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SEPTEMBER THEME #TOGETHERNESS

Welcome back Westbury! This month’s SEL theme is #TOGETHERNESS. Just a few months ago, we celebrated a successful year at Westbury Union Free School District to take a step away from our daily routines and enjoy all that summer brings. Hopefully, we stayed mindful of taking time to focus on our mental health and wellness. 

 

But as we all know, summer flies by and we are back to our daily routines that are associated with our roles at Westbury. The theme #TOGETHERNESS was chosen for the month of September because it reminds us that we are united with other people. It is so important to keep a mindset of #TOGETHERNESS as we enter this academic year and the challenges it will bring.

 

#TOGETHERNESS as our SEL theme is also a reminder that at Westbury there is an environment that encourages partnerships, cohesiveness, teamwork and that we are #ONEWESTBURY. 

 

As we engage in #TOGETHERNESS, it provides an opportunity to build new relationships, foster friendships, participate by volunteering for school events, brainstorming  with colleagues and exploring the similarities and  interests amongst scholars to create new group experiences.

 

#TOGETHERNESS as our first theme of the academic year because it is a reminder that when challenges come, feelings of being overwhelmed, inundated, and even stressed by the tasks we face daily, we are not alone. There are resources at Westbury to assist you in challenging times. Sharing and caring is what our school district supports. 

 

Wishing you a wonderful academic year,

Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams

TTW Associates, Inc.

SEL Consultant/WUFSD

@2023

APRIL THEME 2023 #TRUSTWORTHY

Happy Spring Westbury!  Our social and emotional learning theme for the month of April 2023 is #TRUSTWORTHY

This month’s theme is a great opportunity to create lessons, activities and projects that are not only inclusive of #TRUSTWORTHY, but it presents an opportunity to incorporate some of our past SEL themes into school-wide and classroom activities as well.

The SEL theme of # HONESTY is one of the characteristics of an #TRUSTWORTHY person.

As we focus on #TRUSTWORTHY it is important to understand what #TRUSTWORTHY means for students? The opportunity to discuss #TRUSTWORTHY opens the topic of holding students

responsible for results. TRUST is one of the most important words in our social and emotional dialogue. TRUST is the foundation upon which successful relationships are built. TRUST is a concept that reflects our moral character, our ethics, commitment, and belief systems. 

If we define the attributes of a #TRUSTWORTHY person they include someone to count on, someone who is honest, someone who holds your confidences and someone who has a commitment to not mislead or manipulate truths.

Building TRUST is a challenge and as we teach young people what #TRUSTWORTHY means it also presents an opportunity for educators to think about how and if we have earned the TRUST of our students, family, and co-workers.

So, we ask the question, what are #TRUSTWORTHY behaviors?’

#TRUSTWORTHY people maintain consistency with what they say and what they do. They are the same at work, at home, and everywhere else; they don't pretend to be someone else. #TRUSTWORTHY people are reliable, responsible, accountable, and resourceful.’

What is the value of trustworthiness?

‘Trustworthiness is one of the most important qualities in life. It is the quality on which all relationships are built. We are designed to be in relationship with others and being able to TRUST each other means that we can do more together.’

Is TRUST a feeling or emotion?

TRUST is definitely an emotion that doesn't get enough credit for how intense and important it can really be. We're proud of you for feeling this way because it takes a lot of TRUST in yourself to be able to trust another person.’

What are two examples of #TRUSTWORTHY?

‘Some practical examples of trustworthiness include meeting your commitments, showing up on time and doing what you said you would do. In short, people TRUST you to get the job done.’

Is TRUST emotional or social?

TRUST is an emotional brain state, not just an expectation of behavior. TRUST is a central part of all human relationships.’

I hope you will focus on our April 2023 SEL theme in your classrooms, meeting places and social and emotional lives. April suggests a time for spring cleaning. I encourage you to engage in spring cleaning your emotional environment in hopes that with spring comes a commitment to focusing on self and what we hold true in creating, improving, or renewing the emotion called TRUST.

-Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, SEL Consultant
TTW Associates, Inc. Copyright @012023
Source: *goggle.com

MARCH THEME 2023 #ACCOUNTABILITY

Our social and emotional learning theme for the month of March, 2023 is #ACCOUNTABILITY.  This month’s theme is a great opportunity to create lessons, activities and projects that are not only inclusive of #ACCOUNTABILITY, but also to incorporate some of our past SEL themes like #COMMITMENT, # CONFIDENCE, # HONESTY, # SELF-AWARENESS and #EMPATHY.

As we focus on #ACCOUNTABILITY, it is important to understand what #ACCOUNTABILITY means for students? The opportunity to discuss #ACCOUNTABILITY opens the topic of holding students responsible for results.

What is the best definition of #ACCOUNTABILITY?

Webster's Dictionary says the definition of #ACCOUNTABILITY is: "the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions." At work, that might look like owning a mistake and sharing it as a learning experience or giving a presentation around your personal contributions and their impact.

#ACCOUNTABILITY is willingly accepting responsibility for your actions#ACCOUNTABILITY means  to not make excuses for yourself. If something goes wrong, you communicate honestly about what happened rather than hiding the truth.

What Is #ACCOUNTABILITY?

#ACCOUNTABILITY is an acceptance of responsibility for honest and ethical conduct towards others:

#ACCOUNTABILITY is the acceptance of responsibility for one's own actions. It implies a willingness to be transparent, allowing others to observe and evaluate one's performance.

#ACCOUNTABILITY  may help invoke confidence. 

#ACCOUNTABILITY also applies to ethical conduct, acceptance of diversity and fair treatment of each other.

What are the benefits of #ACCOUNTABILITY? 

#ACCOUNTABILITY promotes excellence. 

#ACCOUNTABILITY can produce increased focus and attention to assignments. 

*7 HABITS OF HIGHLY ACCOUNTABLE STUDENTS

(A LIST OF RESPONSIBILITY HABITS TO TEACH!)

  1. Responsible, accountable students are willing to take responsibility and make sure what they have agreed to do gets done.
  2. Responsible, accountable students don’t make excuses for themselves or place the blame for their lack of responsibility, completion, or accomplishment on others. 
  3. Responsible, accountable students do everything in their power to make sure commitments are completed on time. They know that planning is an important part of being responsible and accountable.
  4. Responsible, accountable students are proactive and try to predict what needs to be done, areas where they can be more helpful, or move ahead without being told to do so.
  5. Responsible, accountable students collaborate with others, ask for help when needed, and use all the resources available to them to take responsibility for themselves and their learning. 
  6. When things go wrong or they get off track, responsible, accountable students take responsibility to think of other options and solutions
  7. Responsible, accountable students appreciate but do not expect a pat on the back for the responsibility they have taken. They are satisfied because they have kept their word and done their best!

*Source: https://www.tarheelstateteacher.com/blog/teaching-students-to-be-responsible-and-accountable

 

RESOURCES:     

Cover Image

Accountability in the Classroom

Using Social-Emotional Learning to Guide School Improvement

RENEE G. CARR

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475858716/Accountability-in-the-Classroom-Using-Social-Emotional-Learning-to-Guide-School-Improvement

Social-emotional learning (SEL) has become an important trend in education; however, it is frequently overlooked at the high school level. Arguably, SEL is even more important at this level than other grade levels for the purposes of effective college and career readiness preparation. The inclusion of SEL into school accountability systems and classrooms at all levels of K-12 education will improve SEL’s likelihood of being addressed. When it is, students are better served. This book provides an overview of the like terms for SEL, the state standards in place, and the programs that exist. Furthermore, this book provides improved understanding of SEL assessments in school accountability, practical guidance for SEL usage in the classroom, and new approaches to distance learning with an SEL approach. Specifically, little is known about the usage of SEL in the World Language classroom, so this book is useful for leaders in this content area.

-Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams,SEL Consultant

TTW Associates, Inc.Copyright @012023

Sour

FEBRUARY THEME 2023 #GENEROSITY

What is a #GENEROSITY?

By definition  #GENEROSITY is the quality of being kind and generous.

