Dive Brief:

  • Middle school students may need assistance to manage online learning, as they’re being asked to tap into adult-level management skills they may have yet to fully develop, Edutopia suggests, citing the best practices of Jody Passanisi, the director of middle school at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, California.
  • Time-management is one skill that can be fostered virtually, which teachers can support by having students start set alerts for class times and also adopt digital calendars for their week. Another skill is learning how to organize, with educators encouraging pupils to set up their own learning spaces and adjust as needed.
  • By setting aside time daily for students to ask questions, educators can help them develop self-advocacy skills. And by creating opportunities for small group work, educators can help students learn to build connections and depend on each other, which may also help stem feelings of isolation as remote-learning continues this year.

Dive Insight:

Middle school years are a crucial transition period from childhood to young adulthood, and there are steps educators can take to help students develop self-regulation and other core emotional milestones they need to reach, even in remote environments.

Fulton County Schools in Georgia has broken down, by grade, different exercises educators can use with students to support social-emotional learning. Some include helping students develop more awareness and sensitivity to other people’s needs and behaviors, even through a virtual connection.

One lesson, for example, has students perform an act of kindness, reflect on how that action made them feel, and then consider what they could do the following day. Another suggests writing a letter to someone who influenced their life, calling them and reading that letter, and, again, thinking about how that action made them feel personally.

The New York City Department of Education also posts grade-appropriate suggestions, including an online booklet for middle-schoolers with journal pages that prompt students to answer questions such as, “How do you deal with stress?” And the Indiana Department of Education offers lesson plans, including one on how middle-schoolers can learn self-regulation skills by evaluating emotional stress responses they’ve experienced and come up with phrases to use in those moments.

These lessons can help educators scaffold core social-emotional learning milestones for students even as many remain in remote learning environments this fall.

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