Resources for teachers to support student engagement, anticipate student behaviors, and adjust discipline practices
Students across the country are feeling the effects of a rapidly changing world - from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on their lives and learning environments, to widespread uprisings in response to ongoing systemic racism. This guide offers topical discussion questions focused on the issues that young people have identified as priorities at this moment in time, and is designed for school, district, out-of-school time, and other community leaders or youth-supporting adults who wish to partner with young people in their communities to better understand their experiences with issues that matter to them.
Supportive School Environments for Children Traumatized by Family Violence describes how trauma can affect learning, including communication, emotional regulation, attention, and academic engagement. (See pages 22-31.)
In response to the COVID-19 health pandemic, the Michigan Department of Education has provided a number of Social Emotional Learning Resources for children and adults. The Michigan Cares Portal offers free virtual SEL lessons for K-12 students. There are many other free resources to support engagement on the learning continuum.
The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Family Engagement resource provides practical suggestions for schools to communicate with families. Districts, schools, and educators develop “authentic, equal partnership with families, rooted in a deep knowledge and appreciation for the rich social and cultural identities, assets, habits, and contexts that families bring to learning.”
NASP's Enangement and Motivation: Helping Handout for Home provides a resource for teachers to understand engagement and motivation. Student active involvement in, and commitment to, academic and social activities in their school is critical to learning, and is related to a number of important outcomes, including greater academic achievement, peer acceptance, emotional well-being, and fewer behavior problems and behaviors that pose health risks.
Michigan Pride and Wellness is an example of how a school can incorporate Wellness into their school-wide PBIS initiatives. The school used their PBIS acronym PRIDE, including the keywords, and added suggested activities for students and staff. The school also chose to introduce one part of the acronym each week and supplied 1-2 online resources for families during the stay-at-home period. This customizable resource is a great
example for the classroom.
The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations Connecting With Families tip sheet provides resources for teachers to engage with their students and families within the virtual classroom. Important considerations for teachers when connecting with families of English Language learners.
School Reentry Considerations guidance document from NASP and ASCA helps schools understand and anticipate various student behaviors when transitioning to school in the fall (page 9). Schools are encouraged to view behavior from a trauma-focused perspective and reflect on current discipline practices, implementing culturally responsive restorative practices.
Alternatives to Suspensions and Expulsions Toolkit from Michigan Department of Education
Trauma affects children’s academic performance, behavior, and relationships. Teachers may see a range of behaviors including reactivity, impulsivity, aggression, defiance, withdrawal, and perfectionism. This resource includes academic, non-academic, and relationship building strategies to support students with traumatic experiences. (See pages 32-52.)
Fix School Discipline Mini Toolkit is a resource for anyone interested in learning how to eliminate harmful discipline practices that push students out of school and address racial disparities in school discipline.
Creating Safe Spaces
Ways to create physical and psychological safety for students in the classroom.
Specific ideas that focus on the physical parts of students feeling more safe in the classroom
School wellness checklist that teachers can confidentially ask on a google form about student
health, family situation, food situation for each family, and financial situation. The form can be easily modified.
Resources and ideas for families and educators for autistic students, an ongoing resource that is updated.
How teachers can transition students back to school, from routine, structure and communication,
to harnessing self-isolation experiences to build self confidence, to planning for inclusion and
Specific ideas that help with students psychologically feeling more safe in the classroom
Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. This is also a tremendous opportunity for adults to model for children problem-solving, flexibility, and compassion as we all work through adjusting daily schedules, balancing work and other activities, getting creative about how we spend time, processing new information from authorities, and connecting and supporting friends and family members in new ways.
CASEL’s guide Leveraging the Power of Social and Emotional Learning as you prepare to reopen and renew your school, includes ideas that promote social and emotional connectedness (very specific activities for the classroom are on page 9 and 10).
Using Google forms for daily check-ins and weekly check-ins when class is virtual, with directions on how to edit the forms for own use.
Reducing the stigma associated with COVID-19 and how we can do our part in preventing the stigma, especially when we see students affected by it.
Childhood traumatic grief: Identifying grief and how can help students with traumatic grief.
Trauma informed response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Suggested School Re-entry “teachable moment” lesson that can be modified to what works best for your classroom.
Virtual Calming Room to use for students that contain sound and music , visual relaxation, guided practice, and apps.