Please take a moment to be inspired! Click on the above link to watch a video at http://www.mindful.org
This video, 5 Keys to Social-Emotional Learning Success, was shared from Edutopia’s YouTube channel. I thought this video would be helpful in understanding SEL.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is happening in the U.S., China, the UK, and Singapore! Some of my friends get excited about new technology, some get excited about new fashion trends, others get excited about the latest music…I get excited about social-emotional learning!!!
Validated by research, social-emotional learning is shown to enhance academic success as it actually reduces stress levels in that pursuit. It prevents negative behaviors and gives students the “soft skills” they will need to flourish in today’s work environments. It also promotes positive relationships and attitudes about school, and in general.
Studies with toddlers show that we really are “born to be good”. In his book Born to Be Good, UC Berkeley professor (and Greater Good Science Center Director) Dacher Keltner discusses our natural tendency to be good. Keltner makes the case based on research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience that we are also wired for good. More specifically, he looks at the science of emotions and how positive emotions such as compassion and awe are contagious—and help to bring out the good not only in ourselves, but in others as well. (Taken from: Social-Emotional Learning: Why Now? by: Vicki Zakrzewski Ph.D.)
SEL cultivates our self-awareness. Focusing on understanding our emotions, positive and negative, to help us navigate the classroom, workplace, our relationships and the decisions we make in life.
Again (if you are a regular here at “My Happy”), positive emotions such as gratitude, tranquility, love and joy expand our hearts and minds which helps us to share and connect with the people in our lives and increase our learning potential. Also, as I have previously mentioned, there are times everyone experiences negative emotions and difficult experiences, however, our children will be better equipped to handle those times with this kind of learning.
I have created an SEL page where I have taken information from various sources to explain what SEL is and why it should be a priority in our homes, schools and communities. I also included websites where you can find more information. Take a look at the Social and Emotional Learning Page to learn more about it.
I would love to hear about what you think! You can write a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking for a special gift for someone you love? “Cloud of Love” is something I did with my kids for birthday gifts in our family. I thought you might like the idea for the holidays. For those of you who might not know, Clouds are groups of words showing categories viewed on blogs, websites, and other social media. This “Cloud” though, is created of reasons why you love your special someone.
The title of the “Cloud” can include the person’s age. For example, 60 Reasons We Love Mimi. I chose to use the person’s age to determine how many reasons are used. You can choose to do the same or another number that is meaningful to you. List reasons using different sizes, colors, even fonts, if you are computer savvy or simply use paper with crayons, markers, or pens.
Once you have created your cloud, it could be framed or placed in the front of a photo album (They still make these, right?). You could also include pictures of the person with you or your children. I have given a partial example below. (There are not 60 reasons in the example. It gives you the idea, though.) I also included it as a document link. I think you could use it as a template, please let me know if you try it. 🙂
Thanks for watching my video post about:
Did you know libraries have many fun activities for children, whether it is a story time, a puppet show, or a visit from the “Whale Mobile”? Don’t be shy! Check out your town and surrounding town library websites to learn more. It is a great place to meet new friends and of course, find great books!
Have a happy day!
Everywhere there are acts of kindness taking place. Our local channel for children has a kindest kid contest, teachers have kindness walls, counselors are telling of kindness as the key to successful relationships, I want to bring your attention to one of the most important ways to be kind that you might be missing.
I’m sure you are kind to your children or children you care for, I’m sure you are kind to your husband, wife, extended family, friends, colleagues, church groups, sales clerks, and I could go on. My question is, are you kind to yourself?
You are a very important person in your life, you are your first best friend, have you appreciated yourself lately? Are you chuckling to yourself right now reading this? I hope it is because you know I am right! It is called self-compassion. Be sure to take time to nurture yourself, create your happiness (of course, I had to say that), take a break, smell the roses, and appreciate yourself. We tend to be our own worse critics. We will judge ourselves where we wouldn’t judge or criticize another. This is a current area of research because so many of us have difficulty with this. However you treat and see yourself, others will too.
This is especially important if you do have children. Your children will learn about self-compassion by the example that you set. I discovered inspiring books for my children by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer which help them to understand self compassion, self-awareness and improve their self-confidence. Dr. Dyer wrote “Incredible You” and “Unstoppable Me”, among others. These, like many children’s books, are wonderful to read over and over throughout your children’s childhood. Because my children liked these books, I looked for another. I then found, “No Excuses!”
