California Educator

November / December 2016

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S a c ra m e n t o . " In st e a d of g iv i n g up, they recognize they are expe- riencing an 'I'm feeling frustrated' moment and remember they have strategies to push through, even when things get tricky. SEL gives them confidence to do challenging things." SEL has created community in her classroom, fitting nicely into the Common Core style of collaboration. Before SEL there was "book hogging" during pair-share reading, and partners were not communicating well. "Now the book is in the middle, and I see partners talking about their books and sharing their favorite parts and really listening to each other." Teaching problem-solving A fifth-grader at Joyner Elementary School is having a melt- down, and Michelle Cauley speaks to him privately. "Can you tell me about your day?" she asks gently. "What are you feeling? Can you name that feeling?" The boy says he is angry because somebody was "mess- ing " with him in class. They spend a few minutes talking about anger. "It's OK to feel mad and upset," says Cauley, a licensed clinical social worker. "Feelings are fluid and can change all the time. Sometimes I wake up grumpy, and then I'm happy later on." e boy does some deep breathing, shrugs it off, and heads back to class in a much better mood. Cauley, one of six SEL facilitators with Los Angeles Unified School District, teaches children how to deal with their emo- tions by using calming techniques such as deep breathing and counting to 10. She provides professional development to edu- cators in the Second Step SEL program, which offers K-8 lesson plans and training. Cauley notices less bullying and fewer referrals to the principal's office in schools teaching SEL. When students are encouraged to be problem-solvers, they make better decisions, she says. " Whether it's a math word problem or 'I was out in the yard and he took my jump rope,' there's the same steps of assessing the situation, compromising, negotiating, prob- lem-solving, and coming to a solution ," says th e Unit ed Teachers Los Angeles member. One of six SEL facilitators with LAUSD, Michelle Cauley works with students on dealing with their emotions. 22 "KIDS SHOULD BE GET TING THESE SKILLS AT HOME, BUT THEY'RE NOT. NOW THEY ARE TEACHING SKILLS TO THEIR FAMILIES." — MICHELLE CAULEY, UNITED TEACHERS LOS ANGELES Feature

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