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Teaching Social Emotional Awareness in Kindergarten

 Teaching Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness in Kindergarten can be intimidating, but I have found some helpful tools that can make it simple and inviting for the students to get to know how to express and label their emotions, calm down when upset, and learn how to be mindful of their feelings.

My favorite book to introduce emotions is The Color Monster.  I love this book because it starts out with introducing 5 emotions: calm (the goal for all students to have the best chance for academic focus and success), happy, fear, anger, and sadness.  These are basic emotions to get the topic started on what emotions are and why we feel them sometimes.

Book overview: The book is about a little monster that is all mixed up and feels his emotions all jumbled.  He learns to separate his feelings by color and put them in a jar.  This allows for a great discussion to talk with the students about what each feeling is.  

Once you read the book with your class (or pull it up on YouTube) I have some activities that accompany the book that you can use whole group, small groups, etc.

Find all of these resources in my STORE.
Students can sort different experiences that they might encounter at school according to how it would make them feel.  They can even have a Play Dough emotions mat in-front of them and make the face on the mat to match their response.  I included little color monster crafts where the students can pick from one of the 5 Color Monster Crafts and then write about their feelings on one of the jars.
This feelings flip book is perfect to have the student identify different feelings.  It is a perfect discussion starter to let the students know we ALL feel different emotions at different times, and that is ok!

I've found that teaching my students how to work together as a team will often offset conflict in my classroom. Most arguments start when students are trying to complete a task together and someone has a hard time working together.  The thing is, young learners need to be explicitly taught HOW to work together.  We can't assume that they enter school with social skills that can allow them to successfully work well in a group....especially when it isn't fee play and an academic task is involved.  Here are some ideas on how to introduce and teach teamwork to your students:

When students start to feel frustrated or upset it's important for them to be able to know WHY they are frustrated.  But first, students need to be mindful of their body and change in feelings before they even can label their emotions and then decide on a solution on how to resolve it.

Once students have been taught to notice cues in their body to tell them they have changing emotions, then can then work on labeling their feelings. Our goal for academic success and participation in class is for each student to be calm during instructional time.  Any other emotion can be distracting or throw their attention and mood off of instruction and onto something else.  You could have a daily check in, where the students share with you how they are feeling.

If students find themselves feeling anything other than calm you can provide a calm space in your room for the students to "calm down" (I would suggest looking on Pinterest for "calm down corner" examples).  Once they remove themselves from the group, they can check in and determine what they can do to reach a calm state.

Lastly, often times when the students are frustrated it is because there was an incident that happened at school in which there was conflict with another student.  It's important to teach your class how to resolve conflict with one another so they can have a safe atmosphere where they know a resolution can be reached when someone hurts their feelings.  As well as, they know they are responsible for apologizing and fixing the problem if they hurt a classmate.

If you are interested in the resources that I shared, you can check out The Color Monster Book Buddy that includes everything in this post!

Grab the resource HERE.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Craft and Activities: Book Buddy

Use this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom craft and activities to accompany the read aloud, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! This Chicka Chicka Boom Boom resource has minimal prep and will give your students extra practice with the alphabet. 

There are 6 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities included so you could use these for your weekly center rotation or just pick and choose which activities you want to use during the week!

Here is what is included:
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom craft
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom bulletin board letters
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom magnetic letter match: upper and lowercase options
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom letter cut and paste: upper and lowercase options
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut letter center: upper and lower case options to trace or write the letters
-Chicka Chicha Boom Boom sequencing: cut and paste
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom hat template

I hope you enjoy this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom mini unit, you can grab it in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

Taking the #PaperMatePledge to Support Box Tops for Education™

Join me this back to school season in taking the #PaperMatePledge. Paper Mate ® will be partnering with Box Tops for Education™, a program that helps invest in local schools through the purchase of select, everyday consumer goods. 

Paper Mate ® is the only writing utensil brandparticipating in Box Tops for Education™, giving both parents and teachers an easy way to give back to their local schools by taking the #PaperMatePledge. 

While you are doing your back to school shopping, kill two birds with one stone and support your local school while you are enjoying your favorite Paper Mate ® pens and pencils! 

Take the #PaperMatePledge and purchase Paper Mate ® products this back-to-school season to support Box Tops for Education™ - all while crossing an item off your school supplies shopping list. 

Paper Mate ® is my favorite writing utensil so I am EXCITED they are partnering with Box Tops for Education™ so I can give back while still enjoying my Flair pen obsession.

Messenger Kids at Home

Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app designed for kids to connect with close friends and family from their tablet or smartphone. Kids can only connect with parent-approved contacts, which creates a more controlled environment. Group or one-on-one video calls with loved ones are more fun with interactive masks, reactions and sound effects.  I wanted you to know about Messenger Kids to try it out at home, so you can let your little one(s) connect with family and friends in a safe environment.   For us, Harry loves video chatting with our family.  As he gets older, he asks to chat with certain family members.  This app gives him the freedom to pick which family member he wants to call for that day!  If you have older children this would be a GREAT option to allow your child(ren) to connect with family and friends, while making sure they are in a controlled and safe environment.  Read more to learn some details about how Messenger Kids works!

The kids chat with Messenger Kids and the adults can chat through their Facebook Messenger app!  The kids don't need a Facebook account, they can chat with friends and loved ones through the Messenger Kids app.

Messenger Kids is a safe and fun messaging app for kids.  It isn't a social media app, rather a messaging app!  Messenger Kids has safety features that give control to the parents.  Parents control their child's contact list by approving all contacts, they can only chat with people their parent (or guardian) has approved, making Messenger Kids safer and a more controlled environment.  One feature that is important to me is their content never disappears or can be hidden. Parents can set "off times" to manage their child's screen time, as well.

Parents, and approved adults, like grandparents, can video chat and message with their kids through their existing Messenger Facebook app. No additional app download is needed for whoever they are chatting with!  Messenger Kids allows kids to message and video call using Wi-Fi so they don't need a phone number.

For us, we don't get to see our family members daily, or even weekly, so this is a fun and safe way for me to let Harry connect with family members that we don't see constantly.  Some entertaining features on Messenger Kids are there is a feature-filled camera where kids can create fun videos and decorate photos to share moments with loved ones.  There are kid-appropriate masks, frames, stickers, and GIFs to spark conversation and laughter with friends, classmates, and family!

Here are the steps if you want to get started with Messenger Kids:
Parents can get their child started with safe messaging & video chat in four steps.
1.    Download the Messenger Kids app to your child’s Wi-Fi enabled phone or tablet.
2.    Authenticate your child’s device using your Facebook login.This will not create a Facebook account for your child.
3.    Create an account for your child by adding their name. Then the phone or tablet can be handed over to your kid so they can start safely chatting with family and friends you approve.
4.    Parental controls are available in the Parent Portal in your main Facebook app.Through the Parent Portal you can monitor who your kids chat and text with by adding and approving contacts and setting on and off times through our Sleep Mode feature.
Messenger Kids is free
and available in the iOS App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, in the Amazon Appstore for Fire tablets, and on Google Play for all other Android devices.

Please note that I am a blog ambassador for Messenger Kids and I am compensated for my blog post, but all ideas are mine. :)