“No Excuses!” is a story of a young boy who loved sea turtles and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. My oldest son and I refer to this book often as a reminder to stay focused on our goals. The first time I read this with my son, I learned a lesson myself!
Dr. Dyer writes this story to increase children’s understanding of what excuses are, where they come from and not to let excuses stand in the way of their dreams. I had never really thought about my own excuses in the way he described. At the end of this book I noticed that Dr. Dyer had written a more in-depth book for adults titled “EXCUSES BEGONE!” How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits. Got it, read it, and I would recommend it, if you find yourself holding back because of excuses. This was where I first realized how strong our mindsets are but, how possible it is to change them. When I asked my children to believe in themselves that they can do anything with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking….why was I not telling myself the same?
I hope YOU know that with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking you can do anything! Are you telling yourself the same? Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t let your excuses stand in the way of reaching your goals, big or small. 🙂
My hope is to pleasantly surprise, not confuse. Creating happiness is unique to you, but there are some things we all need to focus on. Even if you might not think this is important to you, I hope to change your mind by the end of the post.
As I was saying in my “Back to School For You” post, I found myself reflecting on my life and trying to get back to things I used to enjoy. One of those things for me was beauty, style, and fashion. I wondered why my style and fashion sense seemed to have escaped me. Rarely did I get a chance to watch t.v., however this one particular morning I grabbed a laundry folding chance to watch a morning show. I happen to catch Bobbie Thomas being interviewed about her new book (at that time) “The Power of Style”. I decided to buy it that morning. What I got was so much more than makeup and fashion tips.
“Style is the way we speak to the world without words.” Bobbie further explains how important it is that we really understand ourselves inside and out. Her first career began as she pursued graduate studies in marriage, family, and child counseling. She begins the book by explaining the significance of our feelings and view of ourselves. She writes how women (in particular) tend to look in mirrors and focus on the flaws instead of appreciating the beauty. Focusing on flaws leads to feeling sorry for yourself which usually leads us to lifting our spirits with sweets and treats (not a healthy coping skill). On the other hand when people feel great they are motivated to take care of themselves which leads to confidence and self awareness which strengthens us to make the changes in our lives that we need to make.
This is so similar to the point Shawn Achor makes in “The Happiness Advantage” regarding the importance for us to try to focus on the positives. In both instances we need to focus on both the positives occurring in our lives and about ourselves. I would like to address the negatives here. There are experiences in our lives that are negative which do need our attention and respect. In that you don’t want to deny some of the happenings in your life because they are sad or frustrating. There are moments you need to feel the sadness or the anger, but don’t allow it to be the only thing you can think about. Also, help yourself move through it without it always casting a shadow on your present.
Back to “The Power of Style”. Bobbie includes simple strategies, like leaving yourself a sticky note with inspiration where you will see it daily. I liked this idea of writing song lyrics, quotes, or a simple reminder to smile. Remember the simple act of smiling sends chemicals to our brain which help us to feel good? She included a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. This quote is one of my favorites and it turned up in my life again, very randomly, on a magnet which is now on my fridge. I try to live that one.
She also very genuinely and honestly reveals that the reflections in our lives don’t just come from mirrors, but from the people around us. The people in our lives reflect back what they see in us, sometimes accurately and sometimes inaccurately. Just like those fun house mirrors, people in your life who might be concave or convex themselves, may reflect back their own imperfect idea of you. It is important to take in what the people in your lives reflect back to you. Once I began to do this and really listen, I usually found something about myself I could work on and improve. This, I think, helped my relationships. Of course, there have been times when I knew the reflection was not accurate, then I took time to figure out whether to work on that relationship or let it go. Surround yourself with positive people who see you and reflect back your true self.
To be continued…..
Michelle Garcia Winner, MS, CCC-SLP is the founder of the concept of teaching “Social Thinking” to promote social skills and the author of several books related to the subject. She is also a national and international speaker on Social Thinking. Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP is a faculty member of San Jose State University and is interested in treatment research related to children and adults with social cognitive challenges. Together they wrote the book I will present in the video below. I have used this book and felt that it would be helpful for all children, beginning at a young age. This is such a wonderful approach to teaching social skills because it is POSITIVE and empowering to all children. There are many books and materials regarding social thinking that I will also be sharing.