#GENEROSITY,  “is quality that's a lot like unselfishness. Someone showing #GENEROSITY is happy to give time, money, food, or kindness to people in need. #GENEROSITY is a quality like honesty and patience. “

#GENEROSITY … involves “giving to others not simply anything in abundance but rather giving those things that are good for others. #GENEROSITY always intends to enhance the true wellbeing of those to whom it gives.

Our SEL theme for this month, #GENEROSITY appropriately follows a season of giving but it also is a great reminder to reach out to others who may not have received an abundance of gifts with #GENEROSITY. #GENEROSITY  gives parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss the differences between kindness and being generous.

“Both are admirable qualities, but they aren't exactly the same thing. Kindness can be defined as being gentle, sympathetic, and helpful,  #GENEROSITY  on the other hand, is about giving more than is necessary. It's about going above and beyond what's asked or expected.”

How do you teach #GENEROSITY to students?

1.    Have students bring in well preserved toys for younger students.
2.    Create a day of sharing lunch – food exchange.
3.    Teaching students to be generous with their time and assisting the teacher.
4.    Organizing an effort to assist senior adults.
5.    Giving of their time to a special school event.

How do you build #GENEROSITY in the classroom?

  1. Have students participate in a school volunteer effort.
  2. Encourage students to volunteer in their communities.
  3. Contribute to holiday food drives in the school.
  4. Visit lower school classes and read to the students.
  5. Partner with a classmate who may need assistance with a classroom activity.
  6. Write a letter to someone in need.

Why is it important to teach students about their academic #COMMUNITY?

Research shows that when students feel that they belong to their academic community…they can engage in dialogue and reflection more actively and take ownership and responsibility for their own behavior.

 

We are all a part of the Westbury Union Free School District with shared goals to provide the best academic, social, and emotional learning experience to our scholars. Research has proven that ‘Students thrive when they’re supported by a network of adults working together to create a supportive #COMMUNITY.’ 

 

-Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams

SEL Consultant

TTW Associates, Inc.


JANUARY THEME 2023 #COMMUNITY

What is a #COMMUNITY?

By definition a #COMMUNITY is defined as a group of people who are in the same space with common goals, characteristics, and interests.

When we think of the word #COMMUNITY we find that many of our former themes are related like #SELF-AWARENESS, # EMPATHY, # COMMITMENT AND # GRATEFUL to name a few.

Building and maintaining a sense of #COMMUNITY requires all who are involved to show #EMPATHY for others, have #SELF-AWARENESS to feel they can contribute to environment, show #COMMITMENT to a joint process and #GRATEFUL for the contributions of others.

#COMMUNITY reminds us of the importance of partnerships and the positive benefits of working together as educators to provide a thriving, supportive and safe environment for children.

Our SEL theme for this month, #COMMUNITY is also a very appropriate theme to start off the new year. #COMMUNITY is a theme that will allow us to have in-depth conversations and join in social and emotional learning activities that center on working together.

How do you teach #COMMUNITY to students?

  1. Hold weekly class meetings. A simple but effective way to build classroom community is to hold meetings with your class once a week.
  2. Focus on gratitude.
  3. Work together toward a shared goal.
  4. Give daily compliments and words of encouragement.
  5. Let students have a voice.

How do you build #COMMUNITY in the classroom?

  1. Create human values for learning. 
  2. Discuss behaviors around human values.
  3. Build a classroom culture and climate with group goals.
  4. Develop conflict-resolution rules.
  5. Establish SEL routines. 
  6. Play around with routines during SEL mini lessons.

Why is it important to teach students about their academic #COMMUNITY?

Research shows that when students feel that they belong to their academic community…they can engage in dialogue and reflection more actively and take ownership and responsibility for their own behavior.

 

We are all a part of the Westbury Union Free School District with shared goals to provide the best academic, social, and emotional learning experience to our scholars. Research has proven that ‘Students thrive when they’re supported by a network of adults working together to create a supportive #COMMUNITY.’ 

 

Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams
SEL Consultant
TTW Associates, Inc.


NOVEMBER THEME 2022 #ADAPTABILITY

This month our social and emotional theme is #ADAPTABILITY. The definition of #ADAPTABILITY is ‘an ability or willingness to change to suit different conditions:  #ADAPTABILITY is a necessary quality in an ever-changing world. 

