Tag Archives: Social Emotional Learning

  • The New, Revised Too Good For Violence - Social Perspectives High School Edition is here!

     

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    As we approach the final weeks of the school year, Too Good has some exciting news before you wrap up: the new, revised edition of Too Good for Violence – Social Perspectives is here. This program will be available the week of May 29th and is available for pre-order now.

    The new, revised Too Good For Violence - Social Perspectives High School Edition is a highly acclaimed, evidence-based program that empowers teens with the skills they need for academic, social and life success. The 10-week curriculum is proven to help educators engage students in grades 9-12 build core social-emotional competencies that foster self and social awareness. The program also teaches college and career readiness to prepare students for the challenges they will face in high school and beyond.

    A March 2017 study by the Aspen Institute and The Aspen Education & Society Program demonstrates that classroom instruction that promotes high school students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) facilitates better student outcomes on college- and career-ready (CCR) standards. Over the past several years, states have developed and adopted rigorous standards in language arts and mathematics that build toward college and career readiness by the time students graduate from high school. Nearly every state has adopted these CCR standards and the federal government has supported these state-led efforts.

    The research-based Too Good for Violence - Social Perspectives lessons help high school students build character and peer pressure refusal skills and college and career readiness. The curriculum teaches critical concepts through interactive lessons, games, and activities to practice and reinforce skills. Students are engaged in a safe and supportive learning environment that promotes social and academic success.

    So before you clear your desks for the summer, make sure you are stocked up for your fall implementation! To pre-order, visit our homepage for more information. Or, email us info@mendezfoundation.org or call 1-800-750-0986.

  • National Stress Awareness Month - Helping Our Teens Cope

    It’s April! Spring has officially sprung and National Stress Awareness Month is in full swing.

    So let’s talk about stress. As we all know, a little stress can be helpful in certain situations.  For example, when you’re competing in a contest, it’s okay to push yourself to do your best.  In this way, stress can motivate you to rise to the challenge. However, too much stress can negatively impact you mentally and physically.  That’s why it’s helpful to know how to deal with stressful situations.

    Communicating and managing stress can be difficult for teens. Teens feel academic, social, and work stress. A 2015 article published in Psychology Today and written by Sara Villanueva, Ph.D. and associate professor of psychology at St. Edwards University in Austin, TX, cites numerous factors that can contribute to teen stress. Among them are academic pressures, familial expectations, and keeping up with the fast-paced world of social media. Add in the aspects of self-discovery and the seeking of autonomy, and today’s teens are likely having a more difficult time with stress than we all first thought.

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    The good news is that Too Good has you covered.  This May, we are launching the revised edition of Too Good for Violence – Social Perspectives for High School.  Program objectives include preparing teens with stress management strategies to deal with change, conflict, and difficult situations and identifying the physical, emotional, and health related signs and symptoms of stress.

    With a series of lessons and activities promoting empathy, self-discipline, honesty, respect, and perseverance, TGFV equips teens with the coping strategies they need to increase emotional self-awareness and live their best lives.

    The more you practice managing stress, the more resilient you will be and the more confident you will be to try new things.

  • The Countdown to Red Ribbon Week Begins!

     

    Group Of Children Enjoying Drama Class Together

     

    Can you feel the excitement in the air?  Red Ribbon Week is almost here!  During October 23rd - 31st, schools and communities across the country will celebrate living a substance-free lifestyle.  Here are some fun ideas for making the most of Red Ribbon Week in your schools and communities!

     

     

    Monday: Goal for It! Talk to your students about how substance-use interferes with reaching their goals. Students can name a short-term goal they’d like to reach by the end of the week.  Display the Goal Setting Poster in your classroom to help your students track their progress.

    Tuesday: Brain Science!  Talk with students about the negative effects of substance-use on the developing brain and body and how they can protect their bodies as they grow.  Hold a short essay writing contest for students to choose and research one negative effect of substance-use on the brain or body.

    Wednesday: Bring it Home!  Parents and caregiver influence is essential to helping students stay substance-free.  Home Workouts provide great opportunities for students to share with their parents what they are learning about substance-free living.  Choose one from your Too Good toolkit to send home with students or design your own.

    Thursday: Around Town!  Students who live substance-free are positive role models in their communities.  Red Ribbon Week is a great time to encourage students to volunteer in their communities and help others see how passionate they are about making healthy decisions.

