Savor a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) smorgasbord as Texas teacher Elyse Hahne shares how she consistently weaves the SEL competencies into her school rituals and routines to reach ALL students.
Hello and thanks for tuning into the corner on character, where character speaks a podcast in partnership with pro signed design to spotlight corruption, it character champions who are walking the talk. I’m your host, Barbara Gruner. And today we’re visiting with the least honey up in Great fine I SD in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Welcome a lease to the show. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. I’m thankful that you can join us today, Elise, because I’ve been following it, wing you on Twitter for quite some time.
And I’m so interested in your journey. Can you tell us a little bit about what brought you to today? Absolutely. I started my career as a substitute and I said in different districts for three years around Grapevine Colleyville. And then I ventured to Katie and I taught second and third, and then I really saw my passion was in special. And it’s specifically social, emotional, and with autism and with students, you just learn differently. And so for the last three years, with this year accounting, I’ve worked with students from K through five with any type of difficulty.
Whether they’re Injun, it or special in. I really love working with students who learn differently, who speak differently and he really have a heart. Um, that sometimes has to be unfolded on like an onion. I’m very passionate about working with students who struggle with behaviors on and getting them to have a voice and to understand and to be able to use tools to be successful in the classroom. Oh, I love the onion metaphor. Can Ewan peel that a little bit for us? Absolutely. Well, it came from the blind, but really, we have students with trauma and with backgrounds and with difficulties that they can’t explain.
And so every day, giving them a safe stone to be themselves whether it’s in the classroom or under a desk were in a different setting. And so allowing students to start trusting because trust is such a big thing with them. They struggle with understanding why their home life is a little bit different or why they have to use something different, or why they have to speak differently and so allowing them to understand that they are so unique in every single way and giving them tools to be successful and so peeling back and onion.
It has layers, and so every layer is another circle of trust that you and still with the student and build the Met every single day for them to be successful. Wow, I love that. And trust is certainly one of our really important core values. What would you say are the benefits of doing SCL kind of something I read on your blog’s relationships before rules are on Twitter feed? I think, uh um, basically, if you do not have a relationship with a child, whether it interacting one on one or in the classroom or just in the hallway, you’re not going to be able Teoh break ground, so to speak and to you have students understand that there are rules that they have to follow.
And so having that trust and having that relationship is huge because not only are you pouring a foundation into their heart, you’re also allowing them to understand that there’s you’re there for them. You allow them. Teoh have success. You’re there to catch them when they fall and you’re there to celebrate their successes. So building up that relationship first before rules so that you can build a foundation within their heart, so to speak, and for them to be successful throughout the year. So one of the five SCL competencies is relational skills.
Relationship skills. What are some of your what you’ve seen or done? Best practices in that area? Best practices in relationship building are being a constant first unit. I’m greeting them at the door, celebrating them, being at school, allowing the you speak and giving feedback, as well as allowing them to listen. That’s such a hard concept from K all the way to 12 but allowing them to know that you are hearing them and either saying I hear you or this is what I heard. But giving them the space she be successful is huge in relationships on best practices.
Don’t be little our kids. They don’t allow them to feel unwanted. They allow them to be valued individuals every single day. So it sounds like there’s some empathy in there too, huh? Yes, and then their self awareness, their self management and their social awareness. How do we teach those things? Well, I currently teaching the social emotional classroom and something that my students from K all the way to fit and really value in love is read elapsed. And so our students watch us every single day. So we read a book, say, and B is for breathing.
Or if we read on the color monster, they can identify feelings and actions within characters. And that’s like really the first step, because for them to understand what they’re doing, Mayor and it may not be appropriate. They have to have something to connect you a textures, text cut and really or a real world example, and so giving them something to latch on to something. Also that we can do is we can practice. That sounds like something that classrooms do every day. But it is. Our kids don’t come to us wired to follow directions or do something our way, and so we have to allow them to practice.
And then we model when we review. As the year goes on, April is a great time to review because spring fever setting in into beer worries air setting in and so giving students an opportunity to be successful with practice and modeling, and also just a refresher because who doesn’t need a refresher? Every student needs a refresher and every now and again, just like we need. Refreshers is adult. So giving student that opportunity, Teoh connect with something and then to review and refresh. And also, if they can take ownership of their understanding of the rules, they will be impacted more than just reading them and doing them.