What is a good example of #ADAPTABILITY?

Examples of adaptability is to be flexible, be able to adjust due to a change in circumstances, allow someone else to take the lead and trust in their abilities and not feel insecure in releasing control.

FOR TEACHERS

How do you teach #ADAPTABILITY skills?

Educators can teach this through recognizing effort, building community among peers, asking questions, taking risks, and self-reflection. By not being afraid of failure, students will be more motivated to learn and find exciting solutions to changes in an uncertain future.

Why do teachers have to be adaptable?

The importance of #ADAPTABILITY for teachers is that teaching involves inherent change and teachers are called upon to regularly adapt to manage new or uncertain demands and situations (Collie & Martin, 2016). As such, we suggest that #ADAPTABILITY is a crucial capacity for teachers.

How can a student show #ADAPTABILITY?

-       Adapt to change and new ways of working quickly and easily. 
-       Make suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of changes. 
-       Show willingness to learn new methods, procedures, or techniques.
-        Shift your priorities in response to the demands of a situation.

Can #ADAPTABILITY be taught?

In other words, adaptability is a skill set that can be learned and developed. We learn to be adaptive by learning how to process training or the consumption of formal instruction and day-to-day experiences.

 

FOR PARENTS:

How do you teach kids #ADAPTABILITY?

Raise children with adaptability (6 techniques)

1.    Begin by softening your stance on “The Rules” ...
2.    Change routines occasionally. ...
3.    Allow your kids to experience failure. ...
4.    Encourage kids to share early on. ...
5.    Become an adaptable parent. ...
6.    Praise kids when they show #ADAPTABILITY.

 

Why is #ADAPTABILITY important for kids?

-       Children that are more adaptable tend to move smoothly from one activity to the next, they adjust more quickly to change. 
-       Children with this temperament seem to go with the flow and be more flexible. 
-       They look forward to new schedules, activities, and ideas.

STAFF & ADMINISTRATORS
What are #ADAPTABILITY skills?

Adaptability is a soft skill that means you easily adjust to changing circumstances. An adaptable person can keep up with unexpected changes.

How do you implement #ADAPTABILITY?

-       Improve your problem-solving skills. Problem solving helps you resolve specific issues as they arise.
-       Learn to embrace change.
-       Keep an open mind.
-       Leave your ego at the door.
-       Practice mindfulness.
-       Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
 

Why is #ADAPTABILITY important in emotional intelligence?

#ADAPTABILITY skills are important as they help you deal with new scenarios and situations, therefore building your resilience and confidence. Emotional intelligence is also a valuable soft skill to develop, as it allows you to better understand other people and improve your relationships with others.

Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, HS-BCP
Psychotherapist
SEL Consultant
 

OCTOBER THEME 2022 #EMPATHY

By Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, HS-BCP
Psychotherapist
SEL Consultant

This month our social and emotional theme is #EMPATHY. The definition of #EMPATHY ‘is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position.’

What does it mean to exercise #EMPATHY?
When someone needs support, ask questions, be conscious of how the situation would make you feel and show them you love them through your effort to understand. Lending your heart and ears and exercising #EMPATHY makes others feel safe, understood and loved.

How can teachers promote #EMPATHY?
In this environment, teachers can model #EMPATHY by listening attentively and responding thoughtfully to students. Teachers can also help students develop #EMPATHY by teaching them about different cultures and religions and by discussing social justice issues. 

How do you teach #EMPATHY in the classroom?

-        Through active listening. Express active interest in what your students are saying. 
-        Don't make immediate judgements of right or wrong.
-        Be understanding. 
-        Ask open-ended questions. 
-        Practice mindfulness. 

TEACHING TOOLS FOR PRE-K STUDENTS

#EMPATHY Activities:

-        Teaching how to label feelings.
-        Teach students how to distinguish between different and similar.
-         How to help others feel better.
-        Practicing acts of kindness.
-        Modeling helpfulness.

TEACHING TOOLS – ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

How do you teach elementary students #EMPATHY?

Play emotion charades.
Teaching emotions through play is an important way to develop empathy in children. Games and activities can help children learn the language to express and understand complex feelings. To play emotion charades, take turns acting out emotions and guessing what feeling is being portrayed.

