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February 1, 2018

Social Emotional Learning With an ELA Twist

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades 3–5

    I recently was introduced to a wonderful Scholastic resource called Our Best Selves. Right now, you can visit the site and find a six-lesson unit that focuses on social-emotional learning. What do I love? Two things: That helping students to better understand their emotions is becoming more common in classrooms, and getting all the tools to help make that understanding happen.

    I wanted to examine the program with my students through a literacy lens. I decided to integrate a picture book or excerpt from a chapter book to go along with each of the six lessons. I also focused on the writing component offered by the site. Read on to see how I wove the first lesson from Our Best Selves into our classroom curriculum.

    I began by highlighting the reasons it is important to understand our emotions as outlined on the site. I then reminded students that in order to be successful in life, you have to understand yourself. This is a life skill!

    Lesson 1 guides students toward reflecting on their emotions. Students learn how to think about their feelings and then categorize them using a "mood meter." Before I introduced the mood meter, my class brainstormed a list of emotions we are aware of. Some students took to paper and wrote about situations they were in when experiencing specific feelings.

    Integrating Literacy

    In order to tie Lesson 1 into a literacy study, I searched for a book with emotions at its center. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss was perfect. Using colors to help define different ways a character feels, it also helps the reader to explore the many moods a single character can go through. After I read the story to the class, we had a whole class conversation about colors and how they were interpreted. In the book, certain colors were identified with certain emotions.

    This was the perfect segue into my introducing the mood meter. The meter is comprised of four quadrants, each of a different color. The legend helps students begin to think of their emotions in terms of simple, high-level categories and then to sort them into the appropriate quadrants.

    The mood meter was an absolute hit with my fourth and fifth graders. There’s an element of math the comes into play when creating a quadrant (coordinate plane) that students really responded to. The meter provides the color scheme, but after reading Dr. Seuss’ book, we decided our color scheme would be unique to each person's meter. For some of us, blue is a happy color and brown is a sad color. After creating their own personal mood meters, students continued the lesson by graphing their moods throughout the day (this is a “thing” now).  

    Amazing lesson, check. Fabulous writing opportunity...read on!

    Using My Many Colored Days as a mentor text we came up with what colors made us feel certain ways. Other great choices for mentor texts I brought in were Hailstones and Halibut Bones, Red Sings from the Treetops, and I Love You the Purplest. Hailstones and Halibut Bones uses poetry to explore colors in an emotional context. Red Sings from the Treetops is a story of the many colors that we see in nature and how one can interpret nature through colors. I Love You the Purplest tells the story of a mother's love and how she uses colors to define her feelings for her sons.

    These mentor texts were used to further our conversations around the notion of expressing feelings through color. Each book used the same colors in a different way and that was fascinating for students. After reading each book as a whole class, students were also able to use these mentor texts as an example for ways to write about color and emotion.

    I introduced the writing component by asking students to decide what colors best described their emotions. After students brainstormed this on the carpet with me, I invited them to go back to their seats and write. I created a template for students who wanted to follow the My Many Colored Days book exactly. Others took ideas from the other example texts that I shared or created their own original piece of writing. By the end of the task, each student had created a piece of writing that defined a number of emotional facts about themselves:

    • The way they feel about certain colors

    • The emotions they connect with those colors

    • How they cope with their emotions when they are feeling a certain way

    I wanted to frame their fantastic, personal emotion writing on something colorful to underscore what they wrote about colors and how they feel. I let them watercolor a background and then position the writing on top so the artwork showed all around creating a frame.

    By the end of the first lesson, every student in the classroom had a clearer understanding of emotions — their own and others. Our Best Selves is a quick and convenient way to get social emotional learning in your classroom. Every teacher, student, and parent could benefit from it!

    Any picture book lessons or ideas you have on emotions? I’d love to hear from you!

    Thank you for reading!

     

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

     

    I recently was introduced to a wonderful Scholastic resource called Our Best Selves. Right now, you can visit the site and find a six-lesson unit that focuses on social-emotional learning. What do I love? Two things: That helping students to better understand their emotions is becoming more common in classrooms, and getting all the tools to help make that understanding happen.

    I wanted to examine the program with my students through a literacy lens. I decided to integrate a picture book or excerpt from a chapter book to go along with each of the six lessons. I also focused on the writing component offered by the site. Read on to see how I wove the first lesson from Our Best Selves into our classroom curriculum.

    I began by highlighting the reasons it is important to understand our emotions as outlined on the site. I then reminded students that in order to be successful in life, you have to understand yourself. This is a life skill!

    Lesson 1 guides students toward reflecting on their emotions. Students learn how to think about their feelings and then categorize them using a "mood meter." Before I introduced the mood meter, my class brainstormed a list of emotions we are aware of. Some students took to paper and wrote about situations they were in when experiencing specific feelings.

    Integrating Literacy

    In order to tie Lesson 1 into a literacy study, I searched for a book with emotions at its center. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss was perfect. Using colors to help define different ways a character feels, it also helps the reader to explore the many moods a single character can go through. After I read the story to the class, we had a whole class conversation about colors and how they were interpreted. In the book, certain colors were identified with certain emotions.

    This was the perfect segue into my introducing the mood meter. The meter is comprised of four quadrants, each of a different color. The legend helps students begin to think of their emotions in terms of simple, high-level categories and then to sort them into the appropriate quadrants.

    The mood meter was an absolute hit with my fourth and fifth graders. There’s an element of math the comes into play when creating a quadrant (coordinate plane) that students really responded to. The meter provides the color scheme, but after reading Dr. Seuss’ book, we decided our color scheme would be unique to each person's meter. For some of us, blue is a happy color and brown is a sad color. After creating their own personal mood meters, students continued the lesson by graphing their moods throughout the day (this is a “thing” now).  

    Amazing lesson, check. Fabulous writing opportunity...read on!

    Using My Many Colored Days as a mentor text we came up with what colors made us feel certain ways. Other great choices for mentor texts I brought in were Hailstones and Halibut Bones, Red Sings from the Treetops, and I Love You the Purplest. Hailstones and Halibut Bones uses poetry to explore colors in an emotional context. Red Sings from the Treetops is a story of the many colors that we see in nature and how one can interpret nature through colors. I Love You the Purplest tells the story of a mother's love and how she uses colors to define her feelings for her sons.

    These mentor texts were used to further our conversations around the notion of expressing feelings through color. Each book used the same colors in a different way and that was fascinating for students. After reading each book as a whole class, students were also able to use these mentor texts as an example for ways to write about color and emotion.

    I introduced the writing component by asking students to decide what colors best described their emotions. After students brainstormed this on the carpet with me, I invited them to go back to their seats and write. I created a template for students who wanted to follow the My Many Colored Days book exactly. Others took ideas from the other example texts that I shared or created their own original piece of writing. By the end of the task, each student had created a piece of writing that defined a number of emotional facts about themselves:

    • The way they feel about certain colors

    • The emotions they connect with those colors

    • How they cope with their emotions when they are feeling a certain way

    I wanted to frame their fantastic, personal emotion writing on something colorful to underscore what they wrote about colors and how they feel. I let them watercolor a background and then position the writing on top so the artwork showed all around creating a frame.

    By the end of the first lesson, every student in the classroom had a clearer understanding of emotions — their own and others. Our Best Selves is a quick and convenient way to get social emotional learning in your classroom. Every teacher, student, and parent could benefit from it!

    Any picture book lessons or ideas you have on emotions? I’d love to hear from you!

    Thank you for reading!

     

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

     

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