And you’re starting. This is young as kindergarten. Yes, ma’am, I also work with preschool on because we have pre K and our little’s Whether they, you know, may understand the big words or not that get it are foreign. Five year olds can understand what flipped their lid Me and so in there speak are then their terminology. And so, being able to empower students to you take initiative as young as four and five is possible. Does it take practise? Yes. Does it take conditions? Yes, but they get it because they can identify characters or movies that they’ve seen and good and bad choices.
And then they could report as well. It may look a little bit differently, but every student, no matter the age, can learn four. And rules can learn for ideas, and they just need a little bit of practice and modeling I like that. Flip your lid analogy. Can you unpack that a little bit? It’s brain science, right? It is brain science, and I’m probably gonna mess up on some of the Basically, it’s your lower level, your fighter flight that your students will go to if they’re upset or if they’re frustrated.
It’s that reactive mode. They’re not in control there in their basically their downstairs brain, and they’re unable to you understand what’s going on. It can look like a student screaming to a student, throwing chairs to a student physically trying to hurt you. And so, basically, you have to front load skills and remind students of skills they can do to calm down. Whether that’s taking depressed, whether that you reminding them, Hey, when I take a deep breath or just starting to breathe, um, in and out and where it’s blowing candles out.
There are a lot of breathing techniques that our little ones my six and seven year olds, used currently that are really successful because they have taken ownership and they’re like, Oh, I can do that. And so flipping your lid is just basically an analogy. If you are not in control you’re struggling. And so how do we get you back there? And we have to work on front loading and strategies along the way. So that sounds kind of easy, except for you know, that when kids air dis regulated, it’s not well in dis regulation looks so different on every student and, you know, in I work with students in crisis a lot.
And then I worked with students who may look like they’re defiant and they’re already there flipping Maribel it in their own weight. And so, being mindful of our actions and our mindset of oh, they need to listen well, yes, they do need to listen, but what does that look like? You have to set those expectations you have to set. What does it look like when you’re, you know, listening or what does it look like when you’re working? Because some of our kids air super visual and they’re super aware that you’re getting on my nerves or, uh, you’re bothering me.
But what does that look like? And so defining those riel life in the classroom or in the school setting ideas for students to truly understand is a valuable because if you have it written. What does it look like to sit in your chair or work? What does it look like to follow directions on the carpet? You can kind of front load. He Let’s just refresh thes reminders when we need to be reminded. Or we need a refresher because every kid and adult can use a refresher every now and again.
And so having those strategies, those skills, those expectations can help, Um, just not have any gray area. Or it’s gonna flip their lid every now and again. Yes, because sometimes it’s control sometimes attention seeking, but really comprehending that students can listen. They can truly understand expectations, and they can move forward once they’re taught. Or once they reminded, really sets the ground of Hey, we can put this back on them. We can set up expectations, and then we can move forward as a collective whole. It’s not me versus then it’s We’re moving together and we’re learning together.
So there’s that ownership piece again. I saw on your Twitter feed that you guys were owning your inner rock stars. You share a little bit more about that. Well, I have students who don’t have confidence as much or don’t understand that they are amazing. And so when they do start to you say something hard either they shut down, they say they’re not good. There been or they just you’re struggling. And so something that I really value is positive self affirmation. And so our students, um, as young as first grade can a firm that they are rock stars, they Iraq stars and helping others.
They’re rock stars showing empathy. They’re rock stars at following directions. Or they’re rock stars that taking ownership such as following directions and listening that day. And so my students got to write I am a rock star, and then they got to decorate their poster about their deaths. My question a little bit different because it’s a social emotional setting, but that we hung it about their desk and we just reference it. And for me, our students need the visuals when language, those visuals are it for them. And so being able to remind them, Hey, you’re a rock star and when they say no, not and I would be like, Yes you are, unless it’s how you’re a rock star.
So getting them to understand that they are going to make mistakes. They’re going to get mad. But front loading that they can do things will help deescalate as well as will allow them to calm. Because when our students get man, and especially when my students currently get mad, it’s big, and what I mean by that is it sounds a lot worse than it is. And either we scream or we yell or we throw things. But it’s possible for them toe slowly de escalate by using that self talk, I can do hard things.
