Submitted by Laurie-Anna McRae, Social Worker
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now)
Can the ability to build skills for learning and to manage emotions improve academic and social emotional learning?
With a focus on Skills for Learning from the research based social emotional program Second Steps, the kindergarten classes at Ranch Elementary meet each week with social worker Laurie McRae, her college intern, and puppets Puppy and Snail.
The puppets find themselves in a variety of situations and settings, calling upon class members to help find solutions to problems using the Skills for Learning: "Eyes Watching," "Ears Listening," "Voice Silent" and "Body Still." Puppy and Snail have been working on their attention and focusing in the classroom, listening and following directions.
Later in the semester, the puppets will demonstrate the concept of self-talk and how the words we say silently in our heads can keep us on track and follow directions.
The end of the year will find Puppy and Snail strengthening emotional management and beginning to problem solve with less adult intervention.
Research found on the Second Steps website supports the idea that as students learn to recognize feelings and respond appropriately, manage emotions, and learn to problem solve, academics and classroom behaviors improve.