In my time working with students on the autism spectrum, I’ve witnessed them struggle to recognize emotions and acknowledge non-verbal cues from others.
Throughout their schooling, my high school students have heard that this is one of their social challenges, but rarely do they know why this is the case. One student told me that one of her teachers told her “don’t worry, the other students know you have autism so they’ll try to explain what they’re feeling.” At 17, she was nervous that when she went off to college she would have to explain her diagnosis to everyone so they could understand her. Why should she have to disclose that information instead of trying to learn how to understand both herself and those around her?
I struggled to find ways to teach students with a range of cognitive abilities how and why they need to recognize emotions of themselves and others in a concrete way. There were lots of complicated scientific studies explaining why individuals on the spectrum have trouble recognizing emotions, but most of my students aren’t able to grasp that information. So I simply typed “emotions” as a search term in Kiddom’s K12 library of teaching resources to see if any of the results would work for my students.
Using Kiddom’s Library to search for free social emotional learning resources
The first search result turned out to be the perfect assignment: “Are Emotions Contagious?” This video explained the science of mirror neurons in an understandable way for middle and high schoolers and allowed them to better see how important it is to recognize emotions and what the impact of mirroring emotions can be.
From my experience, students are able to more easily recognize times when someone else impacted their lives than they are able to recognize how they impact everyone else. This assignment challenged them to identify how the emotions of their peers have affected them as well as how their emotions can have an effect on their peers. I selected the video and assigned it to my students as homework via Kiddom, along with a reflection piece about how the video connects to their lives.
The assignment was challenging for many of my students. They found the video interesting, but struggled to connect it to their own lives. I got responses like “I am an independent person so no one can change my emotions but me” and “some people will see a friend looking sad so they start to feel sad, but I am never sad, so I just cheer friends up.”
I was heartbroken. These responses illustrated that my students couldn’t acknowledge how emotions were a part of their experiences, or even what emotions they were displaying to the world. As I kept reading through the responses, some breakthroughs trickled through, “Once, I was having a very hard day. My friend told a horrible joke, but when she started laughing, I couldn’t help but start laughing too.” “One day I was having a bad day. I think I made my friends have a bad day. I spread my negativity.”
These responses gave me hope that I can eventually help my students get to a place where they can better recognize not only the emotions of someone they are talking to, but also an awareness of their own emotions and how they can impact those around them.
We still have a ways to go, but maybe if I display happiness and other positive emotions, I can help my students get there. One thing is for sure, the proliferation of social emotional learning resources is wonderful.
Many teachers don’t feel fully equipped to meet their students’ growing emotional needs. These resources address body positivity, bullying, depression, and more. We organized them by the developmental needs of specific age groups, spanning K-12.
Use Library’s engaging resources to help your students study
With state exams, midterms, and finals around the corner in the United States, many teachers are focusing on preparing their students for the bubble sheets and answer booklets ahead. We’re all too familiar with the standard review packets, full of busy work, but seldom do those prioritize student needs. Where are they at now, and where can they do better?
Personalizing and differentiating review material can be a daunting task, especially if your resources are scattered and/or don’t meet students’ learning styles.
In an ideal world, teachers would be able to pinpoint the exact needs of a student and quickly share materials to meet those skill gaps. With Kiddom, this is a reality: spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time directly supporting student needs.
Know exactly where your students are
Prioritizing learning targets is half the battle, and that’s where we come in. Kiddom’s standard mastery reports allow teachers to efficiently investigate progress already made on specific standards/skills and quickly act on it. View your class’s progress towards a specific standard or skill so far, and plan to remediate.
Need an even closer look? No problem! Click on each standard to view which students need the most attention, and which ones are ready to move on. Kiddom lets you add as many standards to assignments as you want, so you never lose track of the skills associated to your assignments.
All the resources you need, a search away
Kiddom teachers can use our Library to find and assign free resources, including videos, quizzes, practice activities, and more, based on the data from your standard mastery reports. We understand it can be time consuming to select resources, so we’ve made our search options as specific or broad as you would like them to be across grade level, subject area, or media type. Need resources that are standards-aligned? No problem. Kiddom’s Library allows you to search by specific standards, and your mastery reports connect you directly to the appropriate resources.
Find exactly what you need by easily previewing the resource before you assign it. Assignments may already have standards aligned based on the standard group you are using, but you can always add your own.
All of your materials, in one place
Chances are, you’ve collected a lot of materials for the topics you Don’t worry: you’re covered there too. Kiddom’s Playlist functionality allows you to group resources into one contained playlist, so your resources aren’t scattered everywhere. Think of it as Pinterest specifically for your classroom. Since your Playlists are housed in your Planner, you can choose when to assign them, and who to assign them to. Simply click to expand the playlist, and drag and drop the assignment into Timeline to assign to everyone, or click a student beforehand to assign to only them.
Kiddom allows you to create as many playlists as you want, so the possibilities are endless for thematic, skill-based, or topical groupings. Create a playlist dedicated to enrichment resources and another for remediation, or create one based on topic and subject. Whatever organizational method works for you, Kiddom works with you to house all of your resources and ensure your students get exactly what they need. Need to organize multiple resources for students to review for a test? Create a playlist to group them all together, and simply drag and drop it over to a student’s timeline to send it. You can create multiple playlists to address specific needs for students for test prep: use your reports to see where students need help, and create a playlist with content just to address those needs. Your students will appreciate the personalized resources, since now they’re reviewing what they need to review, and not going through things they already know. Students and teachers alike can agree: “busy work” is necessary.
Gone are the days of the dreaded review packet, and long waits at the copier. Besides, cookie-cutter packets can be impersonal and can feel unimportant to a student: it’s just busy work and taking away from skills they should be focusing on. We hope you use our Library and Playlists to create engaging assignments, boosting student morale and skills in the process.
What are you waiting for? Explore Kiddom’s Library. And have fun!
Trace a student’s journey to mastery with this new feature
Educators in our pilot schools and districts have been using Kiddom this school year to create self-paced curriculum and personalized assignments. Their work is shifting towards student-centered, authentic projects and away from teacher-driven assignments with only one right answer.
This shift provides options for demonstrating mastery in both the processes students use and the artifacts they create. To support our pilot schools’ desires to build student ownership, we’ve expanded the ways teachers can send assignments and students can send evidence of demonstrating mastery.
Now, each assignment created by a teacher can have multiple attachments from their computer, Google Drive, or Kiddom’s content library.
Students benefit too — they can send teachers more than one attachment per assignment, allowing them to do more complex and rigorous work in a streamlined way.
How do multiple attachments support teaching and learning?
Choice: Provide students with choice by sending multiple attachments as a set of options to choose from. An English teacher might attach multiple readings to choose at the same Lexile level.
Modality: Help every student gain an understanding of the learning material by attaching a video, an audio file, and a reading to meet their needs.
Process: Let students share several drafts of a project within a single assignment, or offer checklists and graphic organizers in the same assignment as the final project.
Students will now be able to:
Attach multiple attachments before submitting an assignment
Access and attach items from Google Drive
Make multiple submissions over time on a single assignment
Teachers will be able to:
Send multiple attachments from a single assignment
Attach more than one curriculum resource from Library
Send more than one Google Drive attachment
Attach any combination of files (PDFs, screenshots, images, etc.)
We’d like to thank our pilot school communities for helping us understand why allowing for multiple attachments is critical for classrooms focused on promoting student choice and voice. We’re excited to learn how you’ll use this new functionality in your quest to unlock potential for all students.
P.S. If this is your first time hearing about our pilot program for schools and districts, click here to learn more. We do have some availability for learning communities interested in implementation spring 2018.