Happiness for our children includes feeling comfortable in the world around them. Discipline comes from the Latin word “disciplinare” which means to teach. As parents we are our children’s first teachers. It is important to teach social thinking beginning at a young age. There is no question that everyone can benefit from being taught social thinking! This is such a positive approach to addressing your own child’s behaviors, giving your child an understanding of how their behavior affects other people, or how other people’s behavior affects them. Also, it teaches that social smarts are just as important as academic smarts!
Hopefully, I have sparked your interest to watch the video as I explain “You are a Social Detective!” written by: Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke, Illustrated by: Kelly Knopp
Thank you for watching the video. I hope you see how useful this book can be with teaching children about social thinking. If used in the home, children will have a better understanding of social thinking as they begin school and for the years to come. This book and others like it should be read to the child repeatedly. This will increase their understanding and they will be able to use what they learn from it. This is not an answer to all social learning needs of our children, I think it is one step in the right direction. The website to view this book and learn more about Social Thinking is http://www.socialthinking.com
Thanks again for watching and have a happy day!
“Back to School” for You
Whether you have children, you help to encourage someone else’s, or you are in school use your positivity and growth mindset (see Happiness Page)! Instead of focusing on their/your intelligence, try to focus on efforts, tenacity, resilience, taking risks, creativity, and share in their joy from learning new things or appreciate your own joy from learning!
Jump on board and learn something new as well. Yes, I am sure you all learn new things at your work, school, or with your families, however, when is the last time you chose to learn something new or spark an old interest simply because you would like to? Maybe a new language, an instrument, singing, dancing, a sport, or blogging? If your first response to this is an excuse…… I know what you are thinking. I am too old, it will cost too much, my family wouldn’t want me to. Well, these are just excuses that hold you back. If you are thinking one of these excuses, ask yourself if it is really true. Most likely they aren’t or it is something you can change or find a way around. I discovered I used excuses this way by reading a children’s book to my son by Dr. Wayne Dyer, “No Excuses”.
I myself realized cooking helps me to cope with stress and sadness. I had many other reasons behind taking a Culinary Arts 101 class for myself last fall. A few being I really enjoy cooking, it helps me to unwind, be creative, be kind, and strengthen relationships. What I grew to realize, after taking the class was that it was a great way to meet new people with similar interests, it inspired my children to cook and try new things, helped me to gain more confidence to cook and share my cooking, accomplished a goal which boosted my self-esteem to tackle even more new goals! How I appreciate the teacher, Chef Pat, a long time chef and restaurant owner, the other aspiring cooks who were so kind and supportive, the babysitters who cared for my children, my husband and children for encouraging and supporting me, and my one daring friend, Danielle, who came to the class with me! Wow! All from a 10 week cooking class!
Start small and don’t stop. I became focused on this for myself when I decided to reflect on the things I enjoyed before becoming a mom. I LOVE being a mom, however, I wanted to keep some balance in my life and to lead by example. I then went to one of my favorite spots on the internet and searched YouTube for interests I previously had more time for. One video at a time I began to learn new things, have a little me time and fun. That led to the cooking class, followed by developing a new exercise routine, followed by learning how to blog and I am still learning how to blog! Thanks for your patience!
I hope that this post has inspired you to revisit an old interest or to tackle a new one! Think you can and you will! Remember, start small. This is a strategy known as “baby steps”. If you are successful with small goals, you will gain confidence to tackle bigger ones. I feel strongly that having a growth mindset (see Happiness Page) and focusing on the positives for ourselves and others, especially our children will lead to much happiness. Again, I hope that I have inspired you to learn new interests or revisit past interests so that you may have balance in your life, lead by example, and of course, be happy!
This is a quick post because I did get a few comments from an interested reader. When I receive a comment, it is in a place where I can read it first, before it can be allowed onto my blog. Some of these comments were placed in a spam section. I did not want to allow or respond directly because WordPress advises on what they think is spam or uncertain origin. I am posting this response because I think other folks would be interested as well. Thanks reader from London! Her main question, that I can answer, is how did I get started blogging?
I simply found WordPress.com through a good friend. WordPress has tutorials and walkthroughs to help you get started. It is also free! If you want to become a more involved blogger you can pay to upgrade. It is great because either way WordPress also offers you support.
I also had been following blogs and one blog writer that I follow http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com (Kate) wrote a section on her blog explaining all the ins and outs of blogging. Please check out her blog for that section and so much more! One of my favorites!
Hope this helps and thanks again for being a “My Happy” reader!