Let’s start with the easy stuff – give us a sample of your professional background and experience. In addition to working in the industry for eleven years, I’ve consulted for diversity and inclusion (D&I) for nearly two decades. My skills and experiences in demand included auditing to determine the current D&I gaps within the business, troubleshooting to pinpoint root causes of D&I issues, creating results-oriented D&I programming, and resolving intercultural conflicts. As a cultural anthropologist, I am interested in best practices in diversity and inclusion in corporate settings as well as cross-cultural issues in a variety of spaces. I have advised both domestically and internationally, and offer my services in my free time to local non-profits to remove barriers for marginalized youth and adults and promote intercultural peace and understanding What brought you to PLC? PLC’s mission and values align to my own, and demonstrates them daily through its committed support in serving the community. What are you most excited about in your new role? Collaborating with like-minded individuals in service to the community. What’s your idea of a perfect day? Spending time with my family (and that includes my pup!) doing anything at all. Oh, and a pot of masala chai! If we pushed play on what you were last listening to (music, podcast or otherwise) what would we hear? Anecdotes of the Buddha’s life, as related to his disciples, collected in Old Path, White
Did you know that July 17th is National Emoji Day? To celebrate, we're sharing a social-emotional check-in strategy that works for groups of any size and folks of all ages! Check out the video above to hear the directions and learn about ways this activity can be extended. These free slides make this a zero prep strategy for the classroom.
Perfect for international educators! Peace Learning Circles is a social emotional learning program that is based on the Tribe Learning Communities framework. We've kept the amazing foundational elements of the process, but have revised and replaced content that may no longer reflect best practices. Workshops will take place, virtually, on July 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th from 8pm-midnight EST. Register today!
Peace Learning Circles is a social emotional learning program that is based on the Tribe Learning Communities framework. We've kept the amazing foundational elements of the process, but have revised and replaced content that may no longer reflect best practices. Workshops will take place, virtually, on June 14, 17, 28, and July 1 from 1-5pm EST. Register today.
Let’s start with the easy stuff – give us a sample of your professional background and experience. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Secondary Education and a minor in Psychology, I taught junior high English and Social Studies for 5 years. I also served as an Equity and Inclusion Coach and Social Emotional Learning Coordinator for my school. I was very fortunate to be able to attend a wide variety of wonderful equity, inclusion, and social emotional learning trainings during my time as an educator. What brought you to PLC? Oh man, my journey to PLC goes back a few years. At the time, Marc Williams was the biggest proponent of restorative practices in our district. He invited PLC to present on RP at one of our district-wide professional development days, and I happened to attend that session. It marked a major shift in my professional and personal beliefs. I really started to focus on educating myself and finding other mentors like Marc. Over time, it just got harder and harder to ignore certain systemic issues. In August 2020, I reached a breaking point. Myself and other educators in my community were fighting hard for some essential changes, and we just kept hitting wall after wall. I realized that I needed to rethink how I was trying to effect change, and I decided to visit PLC’s website. I was only intending
What an exciting day! We just received some of our freshly designed Everyday Circle cards and we can’t wait to share them with the world! They are a brand new tool to help teachers who want to do this work but don't know where to start. We have partnered with two other incredible organizations: Tribes and HEART to create Everyday Circles for teachers to implement SEL, restorative practices, humane education, and more. There are 180 cards in the deck and each card has everything you need to lead your group through these processes, including images, prompts, and directions for interactive fun. We have had this vision for quite a long time and the stars finally aligned for us to make this happen! We have long thought that the actual work we do isn’t all that complicated but the support that you need to begin and maintain it, often is. Usually, this is a function of the need to change our mindset and learn new ideas incrementally to have time to actually implement and adjust. All of this requires a lot of teacher training…a luxury many schools and teachers do not have. So, without a lot of access to teachers, we thought, how can they learn how to do the work at the same time as they are doing it? That is exactly what these cards are designed to do. If teachers can make a bit of time and commit
