Wednesday, January 2, 2019

SEL Kindergarten

Social Emotional Learning in Kindergarten looks a bit different than it does for our first and second graders. In kindergarten, we use a curriculum called Second Step. It's a research-based program that promotes social-emotional development, safety, and well-being in children.

Each week, the school psychologist, social worker, or speech pathologist go into a kindergarten classroom to do a 20-30 minute lesson. We teach students using the Second Step visual cards, puppets, and videos. The curriculum is broken down into four sections; Skills for Listening, Empathy, Emotion Management, and Problem-Solving. We've completed the "Skills for Learning" section that teaches students how to listen, focus attention, and self-talk.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be starting the "Emotion Management" section where students will learn how to recognize strong feelings and use strategies to calm down. Below is a poster we will utilize with the kindergarten students.

For more information about Second Step, you can visit their website at

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Books We Love that Support Social Emotional Learning

Books are a great learning tool that you can use at home to improve your child's social skills, like listening, self-regulation, and managing anxiety. Below are a list of books that we love to use to reinforce a variety of social skills.

Soda Pop Head
When I Feel Angry

Blurting Out or Interrupting 
My Mouth is a Volcano
Interrupting Chicken

Growth Mindset
Rosie Revere Engineer
Bubble Gum Brain
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen

Managing Impulsivity
What If Everybody Did That
What Were You Thinking?

Personal Space
Personal Space Camp

Giraffes Can't Dance
I'm Gonna Like Me

Telling the Truth
Lying up a Storm
Bernstein Bears and The Truth

Wemberly Worried
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
Worry Says What?

Videos are also a great resource...we'll have a future post with some video links to share!

Friday, October 5, 2018

SEL for 1st and 2nd Graders

Over the past few weeks, Melissa Florio, Liz D’Amato, and Carissa Mierzejewski have been going into kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms to teach some very important lessons about social thinking. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) teaches students a variety of skills such as listening, regulating emotions, having a growth mindset, problem-solving, and more. 

Do you have a first or second grader at home? Ask them about whole body listening. Kids can show us that they're listening by using their whole body. Their eyes are looking at the speaker, their hands and feet are quiet, and their brains are thinking about what is being said. Listening Larry has taught them that!

Your children are also learning how to be excellent problem-solvers at EW. Problem-solving can be hard, but not if you remember to STEP!
S - say the problem without blame
T - think of some possible solutions
E - explore consequences
P - pick the best solution

We hope some of this information is useful for you to use at home with your children. Check back soon for more SEL updates and other important information!

Friday, September 7, 2018

New Member to the Team!

We are happy to share that we have a new member on the EW Special Education Team. Elisabeth D'Amato is our school psychologist! We are so excited to have her as part of our team and she will be helping us write some blog posts this year. 

Just a reminder for those who may not know, the special education team consists of...

Deborah Byrne, Special Education Teacher for grades 4-6
Rita Heinze, Special Education Teacher for grades K-4
Melissa Florio, Speech and Language Pathologist
Carissa Mierzejewski, School Social Worker
Liz D'Amato, School Psychologist

We hope to create some helpful and informative blog posts for you this school year. We are so excited for another school year with your amazing children! Please keep an eye out for more blog posts coming soon!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Send-Off

With only three weeks left of school, we wanted our last blog post of the 2017-18 school year to be about SUMMER! Summer is full of exciting events like BBQs, beach trips, vacations, camp, etc. There is also a great amount of down-time for kids during the summer season, which may actually be a good thing! Below is a link that is all about free play - unstructured time for kids to be creative, discover, and initiate tasks independently. So when you hear your child exclaim that they're bored (because it is bound to happen), embrace it! This time helps kids to grow as learners! 

Free Play Article

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Social Emotional Learning

We have exciting news to share with you! Wethersfield Public Schools has developed a social emotional learning curriculum for Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students. Kids will be learning social skills such as impulse control, whole body listening, coping skills, and problem-solving. These are important life skills for students to learn at an early age so they can be successful in school and beyond. Lessons at EW are going to be taught in the classroom by the school social worker, speech pathologist, and school psychologist in collaboration with their classroom teacher. Keep checking this blog because we're planning on doing future blog posts about some of the topics we're working on and the language that we're using!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


The Emerson-Williams school community will be spending the next few weeks focusing on the importance of responsibility. It is one of our three main behavior expectations at EW, along with respect and safety. In each classroom, students are expected to demonstrate responsible behaviors by doing their best work, utilizing technology for school tasks only, and helping to keep their classroom clean. Some teachers help instill responsibility by assigning classroom jobs to students, giving incentives and/or consequences for missed homework assignments, and encouraging students to be problem-solvers on the playground.

Students should be demonstrating responsible behaviors at home as well. Make this a topic of conversation at your next family dinner or while taking a ride in the car. What responsibilities does your child have at home? Do they clean up after themselves or put away their own laundry? Do they complete their homework independently? Do they take responsibility for their words and actions? To help stir up the conversation at home, try using one of the videos and/or books listed below. They are great for teaching responsibility!

That Rule Doesn't Apply to Me
What if Everybody Did That?
But It's Not My Fault
Responsibility Song
Berenstain Bears Trouble at School
Berenstain Bears Pick Up and Put Away