One extraordinary advantage of the BASE course design is that the material lays the foundation for student/educator SEL discussions while providing the educator an opportunity to customize the experience for their students.
Are you an educator with a creative flair? Invite your students to collaborate with you on the material in an artistic manner (ie, drawings, media presentations, etc).
Do you feel more comfortable communicating thoughts through creative writing? Encourage your students to share their reactions to the material through the written word (ie, poetry, letters to their future selves, etc)
Traditional means of gathering information from our young people is severely limited. Gone are the days when we could observe them in the hallways or listen to their chatter in the classroom. But we can still “hear” them. All we need to do is open the lines of communication and listen. We have a chance to take this remote learning platform challenge and turn it into an opportunity to connect with our students through our strengths as educators. Let’s not waste this opportunity!
– Ask Students to share snapshots from their home life to help foster a sense of connectedness – create an online bulletin board to display their photos (examples: showing kindness, being a leader, activities for coping with stress, etc)
– Encourage students to create a wish list of top 5-10 things that they hope to do once quarantine is lifted, this can then be shared in a central “classroom” space online. This allows students to think about the future, allows them to embrace the transient nature of this experience, and provides them things to look forward to while fostering that much-needed sense of community.
– Collect “quotables” from mentors/celebrities/historical figures admired by your students regarding SEL material and display them in a central classroom space online (examples: dealing with change, stress management, making goals for the future, etc.)
– “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (Dealing with Change)
– “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” – Rumi (Stress Management)
– “I feel like when I try to fit in, it comes across as not genuine, and that is not good. I’d rather just do me and have people say, ‘Oh. That’s interesting,’ then try to fit in.” – Ariana Grande (Self Esteem)
– Add a connection accountability piece – “Send me one journal entry on how you overcame a tough situation this week.” or “Send me one journal entry on what you are most looking forward to when you get to see your friends.”
– Make it fun, and meaningful – start a dialogue! Impart hope by telling them what YOU are most looking forward to or express your vulnerability in sharing what is REALLY hard about being with your family 24/7.
Above all remember to be mindful to connect, reflect, build strength, and identify students who need more help from your counseling teams.