Evendale Elementary School Caring Community Video Transcript

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We're building a positive classroom community at Evendale through social-emotional learning. Stay tuned to find out more!

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Narrator: Evendale Elementary School is addressing social-emotional learning this year by implementing the Caring Schools Community Program.

Elizabeth Mistretta: The Caring Schools Community Program is a program that comes from the
Center for the Collaborative Classroom which is a non-profit organization. It is a structured approach that really just gives the teachers the tools to develop their classroom community in a way that connects students, as well as the adults to the students and really fosters a positive learning environment. The idea behind social-emotional learning is that we're teaching children how to understand their emotions, how to communicate with one another, kind of those soft-skills that you'll hear about, that you're actually providing a structured opportunity for students to learn about those topics.

Narrator: Morning and afternoon classroom circles which are used to help students and adults better connect at the beginning and end of each school day are a major component of the effort.

Elizabeth Mistretta: So, morning circle is the first thing the students engage in in the day. They come together, they sit around the circle, with the adults in the classroom as well. They start with a greeting, they go on to the schedule for the day and then the announcements the teacher has, and then there's some sort of activity that centers around building the classroom community.

Lily Ferris: In morning circle in our class we kind of stand up and we say our names, then the next person will do that and then the next person.

Hailey Williams: It has helped us learn better because we'll work better together. Like, if we disagree we'll be a little more nicer to each other, like, I don't think that's right, we'll be more like, well actually, I think this is the answer. We're not, like, barking at each other.

Narrator: In addition to the morning and afternoon circles, buddy classrooms have been established to help students across different grade levels better connect.

Elizabeth Mistretta: Yeah, we have buddy classrooms in K-5, so kindergarten and third grade, first and fourth, and then third and fifth graders all have a buddy classroom. They meet about once a month. The purpose of the buddy classroom is so that students can gain the benefits of working together in multi-age groups, and what they do is they participate in structured activity each month and students are paired up within those buddy classrooms, so it also gives them an opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with another child in the school.

Lily Ferris: Or, like, when my class, Miss Jenette's class goes to Mrs. Hathaway's class we normally do crafts or we just talk about our favorite things.

Hailey Williams: Working with the younger kids brings back good memories to me of being a first grader. It also reminds me of stuff that maybe I did in first grade that I've kind of forgotten to do as I've gotten older.

Elizabeth Mistretta: What we like to see is those skills that are coming out of morning circle in particular, or those buddy classrooms really embedded into instruction on a daily basis. So, we're hoping that in the next three to five years that we really see students being able to use those skills in all settings, not just in the morning circle.

Lily Ferris: This has helped our school because everyone has got to know other people. We've gotten more kind, we have more friends now. It makes school more fun to come to.

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