I have been an elementary school counselor for quite some time now, and each summer parents of the school I am currently working for always ask for additional work for their students throughout the summer. This year especially with school closures, parents wanted additional literacy work for their students to do.
When I first learned about this podcast, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for my younger students to use because it was engaging, easily accessed, and fun. Soon after learning more about this podcast, I thought it provides a great opportunity to incorporate Social-Emotional Learning through text to my students.
I had the opportunity to collaborate with the creator of this podcast and she was so willing and excited to read books that would enhance everything I was teaching daily! With the amazing help of Joanne Avery, she recorded a series of books focusing on Social-Emotional Learning (S.E.L. ). Since this series has aired, each week my students are extremely excited to hear what book they will listen to from Miss Joan that week!
The concept of social and emotional learning (S.E.L.) has been in recent years at the forefront of education. S.E.L. focuses on the whole child, and the belief that students are capable of learning skills and concepts that help them become better human beings, which leads to a more enriching life. But what is Social-Emotional Learning, and how does it play a key role in education?
Social-Emotional Learning encompasses the processes in which both children and adults learn character-building skills that help with emotional regulation and management, creating and maintaining positive relationships with others, provide critical problem-solving skills, and positive interpersonal skills. Now, this may not be the textbook definition of that Social-Emotional Learning is, but in my years as an elementary school counselor, this is what I have focused on with students.
So, as you can image, to dive into all the concepts and basic ideas that surround social and emotional learning would take way longer than this blog is meant to be. Because of that, I will focus on one key concept: character traits. When we think about a person's, or student's character, the question of nature versus nurture always comes into play. The question is, can character traits such as empathy, grit, or integrity be learned, or is character engrained into our personality and genetics? The concept of Social-Emotional Learning believes that children and adults are capable of developing character traits, habits, or skills that promote positivity. It is as simple as learned behavior. Teaching students character skills through text promotes higher leveling thinking, and relates beloved characters to essential questions.
The S.E.L series of Little Readers 6-8, started with parents asking for more literacy opportunities. Now, this series has enriched Social-Emotional Learning concepts across our school and district. The format and mission of this podcast creates listening and learning opportunities for all kids to engage in this work. This work engages its listeners to think about characters experiencing obstacles that they may have, or might have, in the future.