These times of Covid-19 are uncertain for us, as adults, and for our students. Due to uncertainty there can be a higher degree of unpredictability, anxiety, and stress. Our priority is the mental health and emotional well being of our students. Our Social Communication class provides consistent support and interventions to students now more than ever in the realm of emotionality and social language. All classes begin with a typical Emotion Check In. Students are accustomed to this warm up and it provides the opportunity for students to share how they are doing and to support their classmates.
Here is a review of what we have done and what we are currently working on in our Social Communication class.
Our returning students are familiar with the 3 B’s of CD (“Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe”). This PBIS system is followed closely in the classroom. The Social Communication class focused, taught, & heavily reinforced the PBIS matrix of the expected classroom behaviors (e.g., waiting one’s turn to speak, keeping hands/feet to self, participating). Although classroom life may look different moving forward, the expectations remain closely the same. However, there are new expectations and behaviors to follow both in the community and while we meet on Zoom. Some new community expectations are to follow physical distancing guidelines, wash hands for 20 seconds, and wear a mask when leaving the house. During remote learning and Zoom classes, new guidelines have been established to ensure success and positive results: muting microphone until time to speak, joining individual and group sessions on time, and responding to any safety directives given by an adult. Reviewing the Classroom, Community, and Zoom expectations matrices have been beneficial for our students by establishing the expectations and discussing when/why certain behaviors are important to display. Ultimately, we want our students to understand how they can achieve safety and success.
Discussion and practice of emotional and behavioral regulation is key to foundational elements of what CD teaches and reinforces. Our current unit is based on defining, understanding, relating to, and coping with anxiety and stress. During class time, we have read aloud articles on the subject, watched videos, have had facilitated discussion, and even some practice with relaxation techniques. Students have read about typical & personal teenage anxieties and triggers, along with the new anxieties that they or others may be feeling due to the changes in our community and schooling because of Covid-19. In the next few weeks, we will continue this unit to include more about stress, stressors, and overall strategies to use while coping with both anxiety and stress. The students have done incredibly well with this unit and we expect more amazing and insightful conversations sparked by their perspective.
We, along with the teachers and paraeducators, appreciate all you are doing to support your son/daughter during remote learning. This is not an easy time or platform for any of us. We will continue to strive for ultimate engagement and learning from all students while providing them with care, concern, and celebration!
Take care & Be healthy,
Mrs. Granato-Wagner, Ms. Schuit, & Ms. Perry