Slater Elementary and Price Middle School students soak up Social and Emotional Learning on Day One

by Kimberly Willis Green

At APS’ Slater Elementary School and Price Middle School, students were immersed in instruction on Day One, starting out with social and emotional learning, followed by math, social studies and “Instagrammar!”

Price Middle School Principal Duane Hale greets his students on their way to class.
Price Middle School Principal Duane Hale greets his students on their way to class.

Follow the Paws to Price Middle School

Upon arriving to Price Middle School, Principal Duane Hale greeting his students after breakfast and watched each one follow the “paws” to their classrooms.

At Price, “Math is Dog-Gone Fun” in Makarios Etheridge’s class. The former graduation coach and new math teacher opened his lesson with a “snowball” social emotional exercise. Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the processes through which children, adolescents and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills in five areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Students wrote about themselves on a piece of paper, balled it up and threw it against the wall. Then each of them picked up a different snowball to read about their classmate to get to each another.

Mr. Etheridge’s math class learns about SEL’s snowball effect.
Makarios Etheridge’s math class at Price Middle School learns about SEL’s snowball effect.

The district has partnered with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to implement a districtwide evidenced-based social and emotional learning initiative that will enhance instructional models, integrating SEL into the core curriculum, and establish a caring, inclusive culture school-wide, supported by strong home-school-community partnerships. This year, district is piloting the program in all middle schools and the Carver cluster schools. “SEL allows us to meet the social and emotional needs of our students in the Carver community,” said Hale, who also added how excited his team was to implement the initiative at Price.

Price Middle School Principal Duane Martin makes his daily morning announcements.
Price Middle School Principal Duane Martin makes his daily morning announcements.

Later that morning, Mr. Hale made morning announcements informing his students and staff that “We are getting back to basics” and the importance of having mutual respect for one another.

Slater Elementary SWAG

The theme Slater Elementary School this year is “Because of Slater, We Can!” Principal Eunice Payne stood in the front office and welcomed her new and returning students and assisted their parents with completing enrollment for their students. Slater has the cutest sibling students around!

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Slater Elementary School siblings groups are ready to learn on Day One!

The first class I visited made me wish I had Mrs. Darlene Dobbs for history and social studies back in my day.

Darlene Dobbs helps her social studies students locate different continents on a beach ball globe.
Slater Elementary School Social Studies teacher Darlene Dobbs helps her students locate different continents on a beach ball globe.

Her students were divided by team and were quizzed on geography around the globe! “Who can tell me the continent surrounded by a body of water?” Students were engaged, excited and encouraging to Mrs. Dobbs who declared to one student, “I can tell I’m going to have fun with this class this year!”

As I walked down the hall, one particular board caught my eye – Slater Elementary English and Language Arts teachers are all about that “Instagrammar!” The instagram-themed board displayed posters about nouns, verbs and prepositional phrases that would make any ELA lesson interesting!

Slater Elementary’s ‘Instagrammar” board features information about nouns, verbs and prepositional phrases.
Slater Elementary’s ‘Instagrammar” board features information about nouns, verbs and prepositional phrases.

Upstairs in the third grade hallway, all four third grade teachers at Slater combined their classes for a lesson on social and emotional learning.

During a social and emotional learning session, all third grade teachers brought their students together for a family-style conversation about expectations for the new school year.
During a social and emotional learning session, all third grade teachers brought their students together for a family-style conversation about expectations for the new school year.

Similar to a family meeting, each teacher took turns and spoke to the class about expectations for the school year, writing and plagiarism, and emergency procedures for inclement weather or crises in the school community. What a great way for students to get to know their third grade peers!

Overall, Price Middle School and Slater Elementary were definitely ready for Day One and instruction was evident throughout both schools. Stay tuned to how social and emotional learning will be making an impact within the Carver cluster during the 2015-16 school year!

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