Coaches' Corner

December Newsletter, Volume 5

In this issue...

From the Principal's Desk

Why SEL?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), defines social emotional learning (SEL) as, “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” ( When looking closely as this definition, our ‘status quo’ system of education seems to just manage at best, or even struggle to address most components of social emotional learning. Managing student’s emotions, teaching them to show empathy for others, or having them maintain positive relationships is not often found in standardized curriculums. Granted, the importance and need for these objectives are discussed in depth, but rarely are they embedded into the curriculum and overall program structure of our educational settings.

What could this look like? Maybe an affective piece like our L.I.F.E. classes embedded into our instructional framework is a good way to address SEL. This class affords teachers many opportunities, but most importantly, affords them the opportunity to truly connect and build relationships with students. Kagan, if implemented with fidelity, is a powerful instructional tool for teaching students the need, ‘to need each other.’ In turn, they ultimately develop a sense of empathy for each other. If we are going to be serious about addressing ‘the whole child,’ and closing the ‘achievement gap,’ then we are going to have to pay attention to how we are going to address the social emotional learning of our students. SEL is just as important as any other curriculum objective.

-Mr. Colvin

Cool Tools

Purposeful Practice

Oracy in the Classroom: Strategies for Effective Talk

"What makes me enjoy talking the most," explains Milo, a Year 3 student, "is that everybody’s listened to you, and you’re part of the world, and you feel respected and important." Oracy -- the ability to speak well -- is a core pedagogy at School 21, a London-based public school.

"Speaking is a huge priority," stresses Amy Gaunt, a Year 3 teacher. "It's one of the biggest indicators of success later in life. It's important in terms of their employability as they get older. It's important in terms of wellbeing. If children aren't able to express themselves and communicate how they're feeling, they're not going to be able to be successful members of society."

Oracy is taught during assemblies and wellbeing classes, but "it's embedded into every single lesson," says Gaunt. Students use oracy techniques in the classroom, every day, in every lesson -- guided by their oracy framework -- to discuss their ideas about Ancient Greece, problem solving, and explaining their learning in maths. From forming different groupings to using talking points, learn how you can integrate strategies for effective talk in your classroom.

Click here to see how it's done...

EC Spotlight

Misunderstood Minds

Experience First Hand - simulate the experience of students with learning difficulties in Attention, Reading, Writing and Math.

Click here.

Teacher Spotlight

Mr. Spicer

Mr. Spicer is administration's teacher spotlight for December! Mr. Spicer is being highlighted for his best practices in building relationships, classroom management, and educating the "whole child." Mr. Spicer focuses on building relationships through having open discussions with his students. These open discussions are check-ins where students talk about their weekends and their weeks in review. Students get to share their concerns and help each other problem-solve. Mr. Spicer said he always asks his students, "How can we fix this? How can we make things better?"

In terms of classroom management, Mr. Spicer has a "no exceptions" approach; he establishes his expectations and does not waiver. Mr. Spicer also mentioned his 10-minute- walk strategy and Kagan teambuilding helps to keep disruptions at a minimum.

Lastly, Mr. Spicer truly has a "whole child" approach. He donates his old sneakers and athletic clothing to students. Mr. Spicer encourages the rest of the staff to donate any old athletic clothing items to help students in need.

PLT Update


  • See the calendar for your correct PLT dates!
  • See the agenda for a "heads up!"