Circles, Community, Check-ins. Helping Youth to Move Forward.

As we move farther away from the start of the pandemic, we can begin to see all of the unexpected effects. One of the greatest changes has been the perceived decline in soft skills like self confidence, conflict resolution and academic persistence (often referred to as motivation). The social and academic isolation caused by the pandemic took away important opportunities for students (and adults) to practice their social skills in face to face situations. As a result, many students’ social skills have become rusty. However, all hope is not lost! Young people are smart, resilient, and when they feel strongly about something they will work hard for it. 

All youth are motivated, even the ones who are motivated to do nothing.  Our job is to figure out how to direct and sometimes redirect their motivation."

Jim Still-Pepper, Director of Community-Based Clinical Services at Allwell Behavioral Health Center in Zanesville, Ohio

Educators and out-of-school time professionals regularly state that the practices which previously had a high success rate, now have little to no success. Collectively, they tell us they are feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Overcoming this challenge of the pandemic takes a new way of thinking, teaching, and communicating with young people. Now more than ever, social emotional learning (SEL) must be prioritized at the same level of importance as academic instruction. Learning is a social process that involves collaboration, communication, and support among students, their peers, teachers, and families. We must help young people build (or rebuild) healthy social practices with their teachers and their peers again before we can expect academic success. 

YouthThruthSurvey.org took over 10,000 comments left by high school students that were surveyed in October and November of 2021. When asked about their social life and friends, many students spoke up about feeling lonely, struggling to converse with their peers, and wishing for more chances to interact with people. One student said “I felt a bit lonely during school last year… I know that sitting next to good friends would probably lower productivity as people talk, but I would feel a lot more excited going to school”  Another student said “I see a lot of people by themselves and I want to go up to them and be friends with them but I have nothing to converse about.” The comments are very powerful and give great insight into how young people are really feeling. 

SEL skills help us gain empathy for our peers, understand our own emotions, and the emotions of those around us (njea.org). Our school and out-of-school partners share that with busy days, packed academic schedules, and too little time, it is hard to find SEL practices appropriate for the youth they serve. So the EnvisionEdPlus team compiled a list of ways to help you continue moving your students forward. Together we can learn, grow, and welcome change for a better future. 

  1. Give opportunities for students and teachers to get to know each other again. SEL strategies like circles can create a safe area for community building. – Dr. Thomie Timmons
  2. Give students opportunities to engage content in an authentic way that lets them explore academic competencies. Deeper learning experiences like problem based learning connected to community partners in instruction to solve real world problems. – Dr. Thomie Timmons
  3. Check ins and check outs are a great way to understand how students and the class as a whole felt about the content and how the class went for the day. For younger students, this has been shown to be a great way to help them avoid problematic behavior and it adds supportive structure to their day. – k12engagement.unl.edu
  4. Give students time to brainstorm ways they can motivate themselves. Instead of trying to pinpoint what motivates each student, just ask them. – Casel.org
  5. Promote the idea of growing and changing. For many youth, they don’t have the life experience to understand that where they are now isn’t where they will be forever. By encouraging the idea of change you can foster a growth mindset and allow them to become motivated by change. – nbpts.org

With so many personalities, backgrounds, and goals within one classroom it can be hard to encourage everyone at once. But being affable and trusting to the youth you work with is the first step in being supportive along their way to success. 

Our Courses

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Image Course Description Price Created On Last Updated On categories_ID
Supporting Families (Level 1) Consider the differences between engaging and supporting eight types of parents or family members you might encounter. Reflect on your past experiences with each of those types. Create and implement an action plan to improve your support for families who need it. 0.00 2020/07/17 2022/03/24 6
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 1) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of STEAM integration (design thinking) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. Two “office hours” will be available to chat with the instructor and others enrolled in this course. 0.00 2021/01/09 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 1) The brain is constantly changing and molding in response to the environment. These changes impact student learning. This is especially true in terms of trauma. This training is designed to help participants learn what goes on in the brain and how they can set up a learning environment for each of the students in their class. 0.00 2021/01/30 2022/03/24 4
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 2) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of Problem Based Learning(PBL) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
High Quality Literacy Instruction (Level 1 & 2) Core content includes an overview of Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement, evidence-based literacy practices, and resources and tools for literacy instruction. Participants will create, implement and improve two classroom-based literacy strategies (in-person, blended or remote). 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
Supporting Families (Level 2) In Engaging Families Through Support - Level 1, you learned about eight types of parents/caregivers and reflected on your past experiences with each type, culminating in a plan to better engage specific types as partners in their children's education. During this 8-hour asynchronous course you will delve deeper in your understanding of the eight types of parents/caregivers by speaking with individual family members you work with, discovering what they need from you and your program, and implementing an action plan informed by the actual families you serve. Doing so will give you sustainable skills and strategies to build stronger family engagement year after year. 0.00 2021/03/07 2022/03/30 6
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 1) Differentiation is effective instruction that is responsive to the learner’s preferences, interests and their readiness. It could be explained as a framework for thinking about your teaching and your student’s learning. This course discusses differentiation as an effective teaching tool. Included are many resources and strategies to help meet the learning needs of each student. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies and resources to adapt lessons to meet the needs of each student in their classrooms. 0.00 2021/03/18 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 2) This course gives an advanced understanding of the brain. including differences between “active” and “relational” based brains, trauma-related behaviors, and strategies to reach and teach trauma-impacted students so that they can re-engage in learning. Participants will learn about the range of thinking that a brain does, explore how students fit into the range of thinking, and discover healthy ways of engaging the full range of thinking. 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 4
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 2) This 8-hour, self-paced course is facilitated by Laurie Trotter, an EnvisionEdPlus Instructional Specialist. The course explores advanced differentiation as an effective instructional method that is responsive to the learner’s preferences and interests. Create, implement, and improve a lesson plan to engage all learners. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies, and resources to be able to be proficient in starting to adapt lessons to meet all needs of students in their classroom. Prerequisite: Differentiated and Engaged Instruction (Bronze Badge). 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 5
Creativity Belongs in the Classroom (Level 1) Encourage lifelong learning, improve focus, reduce anxiety and enhance thinking in your classroom or program. Creativity is a learned and trained process for getting the most out of higher level thinking and problem solving of your students. Learn how to embed creativity easily into your lessons, using strategies that will help unlock your students ability to be innovative thinkers and problem solvers. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with youth and also satisfies the HQPD Gifted competencies of A, B, and D. 0.00 2022/01/14 2022/04/10 5

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