I have a unique group of students, ranging from 9-12 years old, with a wide variety of needs and interests: anime, video games, graphic novels, soccer, animals, Disney, or musicals. I have the same students for 3 years, until they enter junior high, which allows for a deeper relationship with each student and the continued fostering of good relationships between peers.
Despite their varying ages, abilities, and interests, my students know and care for each other.
They work to interact respectfully, while acknowledging the strengths and differences in each other. They all bring amazing abilities and gifts to the classroom to create a beautiful and inclusive environment.
Throughout history, humans have learned and communicated through stories. In my classroom, I love the use of picture books to convey information and important topics. These books can be engaging for all ages and can relate complex ideas and topics in an approachable manner. The books can lead to in-depth discussions, questions, and activities. Reading these books also foster relationships, promote reading, demonstrate fluency, encourage a positive classroom environment, and so many more indirect skill sets.
Teaching SEL (Social Emotional Learning) in my classroom has always been a priority, but I think now it is more vital than ever to help close the gaps this pandemic has created or widened.
The Covid outbreak has caused students, families, and teachers to be flexible and resilient; students have faced new challenges in their social and emotional development. Helping students manage their peer interactions and their own emotions will only help to close the academic gaps prevalent in so many of our students now. Some SEL skills must be mastered before academic learning can occur. This is the time to come together, regardless of differences, to be understanding and accepting, to help each other, and move forward to a better future.
I have carefully selected these books to help address many of the areas for growth in my classroom. I know my students will benefit and enjoy them, and they will continue to make a difference for years to come! Thank you!
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