As school doors open this year to welcome back students, successful schools recognize that if they want to reach and teach all students, they need to touch their hearts and their minds. Amid the dual pandemics–Covid19 and the social and civic unrest–students are entering the school year with a host of needs that must be addressed to ensure that they are successful.
These needs cover the spectrum from a deficit in mathematics to a family hardship. Regardless, in the end, we know that student achievement improves when students feel connected and safe, when relationships flourish in the classroom. There is no substitute for a student having a meaningful connection with a teacher, counselor, paraprofessional, administrator, or other educator at school.
Our blog this month focused on 6 different ways to build SEL in schools, and we hope you found them easy to implement. As educational leaders, we realize that one of the best places to start your learning is by reading great books, which is why we curate our lists of books to help you on your path to leading better and growing faster.
This month, we recommend two books that we believe can make a difference where it matters the most—in the classroom. The first book is The Formative Five by Thomas Hoerr and the second one is Improve Every Lesson with SEL by Jeffrey Benson.
Featured Author: Thomas Hoerr
Featured Book: The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs
The Formative Five focuses on developing empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit . Each one of the five serves our students (and teachers) well as they strive to deepen their understanding and execution in each area. The five also have a unique way of focusing on the self and others. We found this to be practical for all educators.
Focusing on others, having empathy, is something that we can all improve upon, and as we seek to understand others, we often learn quite a bit about ourselves. Lastly, Heorr recommends other reads throughout the chapters, which is a great springboard to other books that may be valuable. Don’t miss our interview with Thomas Hoerr. You can find it on our site at theschoolhouse302.com by clicking on the podcast button at the top.
Key Feature of the Book:
Hoerr created self-assessment surveys for each of the formative five. We appreciate this style of writing that is designed to engage the reader, especially because these are areas that we can continually develop as leaders.
Featured Author: Jeffrey Benson
Featured Book: Improving Every Lesson Plan with SEL
Improving Every Lesson Plan with SEL demystifies the process of weaving social and emotional learning into your lessons. That last thing we want is for SEL activities to be taught in isolation or devoid of the classroom content. The more SEL can find a home within each lesson, the more students will understand the dynamic nature of so many of the topics we discuss. Consider Hurricane Ida that just devastated areas of the east coast, it’s important to know what a hurricane is, the various categories for example, but tying that to the human side of destruction and loss can teach empathy along with the content.
Key Feature of the Book:
Similar to Hoerr, Benson explicitly outlines specific action steps that are aligned to the content in the book. He also asks the reader to reflect on their lesson plans through what they are learning about how social and emotional learning works for students.
We can’t wait to hear from you.
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