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Using StickTogether To Foster Student Social And Emotional Learning

By: Carolyn Curtis, EdD, LCSW
Dr. Carolyn Curtis is a school social worker and a part-time lecturer. Her work focuses on improving the well-being and mental health of students in schools.

While educators are hopefully taking some time this summer for much needed self-care given the challenges of this past school-year, we know that many of you are already thinking about how to plan for a successful return to school in the fall to best support your students’ social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. StickTogether’s standard kits, and new Limited Edition Resilience Series, provides the perfect opportunity to promote student well-being and have students engage in an activity that improves their self-management, relationship skills, and self-awareness. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on many of our students from the loss of loved ones, loss of social connections, and loss of the everyday life and routines they once knew. Understandably many educators are concerned about what next year will be like for students. Researchers found that many students made little academic progress while learning from home, with learning losses equivalent to one-fifth of the school year or more with longer periods of remote learning. Remote learning also has had a negative impact on students’ social-emotional development, particularly for middle school students. Social isolation has been found to increase depression and anxiety in students, having a lasting effect for up to nine years. Given the academic regressions, concerns over lags in social emotional development, and increase in mental health struggles of students, educators will need to rely on social emotional learning activities even more than ever to help students have a successful school year, and one such activity is the use of StickTogether’s kits.

StickTogether’s standard kits, and the Limited Edition Resilience Series, brings students together in a collaborative activity that improves student self-management, relationship skills, and self-awareness. This inclusive activity, similar to a paint-by-numbers but with the use of stickers, has students creating a poster as a group. The Limited Edition Resilience Series, created for the Fall 2021, includes an inspirational message that can be hung in the classroom for the entire year as a reminder of the power of working together to accomplish a shared goal and developing a motivational theme for the school year. Using three of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) core competencies, StickTogether’s Resilience Series helps promote social emotional learning which can lead to improved academic outcomes, student behaviors, and student well-being.

Self-Management

With concerns over increased mental health challenges and lags in social-emotional development, many students might struggle with their self-management and emotional regulation returning to schools in the fall. Some students might experience intense anxiety over being in an in-person classroom again, while others might have difficulties managing their behaviors in the classroom. StickTogether’s posters act as a mindfulness activity to help ground students, fostering self-control and emotional regulation. This activity can be completed as a group, having students improve their interpersonal skills and learn how to modulate their behaviors in a group setting, or students who might be feeling dysregulated can work on the poster to manage their emotions without having to leave the classroom. StickTogether’s kits help improve students’ self-management through helping students manage their emotions, develop healthy stress management strategies, set personal or collective goals, and use planning and organizational skills to accomplish the task of making the poster.

Relationship Skills

During remote learning and social distancing, students missed out on typical opportunities to engage with their peers and might exhibit some deficits in relationship skills as they return to the classroom. Using StickTogether’s Sticker Mosaic Posters as a collaborative activity, students can foster their relationship skills as they form supportive connections with their classmates and learn how to interact with diverse individuals. By working on a shared task, students will learn how to communicate clearly, cooperate, negotiate conflict constructively, and collaborate. Working towards a common goal provides a sense of connectedness and accomplishment while fostering classroom cohesion. 

Self-Awareness

After a challenging year, students will need to increase their self-awareness skills to better understand their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Many students struggled with remote learning and their self-esteem and their view of themselves as a successful student may have suffered as a result of a more isolated and independent learning. Through engaging with the StickTogether’s activity, students will have opportunities to increase their sense of confidence and purpose. The motivational message of the Limited Edition Resilience Series poster further helps to foster a growth mindset in students and serves as an inspirational reminder that educators can refer to throughout the school year. 

As educators start planning for the upcoming school year, we must make student well-being and social emotional learning a priority, particularly in the first month of school. This not only will set the tone for the remainder of the year but also address the social, emotional, and behavioral challenges of students. StickTogether’s standard kits, and Limited Edition Resilience Series, serves as the perfect activity to accomplish the goal of having students engage in a social emotional learning activity that promotes their self-management, relationship skills, and self-awareness in a fun and engaging way. 

Looking for ways to re-connecting with friends, creating community and inspiring students to embrace the 2021-22 school year? Introducing the StickTogether Resilience Series. Find it here

How are you supporting student social and emotional learning? Share with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest. And as always, feel free to send an email to support@letsticktogether.com.. 

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