S.E.L. = Social Emotional Learning or in my classroom ( Pirate Club) is a set time where we directly teach and practice many specific social skills and concepts that help us navigate the social emotional conditions we find our selves.
Basically, SEL is the understanding and ways of behaving when we share space with others. During our lives we are surrounded by people, so most of us learn to self regulate and think about others in this shared space and try to keep each other comfortable. We count on each other to follow the group norms -to feel safe. We learn quickly and organically that people have thoughts about our behaviors and we have thoughts about theirs when we share space. Classrooms , playgrounds, cafeterias, etc. are shared spaces at school.
However, children with social difficulties struggle learning these and other skills due to a host of difficulties. They benefit from direct instruction & practice in this area so they can develop strategies and thinking skills which will assist them with learning in all areas including academics. Learning needs a specific set of conditions to occur. This is but one variable for learning.
For this population of students, many of the lessons are geared towards their needs but I believe all children could benefit. We dedicate 2 hours a week to these lessons and activities. S.E.L. paired with mindful lessons primes the students to benefit from and access the academics, connect to others and improves self awareness.
The intense focus on academics & mandates in our schools places many time constraints and pressure on students and teachers. We forget too often what we need to grow into learners and adults. I have learned that in order for children to access the academics, connect to others and feel safe, learning how to think of others & self awareness are important areas of focus through out our day in Room 15.
However, mindfulness is the doorway to any social emotional learning program. Simply because it is the practicing of how we pause and notice others and ourselves. It strengthens our attention and self awareness. Mindfulness has a positive influence on these children sensory needs as well. Check out more of room 15's mindful lessons here.
Welcome to my Classroom!
I am passionate, a little bit quirky ( some may say a little bit more) and dedicated to serving children with Autism. These young people have touched me deeply and have made me a better teacher & hopefully person. I want to share what I have learned that allows these beautiful children to grow & sometimes thrive in my class.
I begin my 26th year of teaching this year! I teach in the Bay Area and live in the beautiful redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. My sanctuary, place of reflection and daily sitting practice.
My hope is that this website/blog will help others understand and see children with Autism as talented unique thinkers who can and will contribute to our world and anyone who knows them in positive ways.