While students were learning from home in the spring, their routines were disrupted, their social interactions limited, and in too many cases, their home lives were stressful and unpredictable. Against a backdrop of a dangerous pandemic and an American reckoning with systemic racism, students have been through a lot. This makes Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) instruction more important than ever. Unfortunately, even relatively new SEL plans lack the critical context of what is going on in the world. What’s more, SEL materials are often predicated on instruction being synchronous and in person.
In response to this climate, we’ve released a series of updates to The Newsela Social-Emotional Learning Collection in time for back to school. This update provides timely content that is germane to what students are experiencing, with embedded teaching resources rooted in the research of trauma experts like Dr. Pamela Cantor. As always, the Collection makes it easy to integrate critical SEL themes alongside core literacy instruction, and lessons are designed to support learning whether students and teachers are together or apart.
New units for timely SEL skills
In addition to the 5 existing units in the Collection that map to CASEL’s 5 SEL competencies for each grade band, we’ve added a new sixth unit called Back to School: Relationships, Routines, and Resilience that helps teachers home in on the SEL skills that are most important during this unique period of disruption and anxiety. The articles and embedded instructional supports are age appropriate and hyper relevant to the world right now, to help teachers build relationships with students who they may not see in person, support them in safe social interactions, establish safe routines, and model and support resilience for the school community.
Ready-to-go SEL lessons
For each of the 3 new focus areas (relationships, routines, and resilience), text sets are included that can be used as ready-to-go mini units, with guiding questions, suggested pathways, pacing guides, “I can” statements, and more. Supports are included to ensure the lessons can be used whether students are learning in-person or from home, so teachers can spend their time building connections with students instead of searching content and coming up with lesson ideas.
More content for student choice
Finally, because student motivation is critical to keep students engaged, we’ve added additional timely content throughout the Collection to expand student choice. As teachers use the Collection to cover the 5 CASEL competencies of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, students will have more opportunities to deepen their understanding and choose for themselves which articles they read.
The 2020-2021 school year will be full of challenges and unknowns, but when teachers and students have the tools to focus on building relationships, establishing routines, and being resilient, they’ll have a foundation that will set them up for success long after COVID-19 passes.
Contact us to bring The Newsela Social-Emotional Learning Collection to your school or district.
Click here to watch our recent webinar with SEL and trauma expert, Dr. Pamela Cantor.