In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The adoption of this document is now observed every December 10, commonly known as Human Rights Day.
Typically, those who experience discrimination belong to the targeted group of one or more of the following groups -- age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual harassment, and race, color, and sex.
There are eight ways that a individual may use to fight and prevent discrimination.
Here are some resources to help fight for human rights and against discrimination!
8 Everyday Ways to Fight Racism
Recognizing Discrimination Lesson for Grades 3-8
6 Ways to Stand Behind Your LGBT Students
Fighting Prejudice and Discrimination of Differently Abled People Lesson for Grades 6-12
National Letter Writing Day, recognized December 7, is a great opportunity to reconnect with significant people in our lives. Writing provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what we want to say to another before we communicate. Expression through writing is a way to commit thoughts to paper, making the thought process visible, while the writer is your own audience. Expressive writing is known to have professional and social benefits -- an obvious reason for integrating writing in Social-Emotional Learning is the fact that writing is the foundation of academic communication and professionalism.
Writing letters promotes mindfulness by requiring thought which encourages you to slow down and focus on what you are trying to communicate. Writing generates self-reflection which allows your mind to focus on the content of the letter-- provides time to think about your job, relationships, hobbies, or whatever the topic is of your writing. Some experience writing to be cathartic; expressive writing is considered therapeutic because the core of writing is self-expression. Reasons to practice expressive writing may be clarity of feelings towards a situation, release of negative feelings and thoughts, to share gratitude and positive feelings towards a person or situation, opportunity to say exactly what you need to say, and letting someone know how much they mean to you. The best part about expressive writing is that you decide if you want to share your writing with others, these letters are only for you unless decided otherwise.
Writing in the Classroom
Social emotional writing is impactful, freeing, and creates opportunities for defining moments in a student's life. There are multiple tips that should be considered when creating a lesson plan or curriculum that practices social emotional writing. First, a great way to set a foundation for social emotional writing is asking students to analyze and write about the emotions of characters rather than their own emotions. Second, build positive relationships with the students to create a safe space that encourages students to express emotions with those they trust. Use prompts that allow you to focus on skills and behaviors that are specific to the needs of the students allowing students to guide the social emotional writing prompts and topics. It is highly recommended to use expressive writing as a warm-up, rather than graded assignment which allows students to practice low-stakes writing. Always respect student privacy. Cultivate a culture of respect by establishing a zero tolerance for bullying and disrespect; school should be a place where every student feels valued and heard.
Below are some resources for using SEL in writing:
Everyone experiences stress – stress is a normal part of being a person – but learning healthy ways to cope can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Tips for Parents
Tips for Kids and Teens
Tips for School Personnel
Halloween is just around the corner, this Saturday! If applicable, please use the following activities and
resources to integrate Social and Emotional Learning within the classroom. Each of these activities are directed towards Halloween, and offer activities to lead discussions towards problem solving, mindfulness, recognizing emotions, decision making, and discerning the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.
For elementary school students:
Trick or Treat Behavior Sort Activity: Decision-Making & Self-Management
Spider Emotions Matching Game: Identifying Emotions
Halloween Trick or Treat Safety Coloring Book: Mindfulness
For Middle-High School Students:
We're sure lots of people are excited for Halloween and all the activities Halloween has to offer, even during the pandemic. Halloween presents opportunities to teach students about a few social and emotional learning skills – such as self-awareness. With the following tips, tricks, and activities there are options to create a SPOOKY social and emotional learning environment.
Pumpkin Feelings – Teaching Self-Awareness
Halloween Character – Teaching Self-Awareness
Ghost Story – Teaching Relationship Skills
Trick or Treating Social Story – Teaching Social Awareness
With more and more people becoming connected through technology and social media every day it's important to remember that while technology can be extremely beneficial to us, it can be harmful for our mental well-being.
You've more than likely heard time and time again to "put down the phone" and "unplug" and "detox from social media". Maybe it hasn't stuck yet, or maybe you're stuck in a cycle of unplugging and plugging back in. That's alright! Let's just go through some of the benefits of unplugging from news, social media, and technology and we'll give you some easy ways to view less of those things.
What are the benefits?
You don't have to unplug forever from social media or technology! Try deleting an app from your phone or curating your social media newsfeed to more positive posts.
Here are some more ways to take a break and unplug:
)The goal of National Bullying Prevention Month is to encourage schools, communities, and organizations to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying and put an end to hatred and racism by increasing awareness of the prevalence and stop impact of all forms of bullying on all children of all ages. It was created in October 2006 by organizations such as PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, National Education Association, National PTA, American Federation for Teachers, and the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, to raise awareness of the issue of bullying.
Firstly, let's define bullying. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can also take place through technology, known as cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. There are many other types of aggressive behavior that may not fit the definition of bullying, but that does not mean that they are any less serious or require less attention than bullying. Rather, those behavior require different prevention and response strategies. (From the Youth.gov definition)
Here are some things teachers and school leaders can do to create a safe and supportive environment that helps to prevent bullying:
Avoid these mistakes when supporting students who are bullied:
Here are some ways to address bullying behavior:
Building relationships and creating learning environments that support positive social and emotional growth is vital to supporting the social and emotional learning of students. The Education Trust provides a report on how to shift the focus away from "fixing kids" and toward addressing adult beliefs and mindsets as well as school and district policies to create an equitable learning environment.
"All of students’ experiences, including home life, bouts with racism, and cultural background, influence social, emotional, and academic development, and influence how adults perceive students’ competence in social-emotional skills and academics. All learning is social and emotional, whether intended to be or not and whether explicitly stated as so or not. The question is not whether educators and schools influence social-emotional development or not; they do. The issue is whether educators and schools do so in a way that is intentionally and explicitly equity focused, because not doing so may cause harm, especially to those students who may not fit the standard American norms that our current education system reflects and rewards." -Education Trust, Section 2 of Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens, August 6, 2020.
In this report, there are 5 sections:
You can download the full report here.
Here are six recommendations for school and district leaders to implement toward creating equitable learning environments: