SEL in Action at Home

October 2020 - Welcoming Environments at Home

Welcome to the inaugural SEL in Action at Home newsletter for Dallas ISD families!

We recognize that you (parents and caregivers) are our students’ first teachers. With this in mind, we are excited to partner with you to share in the Social and Emotional (SEL) journey of our children as they become kind, empathetic, and caring adults. To help achieve these goals and help our students build their social and emotional skills, we are pleased to share information, tips, resources, and tools to help bridge SEL in the classroom with SEL at home.

In this edition of the SEL in Action at Home newsletter, we focus on Welcoming Environments. In the classroom, welcoming environments help foster strong relationships between teachers and students as well as between students. Classroom culture is essential in fostering a sense of safety and belonging. We are happy to introduce the same activities and strategies used in the classroom in a way that can be used at home as well. Connecting these strategies at home will encourage conversation and collaboration as they address the SEL needs of our children.

We hope that you enjoy the information and resources and look forward to your feedback.

Family Treatment Agreement

A Family Treatment Agreement is a simple yet powerful tool to encourage family conversations and set behavior expectations and roles for family members. Family Treatment Agreements are especially useful as families balance work and school in unprecedented times. In the classroom, similar agreements are utilized. Students and teachers discuss and agree as a group what appropriate treatment should look like, student to student, student to teacher, and teacher to student. In the home, children and parents/caregivers discuss and agree as a family what appropriate treatment should look like between child to parent, parent to child, and sibling to sibling or family to home. Below is a video all about the Family Treatment Agreements.
Family Treatment Agreement
Family Treatment Agreement

Visit the SEL Department's Family Treatment Agreement page to learn more about prompting questions for your family, printable templates, SEL Competencies, tips and suggestions, and additional resources.

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Mood Meter at Home

How are you feeling? How are you feeling right at this moment? How are the people in your family feeling? Experiencing multiple emotions is normal, and when we are in the midst of tumultuous times, these feelings intensify. In your child's classroom, they have been introduced to a Mood Meter. Using the Mood Meter at home is a great start for family conversations around feelings that help build emotional skills.

The Mood Meter is a tool for building self-awareness, the ability to identify emotions, as well as awareness of the feelings of others. You plot your feelings using the two axes, pleasantness, and energy. You're able to take a look and say, "I feel very intensely pleasant. I'm really feeling pleasant now and I have a lot of energy about it". This would place your feelings in the yellow section.

While you have breakfast or before you leave for school ask your child where he/she finds themselves on the meter and share your own feelings. Then, when they return from school ask them again to plot their position on the Mood Meter. Check-in again in the evening at dinner or before bed. Remember that while some emotions may be uncomfortable, there are no ‘bad’ emotions, all feelings are ok!

Visit the link below for additional tools and resources.

Mood Meter at Home

Visit the SEL Department's Mood Meter at Home page to learn more about, SEL Competencies, tips and suggestions, and additional resources.

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Creating a Calming Area at Home

A Calming Area is a quiet area in your home equipped with soothing materials and furnishings to help children, of all ages, calm down and regulate big emotions like stress, anxiety, or sadness.

Becoming and remaining calm during big emotions is an important and learned life skill. When we experience these big emotions our amygdala, the part of our brain that moderates our emotions, goes into overdrive. Our pre-frontal cortex, the good decision-making part of our brain is taken over. Our brain activates a fight, flight, or freeze response limiting logic and reasoning.

It is important to introduce your child to the Calming Area for the first time when they are calm. Discuss the expectations when in the Calming Area and model how to use the tools. This area is neither a play area nor a form of punishment. When your child shows signs of BIG emotions, direct him/her to the Calming Area to re-center their emotions. Your child should be encouraged to use whatever tool they feel will help them best manage their emotions.

A designated Calming Area provides a safe place to physically and mentally release and regulate big emotions. The Calming Area should be cozy and soothing for your child to spend time in. It doesn't have to be fancy, just inviting.

Visit the link below for additional tools and resources.

Creating A Calming Area at Home

Visit the SEL Department's Calming Area at Home website to find out what to include in your Calming Area, SEL Competencies, Examples of Calming Boxes created by Dallas ISD students, and additional resources.

Share your story!

Did you try one of these Social and Emotional Learning strategies at home? Send us your story, picture, or video!