First Things First: Research-Based Strategies to Address Post-Pandemic SEL Needs

Author: | Category: General, Making Magic

Meet the Maker

Amber Soto, Director of Mathematics Instruction, Implementation and Improvement

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
Music has been a recurring tradition in all of my family gatherings. Whether it is sharing our musical talents with each other on Christmas Eve, Christmas caroling with a group of friends or a Beatles Sing-A-Long jam session on Christmas Night, I have always loved the way music makes me feel during the holidays. I hope to continue many of these traditions and even make some more of my own in the future!

Did you set any New Year’s Resolutions for 2022?
I always come up with the same type of resolutions year after year (lose weight, exercise and be better about self-care). However, I am always disappointed when I don’t follow through. These past couple of years have taught me to let go of the past, as well as let go of expectations for the future. I’m going to focus on TODAY. This means setting up daily routines and practices that will eventually lead me down positive paths in my life. I think I need to really focus on that – letting go and just making the best of each new day.

What is the “why” for this week’s Making Magic?
The pandemic has affected our learners in ways and intensities that we didn’t initially anticipate. I hear so many facilitators expressing more concern for the social-emotional things they are seeing, than for the academic gaps that are definitely concerning as well. I wanted to make sure I was truly hearing that and seeking out practical ways to help.

This is especially relevant because of the fact that we have come so far with regards to our knowledge about the brain. The technology that has been developed over the past decade to be able to see the effects of different things on the brain via scans is incredible! There is so much research out there that it can often be overwhelming. I wanted to spotlight some of that research – ultimately leading to positive changes.

This Week’s Focus

Driving Question

How can we use strategies in the learning environment to help to calm the anxiety and stress that has surfaced due to the pandemic?

Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our learners will have difficulty accessing any curriculum if they have other, basic social-emotional needs that have not been met.  This week’s focus is to explore different strategies and techniques that could be used as a part of the learning process to help with those needs. This in turn will hopefully create an environment that is more conducive to powerful levels of learning. 


Could Mental Math Boost Emotional Health?” – Duke University

Being Makers

Being Makers

Being Makers is a team of change-making leaders from Maker Learning Network and iLEAD Schools focused on project-based learning and social-emotional growth.
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