Social-emotional learning is a hot topic right now and many teachers are scouring the internet for resources to support their students in this way. Social-emotional learning is defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Recently, we decided to dig into Buncee’s resources and we have found areas where this digital resource can be a great go-to for teachers beginning to look to address the many pieces that accompany a good SEL curriculum. Of course, as with anything, to go deeper into SEL it’s imperative that teachers understand their students and their specific needs. Also, although Buncee is an awesome tech tool, utilizing technology with students is always more about how you use the tool than the tool itself. We have incorporated ideas on how to use Buncee for SEL and we have used CASEL’s competencies to organize our ideas and suggestions.
CASEL defines self-awareness as the ability to, “Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.” In Stacey Johnson’s post, How confidence and Buncee go hand in hand, she showcases a young student, Sarah, who is able to use the intuitive features of Buncee to create a story. Her competence led to confidence. Very often, students may have met the curriculum expectations, but may not be able to demonstrate this knowledge effectively when given a prescribed way to do it. Whenever possible, allowing student choice will allow them to shine and show you what they know.
It is also good to help support a culture of Growth Mindset in the classroom in order to build resilience as well as self-awareness. I’m sure by now you have seen some of the fancy posters out there which showcase what students can say instead of…“I Can’t” as an example. This is a great start, but in our experience, the most effective posters are ones that students create.
In partners or small groups, students can create a Buncee with growth mindset alternatives to these fixed mindset statements:
- I can’t
- This is too hard
- I’m not good at
- I’m stuck
- I can’t work with him
- This makes me nervous
Print out their posters for more meaningful anchor charts in your classroom to which you can refer time and time again when the going gets tough.
Another option is to take time every day for students to record their feelings. Students can drag the emoji into a box to represent feelings of the day. On the next page, record a video explaining the whys and wherefores of those feelings. Taking time to reflect on feelings is a great way to practice social and emotional learning. As students get older, asking them to look for trends of activities that may be affecting their mood and planning strategies to cope with adversity is a great way to get them to reflect and be proactive. Students can update their feelings on Buncee and teachers can view each Buncee in the classroom dashboard.
CASEL defines self-management as the ability to “effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals” and Buncee can be used to help support kids with this competency.
For older students, reflecting on their device use and impulse control would be worthwhile. You can begin the lesson with this Common Sense Media video, Screen Time: How much time is too much? Students can create a Buncee with a screenshot of their usage (from their device) and a video or text reflection including answers to the following prompts:
- Are you spending more time creating or consuming media?
- How do you feel when you use your device for long periods of time?
- What is a strategy you use (or can recommend) to help your peers use their device more intentionally? [could also be the competency “responsible decision-making”]
There is also a great Common Sense Media lesson called, My media use: a personal challenge that requires students to record a personal strategy for a healthy balance of media use. Students can use Buncee to write out their strategy with accompanying visuals. You can either print these out or use Adobe Spark or another video editor to create a short class video of student strategies to share with parents or on social media (see this Tweet by Heather Preston about App Smashing here). If you subscribe to Buncee, their paid version has an embedded video recorder as well.
Social awareness refers to the ability to “understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures” A great way to do this is by using the Passport to Global Collaboration Buncee template by Linda Edwards to record connections your class has made and use Buncee for student reflections on one thing they have learned about the culture or perspective of others based on the connection. Here is a sample template we have modified.
Another idea is to use an image or Emoji (love the new Emoji books) as a provocation to create a fictional story for the emotion. It should be very short and simple. We might be tempted to ask students to respond personally, but Neil Gaiman makes the point that “Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gifts of seeing the world through their eyes”. When students can create a story about a fictional character who is sad, mad, frustrated, etc...they can better articulate the feelings as well as strategies to help that character in a way that they may not take a risk to share if it was more personal. Find an example of a Buncee with Emojis here.
According to CASEL, relationship skills are defined as “The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.” Whenever students are given the chance to proactively make plans for dealing with adversity they are better able to use that information when they get into a situation that feels difficult. Using Buncee for students to plan out these strategies and reflect on why they will be effective (in either a voiceover or text) will give them a foundation moving forward. To take it one step further, have other students give feedback on their strategies. This will give students additional ideas and tips that they may not have thought of for dealing with difficult situations.
Responsible decision-making is “The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others” according to CASEL.
An effective way to connect digital citizenship, responsible decision-making, and Buncee would be to have students re-create examples of negative social media posts they’ve seen and then rewrite the posts to have a more positive message. Then, the student can use the voiceover function in Buncee to describe why they chose the post, the effect it may have on the reader (perception and empathy), and how they chose to create a more positive message.
Another activity that addresses responsible decision-making is “Record Your Goals for This Year.” Although the current layout may be geared toward elementary, the design could easily be adjusted for older students. Asking students to create goals for themselves, plan how to meet those goals, and then reflect on the effectiveness of their plan helps them make better decisions in the future as they learn what needs to be done to reach their goals. We would recommend asking students to begin by creating short-term goals along with long-term goals so they can have successes to celebrate along the way.
The importance of supporting students in social-emotional learning and digital leadership can’t be understated. Providing students with activities that promote social-emotional health helps students develop in areas that help them grow as mentally healthy individuals and in turn, support their academics. Teaching students ways to be digital leaders online and cope with online pressures is part of their social-emotional health and wellbeing. Buncee is a tool that has the capacity to provide an engaging platform for students to practice these skills when given the opportunity and guidance. We recommend Buncee’s Ideas Lab for some great templates to get started!
Jennifer Casa-Todd is wife, mom, and a Teacher-Librarian, a former Literacy Consultant for the York Catholic District School Board, and the author of the book, Social LEADia. Jennifer is also a graduate of the MEd program at Ontario Tech University with a specialization in social media in education and digital leadership. She is currently working on a parenting book, Raising Digital Leaders and has contributed to EDWriteNow19: Challenges and Solutions for Schools, and The Fire Within. She is passionate about showing teachers and students how they can use technology and social media to make the world a better place.
Mandy Froehlich is an educator, author, speaker and consultant in the areas of innovation and educator engagement. Her first book, The Fire Within: Lessons from Defeat that have Ignited a Passion for Learning addresses educator social-emotional support. She also co-hosts Teacher’s Aid through the BAM! Radio Network on the same topic. Divergent EDU, her second book, discusses best practices in educator support for innovation through the Hierarchy of Needs for Innovative and Divergent Thinking: an organizational structure for innovation that she developed.