Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools


How to Create Community in a Virtual Classroom

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Summary:  This article provides some suggestions as to how to build community while learning remotely.  Some of the same activities that would be used in face-to-face learning can also be adapted to online learning.  Some examples include using cyber icebreakers, creating classroom rules and procedures, creating class traditions, doing collaborative projects, and  maintaining individual relationships.

Source:  Susan Yergler, Edutopia, August 17, 2020

The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged—Even From Home

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Summary:  This article talks about student engagement in online learning and the importance of the science of motivation.  The authors focus on creating a sense of belonging, connecting work to purpose and relevance, and hard work, failure, and mindset.

Source:  Ian Kelleher and Chris Hulleman, Edutopia, August 21, 2020

8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom

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Summary:  This article suggests both synchronous and asynchronous strategies that teachers can use to engage students during virtual learning.  These strategies include such ideas as using Zoom Chat for student responses, breakout rooms for small-group instruction, and other ideas for asynchronous instruction.

Source:  Emelino Minero, Edutopia, August 21, 2020

Lessons in Leadership: Principal Prioritizes Equity, Preparing Students for World Beyond West Philadelphia

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Summary:  This is an interview with Richard Gordon, a high school principal in West Philadelphia, who has won many accolades for his leadership.  He comments on the importance of community partnerships and involvement in helping schools meet the needs of its students. He goes on to comment on his focus on equity and how it is preparing students for life beyond schooling.

Source:  Roger Riddell, Education DIVE, August 25, 2020

7 Ways to Embed Character Development Virtually

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Summary:  This article from, provides several tips to help develop character while teaching virtually. These tips concern self-care, inspiration, goal setting, problem-based learning, journaling, involving parents and families, and leading peers and colleagues.

Source:  Arthur Schwartz, President,, August 27, 2020

Help Students Process COVID-19 Emotions With This Lesson Plan

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Summary:  Research has shown that one of the ways students can process their concerns and emotions over the COVID-19 Pandemic is through the arts.  This article suggests a lesson plan called “Turn Off the News” which is based on a song of the same name by Lukas Nelson, son of the legendary singer, Willie Nelson.  A set of questions will help students react to two different versions of this song,  Finally, students are encouraged to create their own version of the song.

Source:  Dr. Maurice Elias, Greater Good Magazine, August 14, 2020

Tips for Balancing Work and Life While Teaching Remotely

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Summary:  This article underscores the importance of self-care for teachers during online instruction. The article offers five tips for retaining life-work balance not only in the classroom, but during online learning whether it is full-time or during a hybrid schedule.

Source:  Madeline Will, Education Week, July 21, 2020

Reunite, Renew, and Thrive: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School

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Summary:  This document from CASEL provides a road map with suggested steps and activities to help schools navigate their way back to school in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  There are four suggested critical practices each with a set of steps for reopening schools.

Source:  CASEL, July 2020.

New Jersey First in Nation to Provide Educators with Social and Emotional Framework tied to Arts Education

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Summary:  This article reports on the newly adopted Framework for SEL and the Arts.  While core competencies for SEL had been adopted by New Jersey in 2017, the SEL and Arts Education Taskforce convened by SEL4NJ and Arts Ed NJ, dedicated 18 months to create a framework designed to illuminate the intersection between arts education and social-emotional learning.

Source:  New Jersey Stage, June 16, 2020

How CDC Guidance Could Shape What Back-to-School Looks Like in the COVID-19 Era

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Summary:  This article discusses the content of the voluntary CDC Guidelines for re-opening schools.  The scenarios presented have an impact on every aspect of schooling, presenting challenges to educators when planning for a safe re-opening of schools.

Source:  Evie Blad, Education Week, May 29, 2020