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Learning is powerful when we learn with and from each other. Social Awareness & Relationship Skills are essential for forming and maintaining positive relationships so that peers and teachers can become learning partners.
Social Awareness is the understanding of social norms for behavior and the ability to recognize and understand the perspectives and feelings of others. Social Awareness allows students to empathize with people from diverse backgrounds that are different from their own, and to recognize the Social Supports available from family members, at school, and in the community. Adolescents are developing a greater understanding of facets of their own identities (e.g., race, gender, sexual identity) and how society views those identities.
Relationship Skills are specific interpersonal skills based on Social Awareness that allow students to communicate and get along with others, cooperate, and prevent and resolve interpersonal conflicts. During adolescence, the need to belong and "fit in" with peers is heightened. Adolescents are therefore particularly sensitive to social comparisons, peer influence, and social rejection. As relationships with peers become more important, their behavior in the classroom may be restricted by their concerns about what their peers think of them.
During the adolescent years, peers have a significant influence on reading practices. Discussing books with friends allows students to critically engage with reading material. Also, students with strong Social Awareness & Relationship Skills show lower levels of conduct problems and emotional distress and better social adjustment and academic achievement.
Physically acting out a text or enacting major themes from texts enhances reading comprehension, particularly as texts become more complex.
When annotating, students engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading.
Students practice making and finding meaning in texts through book discussions moderated by teachers to varying degrees.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise during the Composition process, their writing quality improves.
For adolescent learners, the Composition process can become more robust, as learners begin to express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
When preparing for and debating with peers, students analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking and literacy skills.
Increasing how much and how frequently students write improves both their writing quality and content knowledge.
Students whose families are involved and feel valued within the school community are less likely to miss school, which research has shown can cause students to fall behind academically.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
As students move through multimodal stations pertaining to a particular unit, the social and physical nature of the activity supports deeper understanding.
During guided inquiry, teachers foster student autonomy by designing lessons centered on meaningful questions in which students locate, analyze, and present relevant information on their own or in small groups.
Having private or semi-private spaces where students can go to support Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
When students provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve their writing, and engage in Metacognition.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning and increases Motivation.
Maintaining consistent routines, structures, and supports ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When students write from a non-dominant or marginalized perspective, they consider and give voice to points of view that are often missing.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Having culturally relevant reading materials, including multicultural and diverse texts, are critical for supporting all students.
Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.
Writing conferences allow students to fully immerse, share, reflect, and receive feedback during the writing process, promoting Motivation for continuing the sometimes lengthy revision process that occurs in the upper grades.
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