    Friday: Happy, Healthy, and Strong!  A big part of being a good friend is being a positive influence.  Students can sign a cutout handprint to put on the classroom door in a pledge to a substance-free lifestyle that will illustrate pro-social bonding.

    Looking for more?  Check out Celebrating Healthy Choices!  This one-week activity set for Grades K-5 introduces the fundamentals of social-emotional skills while building school connectedness.  Kits include everything you need to organize your school-wide events: plans and scripts for opening and closing assemblies, fully scripted fun and engaging activities, and so much more!

    However you choose to celebrate, here’s wishing you a fun and inspiring week!  Let the countdown begin!

  • Introducing Too Good for Drugs High School Revised

    AHS3901 TGFD Binder cover for web 1-16 look at any reputable study on current alcohol and drug use among youth will bring no surprise; substance use is still prevalent among teens. As children enter their teen years, they face increasingly complex challenges and influences. According to a survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 60 percent of high school students, at both public and private schools, reported drug-infected campuses. Such statistics make prevention efforts more relevant than ever.

    This week, individuals from across the nation will convene in Washington D.C. for CADCA’s 26th Annual National Leadership Forum and SAMHSA’s 12th Annual Prevention Day. Coalition leaders, prevention specialists, public health professionals, parents, and youth will join together to address the essential part prevention plays in keeping our youth substance-free.

    And on this auspicious occasion we announce with excitement our latest prevention effort: the forthcoming release of our revised Too Good for Drugs High School curriculum. The revised curriculum builds social emotional competency through fun and age appropriate lessons that foster self-awareness and social-awareness. With the help of educators, counselors, and prevention specialists, our evidence-based curriculum equips teens with the skills they need to resist negative influence that may lead to substance use, as well as prepares them for academic success that will carry over into their college and professional careers.

    Sign up today to receive program updates and news!

  • The Benefits of Responsible Decision Making

     

    Young girl in glasses, looking up

    "The time is always right to do what is right."
    - Martin Luther King Jr.

    As children grow, they face ever evolving challenges that require them to make increasingly complex decisions. For a kindergartner, this might be deciding to share a toy. For a senior in high school, this could be recognizing negative peer influence and incorporating that knowledge into their decision making. Learning to consider the positive and negative consequences of a decision is essential at any of these stages, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) identifies responsible decision making as one of the five pillars of social emotional learning. CASEL states that decision making skills can help children negotiate the following:

    Ethical Standards: By being challenged to make decisions, children evaluate and develop ethical standards that influence character building.

    Social Norms: Decision making skills that incorporate positive social norms as an influence help children navigate the difficulties of adolescence and resist peer pressure and peer influence.

    Consequences: Children with strong decision making skills can evaluate potential consequences of actions in order to determine what choice is the best option.

    By developing responsible decision making skills early on, children are prepared to face the real world challenges that will impact the course of their lives. And with those responsible decision making skills in place, children are equipped to lead happy and prosperous lives.

  • Volunteerism Encourages Social Emotional Learning

    Hands Holding VolunteerThe Holiday season is a time to be grateful for the many blessings we have in our lives. It is also a time we can help make the lives of others better. A report on National Public Radio states one in five families with children will go without enough food during the holiday season. Families, schools, and communities have an opportunity to address these needs by volunteering locally and by donating toys, food, and other goods. Children who volunteer become more aware of their own lives in relation to the lives of others. Volunteering also offers children the opportunity to develop and apply key social emotional skills.

    Social Awareness: Children exposed to and aware of the diverse backgrounds of others learn how to interact with others with respect, empathy, and open-mindedness.

    Responsible Decision-Making: Volunteering teaches children to make respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions in situations they may not have otherwise encountered.

    Relationship Skills: By listening to and interacting with the experiences of others, children learn to communicate clearly, listen actively, and respond to the needs of others.

    Social emotional skills are essential for academic, personal, and professional success. Through volunteering, children have the opportunity to better the lives of those around them and to develop skills that will lead them to lifelong success.

    All of us at the Mendez Foundation wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

  • Building School Connectedness

    Teacher Standing in Front of a Class of Raised HandsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate school connectedness as an essential ingredient to buffer youth against engaging in risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use or aggressive and violent behavior. Students who feel connected to their schools stake a claim in their learning and are therefore more likely to make healthy choices and stay on a path toward academic success. Schools, families, and communities must work together to create a caring and supportive environment for students.