Any visitor is a special treat to a group of kindergarten students. But these kids don't have any old visitor today. "Ms. Maria! Ms. Maria!," they chirp in glee as Maria Ruiz, Youth Development Facilitator enters their classroom at Lew Wallace #107. She sits on the floor, in the circle that all their activities take place in, and waits patiently as they take their seats around the circular rug. Without saying a word Maria pulls out a singing bowl and taps the side of it causing a ring to emanate across the classroom. Immediately the wiggles and giggles cease and each student begins taking deep, calming peace breaths. After three of these breaths, where you can literally feel the room's energy mellow, she begins an empowerment chant that the kids clearly know by heart as they join in. "I love myself." "I loooooooovvvvvvveeeee myself." "Because I am smart." "I am strong." "I am kind." "I can help." "Yes, I can." "Yes, we can." "Si se puede." "Because I'm a good kid." "I'm a good kid." It's been a few weeks since Maria has seen this class; this is their first week back from fall break. She pulls out a stuffed animal, a black poodle with red bows in its hair. This is their speaking piece. When anyone in the circle wants to speak they have to have the speaking piece in their hands and everyone wants a chance to
Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! This week presents a great opportunity to find more synergies between mindfulness practiced intentionally by adults and mindfulness as experienced by children in school as part of social and emotional learning (SEL) exercises. Mindfulness Program I’m continuing to work through the program in “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. In ‘Mindfulness Week Two: Keeping the Body in Mind,’ the meditation is a body scan. By experiencing this, you can learn to pay attention to your body, identify messages your body is sending you about anxiety and stress, and enhance your awareness by carefully scanning all areas of the body. I have been really enjoying this mindfulness program. I really think that it’s helped me to be more centered and calm, which has resulted in being more present instead of focusing on the past or the future. Meditation Resources If you’re interested in exploring some free meditation resources, try this link from UCLA Mindful Awareness Resource Center. https://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22 Yoga Enhances Mindfulness I have found that starting a yoga practice along with mindfulness makes my whole experience even more rich. Although I took some yoga classes in the past, it was so long ago that for all practical purposes, I’m a beginner again. I’ve been working with some recorded content for beginners; this has helped me to stretch my muscles, tone them, and to relax
Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! This week is my second one in the program presented in “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. I’m repeating the first week in the 8-week program because I lost my momentum during the July 4th holiday weekend. I want to spend more time with the week one content and really incorporate it into my everyday experience. I want to share with you a wonderful meditation from the program that I’m doing twice each day, the Mindfulness of the Body and Breath meditation. It’s a great start and end to my day, and helps me stay focused on the present. Here’s a link so you can experience it, too: Mindfulness Meditation What about Social and Emotional Learning? Mindfulness takes us back to social and emotional learning, or SEL. In her work through The Hawn Foundation, Goldie Hawn (yes, the famous actor and celebrity) has collaborated with Scholastic to offer the MindUP curriculum for children. In the book, “The MindUp Curriculum: Brain-Focused Strategies for Learning – and Living (Grades 6 – 8), one of the lessons has to do with mindful awareness. Other curriculum guides are available for Grades Pre-K – 2 and for Grades 3 - 5. Students learn how to use the concept of what is mindful and unmindful to understand their own thoughts and take appropriate actions. They find out about the
Hello again from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! This post is a continuation from last week, and we’ll be exploring how to improve our abilities in the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies as characterized by CASEL at www.casel.org . In this post, we’ll cover Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. This discussion will focus on how adults (teachers, parents, others) can improve their own SEL competencies. It’s important for us to begin by understanding the level of our own competencies, and take intentional action to make improvements. We can use this personal experience to most effectively support children and adults who could benefit from enhancing their SEL competency. Social Awareness In this competency, you can understand the perspective of others and empathize with them, even when they are different from you. You can apply this to get along with others and encourage mutual collaboration. Improvement in this competency starts with demonstrating a genuine interest in others. Pay careful attention to other people’s facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Can you connect what you observe to how others are feeling? Observation is a great place to start improving in this competency. Although this is not second nature for everyone, it can be learned. You may find it very helpful to ask someone you know well and trust to provide you with feedback. Observe the other person and then share the emotions you think that their behavior is