I am a rock star by helping others and so that they get it in their mind and they can refresh themselves as their startling. So you it also sounds like you’re talking a little bit of mindfulness because you mentioned the deep breathing. Now you’ve kind of talked mantra as a little bit. So is mindfulness woven into the kinds of practices that that you do to help them regulate. It is I’ve used a lot of different strategies, depending on the day and depending on what is going on.
But we do a lot of mindfulness of were at school. We’re here to learn, and then what does that look like and front loading them with breathing exercises? Mindfulness. Being aware of the people around them, I’m being aware of what they need to be successful. Some of my students need the quiet. Some of my students need to be able to breathe or use a pin will to breathe on. Some of my students like to do what they call a better fly breath. So really, having our students own there types of breathing or their types of strategies on really makes a difference.
I have some students that like to be under a desk, and that is a okay, as long as we can see them. And as long as they are starting to regulate. So really practicing in the social emotional skills, the social skills, the the self positive talk in the mindfulness is woven in every single day. Does it look different every time someone flips their lid? Yes, but really Also, something that I value is is that you need to stop talking. Um, there’s a next for in safety care.
It’s just, um, similar to C. P. I or a, um course for just deescalating difficult behaviours. It’s why am I talking in a the weight strategy and something that really means is meaningful is that quiet. It may drive some of us crazy, and it may be like, Oh, it’s time for me to talk. No, we need to stop talking until what are students really start to listen to themselves? They are mad. They need to be able to use mindfulness. They need to be able to use self talk.
They need to be over the use strategies. But sometimes I find that as talking to them is really escalating them. And it’s not our intention, but giving them a moment, allowing them to take a breath or just sit and docked you. Anything is powerful, so that sounds like there are so many benefits, at least what are the costs of something carving out Time for this self awareness and responsible decision making? Are we going to be given up time or efforts to make this happen? No. You can include mindfulness and self talk and motivation in reading and writing in social skills.
And so science and social studies. Really, this is integrated throughout your day. What? You talk to your students, you read aloud. You can’t Yes, you carve out a little bit of time for morning meeting their circle up, but that’s a valuable piece that our students have to have relationship. They have to have social skills they have to have and just being able to talk to each other idea in their head every single day. And so this is not something that this is another thing. This is a vital piece of the whole child.
And so if you don’t take time to mold and to build those foundational skills when they go to fifth and six great, they will struggle because they don’t know how to wait their turn. They don’t know how to you use self top. They don’t know how to use different strategies to either calm down or to solve a problem. So this is it. The time is now. You have to do it every single day. It’s sometimes it could be a five minute. Hey, all I see you’re struggling.
What can we do to fix it? Our kids air problems offers. Our kids are so defined. Teoh help and giving them a purpose of We’re here to help you. But how can we help you? know, how can we do this back and forth so that you can be successful? I mean, I think that it’s it is powerful 10 to let students know that you make mistakes. I make mistakes, you make mistakes. But how can we learn from this and before? This is not something that is going to take two hours.
It’s integrated throughout the day and it’s not for just through K through five middle school and high school students need to be ableto wait to be able to problem solve, to be able to understand different aspects of people and how sometimes we’re man and sometimes were upset and how we can we can move on. And so this is something that even middle school, high school and beyond can use every single day. Teoh tap into those skills those soft skills some people say of, like problem solving and waiting and listening and so that they can be overall better people when they become adults.
So connection before direction. Yes. Okay. I saw on your feet also something he retweeted that Roman had sent out there. The best feeling of happiness is when you’re happy because you made someone else happy. Why would you re tweet that? What? What’s going on? What’s your connection to have a huge person? Uh, I’m kindness. Raynham acts of kindness. And so to make someone’s day, whether it’s a students or teachers, because I did interactive a lot of teachers every day. Sometimes making somebody feel valued is the best thing you can do all day.
Some of our students come to us and they’re not valued at home or they’re not appreciated or they’re not heard at home. And so we are that voice of reason, and we’re also that that ground for them to be able to speak up well, sometimes our staff feel that way when we’re having a rough day or the weather changes like it did today. Um, were we’re just having a rough day. Sometimes the biggest act of kindness you can do is to value that person into notice, and that is it makes people happy.