    Adult Support: Parent engagement encourages positive student behavior and academic success. Schools can engage families to take part in their child’s education through interactive take-home activities or newsletters.

    Belonging to a Positive Peer Group: Students with strong social emotional skills are better equipped for positive peer bonding. Students are faced with the challenge of selecting their friends, and strong decision-making skills will help them choose positive peer groups.

    Commitment to Education: Students who have an active interest in their education are more persistent in succeeding academically. Participatory learning enhances students’ commitment to their education by keeping them interested and engaged.

    School Environment: A caring and supportive school environment fosters student learning. Students who feel they are valued are more comfortable and therefore more willing to take healthy risks as they try and learn.

    Students who are actively connected with their schools develop positive behaviors that reinforce their decisions to avoid risky behaviors and to set positive short and long term goals.  Strong social emotional skills, coupled with a supportive school climate and caring adult involvement, foster in students the resiliency they need to meet the challenges they face in childhood, adolescence, and beyond into adulthood.

  • Four Attributes of Empathy

    Puzzle pieces cute-478945508Empathy is an essential trait that aids meaningful connection with others in both our personal life and work life. Instilling empathy as a norm for children at an early age promotes the development of good character necessary in the complex social environments in education and the workplace. Numerous articles highlight and explore ways to recognize and cultivate empathy in both children and adults. One such article by Theresa Wiseman published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing is “A Concept Analysis of Empathy.” Wiseman takes a practical exploration of the mechanics of empathy and its development.

    I would walk a mile in your shoes. The first step to developing empathy for other people is to see things from another’s perspective.

    Hey! No judgement here. Once we adopt another’s point of view, we must reserve negative judgment.

    No hidden agenda. Staying as neutral as possible, we can then gain an understanding of how another feels.

    I feel you. The final step to developing empathy is to communicate the understanding we have gained. In this way, the circle of empathy is reciprocated and barriers are dissolved.

    Empathy requires two fundamental social emotional components: understanding emotions and applying effective communication. The development of these skills from a young age establishes an intrinsic capacity to connect with peers. We can encourage children along the path toward empathy by helping them identify their emotions and to recognize those emotions in others. Furthermore, children who build effective communication skills are able to have an open dialogue about their emotions and the emotions they identify in others. Ultimately it is in the affirmation of one another’s emotions that we truly connect.

  • Social Skills for the Workplace

    Young Business WomanAs technology in the workplace advances, fears that computers will soon replace people in the workforce perpetuate. However, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review reassures us that jobs highly reliant on social skills are extremely secure. In the past thirty years, job growth has predominated in occupations that require finely tuned social skills. The ability to work with others seems irreplaceable, as computers simply cannot emulate human interaction. Not yet anyway.

    Effective communication ranks right up there as a top social skill essential to success in the workplace. The earlier children learn and master these skills, the better prepared they will be as they progress through school and into their careers.

    But what is a recipe for effective communication that we can teach children? We can begin by breaking down communication into two roles: the speaker and the listener. Of course, the speaker’s goal is to effectively share information, and the listener’s goal is to effectively receive information.

    What are some qualities of a good speaker?

    Be assertive. Good speakers have a confident tone of voice.

    Pay attention to body posture. Good speakers stand up tall and sit upright.

    Make eye contact. Speakers who make eye contact show they are serious about delivering their message.

    What are some qualities of a good listener?

    Pay attention to body language. Good listeners can read a speaker’s body language to pick up on any unspoken cues.

    Lean in. Good listeners pay careful attention to what the speaker is saying.

    Ask questions. Good listeners are not afraid to ask questions to clarify what the speaker says.

    Children develop their social skills by learning these best practices in effective communication. According to the Harvard Business Review, not only is there a demand for a high level of social skills in the workplace, but people who have good social skills earn more than those who lack them. Effective communication skills foster a thoughtful and assertive approach to navigating complex social environments. Children with this higher social intelligence can ask for what they need and advocate for their goals with a sensitivity to the needs of others. Preparing children with the tools they will need in the workplace sets them on a productive path to secure their prosperous future.

  • Mendez Appears in Summer Issue of SEEN Magazine

    Charles E. Mendez III appears in the Summer Issue of SEEN Magazine with his article "Addressing Youth Violence for Safer Schools." Mendez writes, "How do we address youth violence and create sanctuary within our schools? Character education and social emotional skill development are natural adjuncts in the establishment of safe and supportive learning environments."

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