TEACHING TOOLS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

How do you teach #EMPATHY to middle school students?
Use literature, current events, or video clips to demonstrate empathetic behaviors. Create a way to teach others how to be more empathetic (e.g., perform a skit, create a comic strip, write a short story, sing or rap original lyrics). Listen to someone rather than trying to talk to them.

TEACHING TOOLS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

How do you teach #EMPATHY to high school students?
Use the prompt, “How do you think that person/those people felt?” Regardless of subject area—reading a novel, talking about scientific accomplishments, reviewing events in history, reading stories about the contemporary world—asking students to understand the emotions of the people involved exercises their #EMPATHY

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR #EMPATHY

-        Review current events. 
-        Greet your students.
-        Journal writing.
-        Setting goals on paper.
-        Share success stories.
-        Write a short biography about another student. 

TOOLS FOR PARENTS TO TEACH #EMPATHY

How do you teach your child emotional #EMPATHY?

-        Empathize with your child and model #EMPATHY for others.
-        Make caring for others a priority and set high ethical expectations.
-        Provide opportunities for children to practice #EMPATHY.
-        Expand your child's circle of concern. 
-        Help children develop self-control and manage feelings effectively. 

TOOLS FOR TEACHERS & ADMINISTRATORS TO PRACTICE #EMPATHY

How do you teach #EMPATHY to adults?

Our ability to be empathic to others is not fixed; it can be developed.

-        Cultivate curiosity. 

-        Step out of your comfort zone. 

-        Receive feedback. 

-        Examine your biases. 

-        Walk in the shoes of others. 

-        Difficult, respectful conversations.

-        Join a shared cause. 

What exercises increase #EMPATHY?

-        Strengthen your internal resources.

-        Feeling spent? Spend kindness on others.

-        Disagree without debating.

-        Use technology to connect, not just to click and comment.

-        Praise #EMPATHY in others.



SEPTEMBER THEME 2022 #TEAMWORK

KICKS OFF THE 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR!

 

By Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, HS-BCP
Psychotherapist
SEL Consultant 

The SEL theme to open the 2022-2023 school year is #TEAMWORK. It is a theme that applies to the role educators play in contributing to the development of  the whole child. 

#TEAMWORK is a theme that makes a bold statement that everyone connected to impacting our students is working as a team. #TEAMWORK is a theme that expresses the excitement, enthusiasm, and dedication to provide every student with an academically challenging, creative, safe, supportive, and engaging environment.  The theme #TEAMWORKsays to our students that they are a part academic community.

According to the American Psychological Association, the three most important skills of #TEAMWORK are trust, tolerance, and self-awareness. Building trust amongst members of a team is the foundation upon what will determine the relationships within the team. If we trust each other, then we can share openly, build bonds and work towards a greater good. The importance of tolerance in #TEAMWORK, is recognizing that we all have both strengths and weaknesses and allows the team members to acknowledge the expertise of members while supporting members who need assistance.

#TEAMWORK also requires a strong sense of self and being comfortable with allowing team members to get to know you as a person. The best teams are those comprised of confident members who are committed to the group goals and not impacted by not being the leader in every situation.

So, the question is, “what does it take to provide every child with the best opportunity to grow into an educated, heathy, happy adult? It takes # TEAMWORK! There are scholars and clinicians who use the phrase, ‘it takes a village,” which also communicates the theme #TEAMWORK

As an educator and clinician, the theme #TEAMWORK recalls the concept of community and of being a part of a larger agenda and working together with others to realize success.

*Research shows that collaborative problem-solving leads to better outcomes. People are more likely to take calculated risks that lead to innovation if they have the support of a team behind them. Working in a team encourages personal growth, increases job satisfaction, and reduces stress.*google.com

This academic year, our schools  are poised for success . Exceptional programs, initiatives and support services are available  to target the social and emotional wellness of all students, administrators, staff, and parents.

As an SEL consultant and mental health clinician, I am encouraged by the adoption of social and emotional learning and wellness into the mainstream curriculum for all students. 

-Dr. TTW

 


2022 - 2023 SEL THEMES