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Nurturing Hearts & Noggins

Promoting academic, social, and emotional learning for lifelong success
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Black History throughout the Year

Although February is the designated month that Black History is commemorated, it does not have to be confined to this time of the year.  Feel free to carve out various times during the school year to explore Black history and culture, including art, literature, and music.  Exploring Black history is a wonderful way to nurture hearts and noggins by opening the mind of a child to embrace an importan...

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Is Emotional Intelligence the Key to Behavior Modification?

Understanding Emotional Intelligence is still a very popular topic of conversation.  Since the 2006 release of Daniel Goleman's groundbreaking work, Emotional Intelligence , parents, child care providers, and teachers alike have been fascinated by what it reveals about behavior, rational and emotional thinking, health and well-being, relationships, leadership, and lifelong success. ...

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Giving Thanks and Paying It Forward

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let's revisit ways that we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude and giving. As this year winds down, and we reflect on our successes, near-successes, lessons learned, and the overall busyness of our lives, it's important to take time to reflect on all that we are grateful for. This attitude can become quite natural and like second nature with some practice. Here...

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Bursting Myths about Bullying

Misconceptions about bullying have been rampant for decades. The "Self-Esteem Movement" that occurred during the 1980s helped to usher in many of the misconceptions-- As daytime talk shows fueled the notion that if youth had higher levels of self-esteem, bullying would not exist. Well, current research begs to differ. If we are truly going to address bullying, we must understand what it is and...

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SEL and The Fierce Urgency of Now

As I became captivated all over again by reading Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Beyond Vietnam" speech, I began to think about issues in today's society that need to be addressed with a similar level of passion and urgency. Naturally, I thought about the social and emotional needs of our children. I spend the majority of my days tal...

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Is SEL the Cure for School Violence?

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been an increase in research, media stories, town hall meetings and even blogs about thwarting the violence within our schools. As I was looking over several articles just before the holiday break (some written by notable researchers and scholars, and some written by educational bloggers, including a local Chicago resident),...

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Attitude of Gratitude

During a recent conversation with my mother, she commented about how quickly she felt the holiday season was upon us. She said that she hated how quickly it seemed to be passing by, and how she wished that she could bottle it up because people seem to be a bit kinder, gentler, and more grateful during this time of year. So, this got me to thinking... What if we cultivated this type of attitude...

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What is social and emotional learning?

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, social and emotional learning? What does it mean? What does it look like? If it were happening in a classroom, would you recognize it? I ask these questions quite often of teachers and parents who attend my SEL trainings. The responses run the gamut, but I typically hear, "I'm not sure," or "I think I'm doing it a little bit," or my personal favori...

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Happiness + Positive School Climate = Learning

For the past few decades, researchers in the field of Social and Emotional Learning have stressed that SEL is foundational to students' success in school, work, and life. Who would've thought that key factor in this "success" is happiness? Several years ago, when I worked as a social worker in Michigan, I recall walking into a middle school and thinking, "this has to be the least happy...

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