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Contributing Editor: Emily Hemingway, Director of Publications

In this digest edition, we look back at lessons learned in 2020 and ahead to the possibilities of 2021. We start by learning more about the 7,000 educators who make up our SEL Professional Association and then take a look at the most popular articles, downloadable items, and social media posts from 2020.

This issue features the first in a series of articles by Chip Wood, co-founder of Responsive Classroom and author of Yardsticks, who will help us all “grow back to school” as the educational world continues to shift. We’ll hear more from Chip in future issues.

We then revisit some of your favorite topics from 2020. Responsive Classroom Program Director Karen Poplawski writes about different approaches to educational change and how even small moments create great learning. Deanna Ross helps us be more intentional with teacher language in virtual and in-person learning environments. Lindsey Lynch and Kerry O’Grady offer suggestions for incorporating play and movement while teaching in hybrid or online environments. Ellie Cornecelli connects empathy skills to the digital world that is increasingly part of our daily lives. Caltha Crowe, the author of How to Bullyproof Your Classroom, answers questions about preventing bullying and creating equity in classrooms. Finally, Lisa Dewey Wells shares five steps for self-care and rejuvenation. Throughout the issue, you will find downloadable tips, ideas, and ready-to-use lesson plans, including SEL connections you can use with our Avenue A picture books and graphic novels.

May the new year bring hope and joy to your homes and classrooms!

Articles in this Issue:

Getting to Know Our Members

Center for Responsive Schools created its Social and Emotional Learning Professional Association to bring together a diverse group of educators focused on building knowledge and having conversations around SEL practices. The only professional organization for SEL, our membership has spread around the world and is still growing.

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Learning Together: Communicating and Adapting Through Changes

We looked back through the past year of Journal of Social and Emotional Learning and the conversations we’ve had with each other on social media to see what you have been focused on over the course of 2020. Our most popular journal articles, downloads, and social media posts show that our followers have been busy…

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Growing Back to School: Challenges and Opportunities

Growing Back to School Over the course of the next several months, I look forward to sharing some key teaching tips, strategies, and interventions that I believe will be helpful to the challenging work ahead and to opening learning opportunities for you and your students. In this first installment, I want to briefly address the…

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Teacher Language to Support Distance Learning

Communicating effectively with students can be a challenge for teachers, even in the best of times, and with current circumstances requiring many schools to teach remotely, it adds a new layer of complexity to this communication. But it can also provide a unique opportunity: Online teaching and learning parallels the first weeks of school, when…

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Importance of Play and Movement in Distance Learning

Incorporating play and movement into learning is a sound, developmentally responsive teaching practice that is critical for learners of all ages. Infusing the school day with movement and activity is essential for effective teaching under normal circumstances, and perhaps even more vital as teachers pivot to facilitate student engagement in distance learning. Regardless of the…

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Tying Empathy to Digital Responsibility

From an early age, children learn the basics of good citizenship from parents and teachers. They are taught the fundamentals, including good manners, taking turns, using kind words, caring for others, sharing, and respecting cultural norms. Since the advent of the Internet, though, a new aspect of citizenship has emerged: Social media. Existing outside the…

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Avenue A Books Lesson Plans

As a teacher, you are naturally adept at adjusting your lessons to meet the needs of your students on a daily basis. Since the spring of 2020, though, many educators have had to go beyond just a slight modification and make a transition from in-person classroom communities to virtual classrooms and distance learning. Social and…

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Preventing Bullying and Creating Equity

Caltha Crowe is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher and author of How to Bullyproof Your Classroom, Solving Thorny Behaviors Problems, and Sammy and His Behavior Problems. Before the pandemic, she volunteered at New Horizons, a multicultural and multilingual parent cooperative preschool whose motto is “Playgrounds without borders.” We wanted to draw on her experience and…

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Five Steps to Rejuvenate Now & Build Habits for the School Year

There is no doubt that the pandemic has has challenged all of us. It’s a circumstance most of us have never had to face, and the uncertainties that came with it proved stressful to many. You may have had to quickly learn a new digital platform or better understand features of an existing platform. You…

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