“Blurters” 4: Social-Emotional Concepts and Skills

This is post 4 of 5 that focus on strategies for supporting children who “call out”.

Teach the concepts and skills needed for social-emotional development, including stretching awareness of self and others. Keep in mind that young children are often co-regulated (by another person) and are just starting to self-regulate at times.

Michelle Garcia Winner has a Social Thinking Curriculum which is useful because the concepts are taught explicitly.

Perspective Taking/Theory of Mind

Michelle Garcia-Winner has a little kit called “We Thinkers” which might be useful. It is meant for elementary students. You can learn more about how Garcia-Winner views the development of perspective here.

Expected and Unexpected

You could label things that are “expected” and “unexpected”. You can read more about teaching these concepts here. Just like labeling emotions for children who are just learning. For example, “Oh, you are crying. You look sad.”

Labeling things that are surprising for students helps them to learn. For example,

“Oh, that made me laugh. I thought [this] was going to happen and then [this] happened! That was unexpected!”

A Cautionary Note: Teaching “expected and unexpected” concepts moves students toward awareness of their thoughts and expectations and how they match up with what actually happens. Using these concepts as a disciplinary tool is counterproductive.  I was so disappointed to go onto Pinterest and see that so many school rules were translated into “expected” and “unexpected” behaviour, with the unexpected behaviour painted as inappropriate or bad.  Some of the most beautiful moments in a school day occur when a child surprises a classmate by sharing something, invites another to play, or says unsolicited words of kindness and encouragement. Many times unexpected things are good! Read this learning story with your class. Read more here.

Growth Mindset

Considering “mistakes” as part of how we grow is a powerful way to avoid getting stuck and discouraged. There are so many resources now available for teaching a Growth Mindset and the power of “YET”. This site has some good ideas for preschool and Kindergarten children. There are also some amazing videos and read alouds that really help young children to understand the power in being a learner.

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