If you teach elementary children, read Kids 1st From Day One. Don't wait until your next break. Read it now. It is literally life-changing. I should probably reread certain sections of it before going to bed each night until the ideas become second nature. It's that good.
Read this short post, Life After Clip Charts, by Kristine Mraz, co-author of the book you're going to read soon. I've never used clip charts, yet found this post to be another text that needs to be part of my nightly reading. She's challenged me to think about what I believe and to look closely at the practices that simply don't match up. Ouch.
Read this post, Three Essential Social-Emotional Practices for the New School Year, by Christine Hertz, also co-author of your future favorite book ever. This post is meant to follow up Kristine Mraz's post, so do read them in order. It's enlightening, practical, and necessary and is already affecting my lesson plans for Tuesday.
The first of Christine Hertz' three essential social-emotional practices is how to build awareness in our students of their social-emotional needs. The first step to building awareness is teaching children about their brains. She refers to Daniel Siegal's hand model. In Kids 1st From Day One, Kristine and Christine also talk about Siegal's analogy of the upstairs and downstairs brain. Both the hand model and brain analogy are concepts I want my students to know and understand sooner than later. So I've written two mini-lessons based on the resources mentioned. I want to offer them to you here. I'm not sharing because I think they're all that great. I haven't even taught them yet, and they're likely to need revision. I'm sharing because I think Kristine and Christine's work needs to influence more people. Period.
These two teachers and authors understand children in a way that inspires me. I'm humbled by their work and can only hope that my practice develops as a result of their influence. Please do take the time to seek out their wisdom. I think you will find their thoughts enlightening and worth your while.