Education is a changing landscape, and while changes can be exciting, their uncertainty can also cause stress. As teachers and students navigate the shifts in curriculum, technology, and learning experiences, it’s more important than ever for schools to provide emotional and wellness support for both teachers and students.
With International Social-Emotional Learning Day on March 10, it’s a great time to reflect on the ways schools and communities can provide resources for social-emotional wellbeing. As students grow and mature, access to relevant learning experiences about emotions and social skills, as well as how these influence their self-image and interpersonal relationships, are critical to their well-being. While teachers balance the stresses of their positions and guide students through emotional challenges, they should also have access to resources that will help them cope with these feelings in healthy ways. We’ve pulled together activities and resources from Discovery Education to help support teacher and student wellness.
Students in grades K-12 are not only learning new academic skills and content each year, but they are also learning how to handle new emotional challenges as they grow. Discovery Education has a variety of resources that share information about age-appropriate wellness topics. It’s no surprise that wellness looks different for a student in grades K-5 when compared to a student in grades 6-12, so the implementation of SEL content needs to match the students’ needs! With activities about identifying emotions, setting goals, showing empathy, maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions, it is easy to find DE lessons that will help students grow in all areas of emotional wellness.
The Social-Emotional Learning Coalition has no-cost, curated resources for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-12 based on the emotional skills students are developing during those ages and topics that are relevant during those times. The SEL Coalition is created in partnership with numerous organizations dedicated to the social and emotional wellbeing of students. The SEL Center in Discovery Education Experience organizes these materials for DE users, making them simple for teachers to assign and for students to find.
The Wellness Channel offers content to support conversations in the classroom about emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual wellness for students in grades K-12. The SEL Center and Wellness Channel are great places for teachers to start when identifying SEL resources for their students, as they can quickly find activities and instructional supports for their grade level.
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For our youngest students, grades PK-2 are full of remarkable emotional and social growth—from the productive struggles of learning new rules and routines to the joys (and frustrations) of making new friends! Sesame Learning and Discovery Education have joined together to present Feelings Time, a channel full of lesson plans, child-centered video content, and Brain Break mini-lessons to help students to become emotionally strong, self-assured, and more resilient.
As K-5 students develop self-awareness and social skills, it’s important to make wellness activities part of a regular, fun routine. Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips can help students dive right into emotional wellness content and make these lessons exciting and interesting. Teachers can bring SEL to life for K-5 students with the Soar with Wings Virtual Field Trip, which delves into the key pillars of emotional intelligence and shares stories of real-life students. Self-esteem and bullying are very relevant topics to tackle with students in grades 3-5, and the Amazing Me Virtual Field Trip takes students on a journey to explore how to be kinder to themselves. With characters from Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe as well as ambassadors from the Dove Self-Esteem Project and Discovery Education, students can build life-long confidence and self-esteem!
Students in grades 6-12 are preparing for the next steps in their life, so it is important to help them learn about ways to maintain their emotional wellness through new challenges such as drug addiction, cyber-safety, teenage friendships, self-awareness, and stress management. The DEA and Discovery Education have worked together to build Operation Prevention, which has a Virtual Field Trip, lesson plans, and other engaging online tools to help students explore how addiction impacts people’s lives.
While teachers help students navigate their emotions and develop healthy responses to stressful situations, they are often balancing their own stresses. Providing emotional wellness resources to teachers can not only help strengthen their own coping and interpersonal skills, but can also help make them confident about implementing SEL lessons in the classroom for their students. SEL Center embedded in Discovery Education Experience has short videos, podcasts, webinars, and “microlearnings” that teach about SEL and are relevant to day-to-day life as an educator. The Discovery Educator Network is also a great wellness resource, as it offers the opportunity for teachers to build connections and support each other as they embrace the exciting and overwhelming moments of teaching.
Whether it’s International SEL Day or it’s just another day in the classroom, implementing SEL lessons and discussing emotional wellness topics can help both students and teachers feel heard and supported throughout the school year. Discovery Education is here to help make SEL implementation simple and engaging for both teachers and students!