!!!