It makes people happen to be noticed, whether it’s a random act of kindness card or whether it’s a shadow on Twitter but giving people the opportunity to be happy with Raynham exit kindness. It shows genuine just respect and it shows that they matter as much as you matter. And so it warms my heart to make people feel better. And if I can bring us on it, drink or if I can write, write a random act of a note or if I can cover a class for five minutes or going and read to a class that is something that is powerful and I feel like it’s weeks more volumes just been, you know, being noticed.
And so having an actual act of kindness makes people happy. Well, at the risk of calling you out, I’m going to just share with my listeners that it was a year and 1/2 or so ago when some flowers showed up at my school. I had no idea who would be sending me flowers or why. And I’m We’ve never met in person, so I certainly I didn’t see them coming from a Twitter friend. But you are totally living that it’s not just a platitude on your wall or a fun thing to re tweet.
I see you walking the talk, Um, and not just because you sent a bouquet of flowers, but that thoughtfulness behind sending the bouquet of flowers really touched my heart. I’m so glad. And that’s something that I got you to dio. And it doesn’t have to be flowers. Something that I’ve you most weeks is right hand written notes for on Bring Copier phonic to someone who’s just needing a pick me up. And what better time to do that? It doesn’t have to be extensive. It could be a sticky note on the door, and that’s something that I value.
You have to find the what works for you. And so if it’s a sticky note, if it’s a handwritten note, if it’s an email that tweet Twitter, shut out, find what works for you and run with it. Um, I am Blessed toe have so many wonderful people in my wife who influenced me every day, and that’s one way I can get back. And that’s one way I can notice the people in a new love flowers. So why not? It’s valuing people matters. You’re definitely running the race with fidelity with happiness, joy and hope.
How are you taking care of you in the midst of all of the caretaking you do for others? I do. Um I try really hard not to bring work home on the weekends as well as during the week. Um, I been time with our dogs. We do dog rocks and I spend time with family. I spent time just outside. One of my hobbies is to take pictures of ours in the nature and just to share that. And so that’s something that I love to do. I always have room for improvement.
I always have my stressful day you, But having people that I can talk to you having our animals are family dogs and having my family really does matter and to me because not everybody gets education. Not everybody gets what we go through every single day. But being able to just kind of disconnect, um, is a huge motivator in my life on I also have great joy of participating in Twitter, Schatz. And so that is one way I relax. And so some days I’m more active than others.
There are some days that I’ve just like I can’t I cannot do it. And that’s okay. I’m and just giving myself grace because as a daughter, as a teacher, as so many different hats and rolls you do get overwhelmed and so being able to take a step back and disconnecting it’s huge for me. And just like going home early and doing very little is something that works for me as well. Well, you’re in a rock star is definitely shining today. Where can the listeners find you so that they can grow alongside of you?
Well, my my first of my last name or special Teoh Um, spell. But I’m on Twitter. I have a blawg I write most every other week. How much? Um, but my knee released honey, and I know I follow you, and I know I’ll be My name will be attached when you, um I put it, but I am always welcoming to help others. And so I’m happy to email. I’m happy to work with and just some ideas if you’re struggling with behavior. But I am happy to email or call or twitter or boxer anything to help others.
Thank you. Is there anything I missed? Our time is almost up, but I want to make sure that you’ve been able to share what you’ve got going on and in your corner of the world with everyone who’s tuned in today. I really appreciate the opportunity. I know we have timeto connect, and it’s been back and forth. But I really appreciate the opportunity to tell my story. And it’s just another way for us to tell. Our story is through a podcast, and so this is Jonathan opportunity for me.
Well, it sounds like you have a dream job, and I really I’m thankful that you would share your journey with us as we sign off. I want to thank you, Elise, for carving out the time to meet up at the corner this afternoon, even as some crazy weather is blowing your way, I want to remind the listeners that this podcast it is supported by Pro Signed Design, a family owned business dedicated to character, safety and organization. Visit them at Pro signed design code dot com To cull.
Arise your character building. Join us next week for more about character, education, connections and life. And until bang, remember that character speaks