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WTS 7 & 8 Page 1 of 20

Social Emotional Learning

Emily Klemme

Saint Marys University of Minnesota

Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs

Portfolio Entry for Wisconsin Teacher Standard 7 & 8

EDUW 693 Instructional Design and Assessment

Teresa Lien, Instructor

November 12, 2016

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WTS Descriptors and Danielson Domains

Wisconsin Teaching Standard #7: Teachers are able to plan different kinds of
The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject

matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.


The teacher understands learning theory, subject matter, curriculum development, and

student development and knows how to use this knowledge in planning instruction to

meet curriculum goals.

The teacher knows how to take contextual considerations (instructional materials,

individual student interests, needs and aptitudes, and community resources) into account

in planning instruction that creates an effective bridge between curriculum goals and

students' experiences.

The teacher knows when and how to adjust plans based on student responses and other



The teacher values both long-term and short-term planning.

The teacher believes that plans must always be open to adjustment and revision based

on student needs and changing circumstances.

The teacher values planning as a collegial activity.

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As an individual and a member of a team, the teacher selects and creates learning

experiences that are appropriate for curriculum goals, relevant to learners, and based

upon principles of effective instruction (e. g. that activate students prior knowledge,

anticipate preconceptions, encourage exploration and problem-solving, and build new

skills on those previously acquired).

The teacher plans for learning opportunities that recognize and address variation in

learning styles, learning differences, and performance modes.

The teacher creates lessons and activities that operate at multiple levels to meet the

developmental and individual needs of diverse learners and help each progress.

The teacher creates short-range and long-term plans that are linked to student needs and

performance, and adapts the plans to ensure and capitalize on student progress and


The teacher responds to unanticipated sources of input, evaluates plans in relation to

short- and long-range goals, and systematically adjusts plans to meet student needs and

enhance learning.

Wisconsin Teaching Standard #8: Teachers know how to test for student progress.

The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate

and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
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The teacher understands the characteristics, uses, advantages, and limitations of

different types of assessments (e.g. criterion-referenced and norm-referenced instruments,

traditional standardized and performance-based tests, observation systems, and

assessments of student work) for evaluating how students learn, what they know and are

able to do, and what kinds of experiences will support their further growth and


The teacher knows how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and

instruments appropriate to the learning outcomes being evaluated and to other diagnostic


The teacher understands measurement theory and assessment-related issues, such as

validity, reliability, bias, and scoring concerns.


The teacher values ongoing assessments as essential to the instructional process and

recognizes that many different assessment strategies, accurately and systematically used,

are necessary for monitoring and promoting student learning.

The teacher is committed to using assessment to identify student strengths and promote

student growth rather than to deny students access to learning opportunities.

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The teacher appropriately uses a variety of formal and informal assessment techniques

(e.g. observation, portfolios of student work, teacher-made tests, performance tasks,

projects, student self-assessments, peer assessment, and standardized tests) to enhance

her or his knowledge of learners, evaluate students progress and performances, and

modify teaching and learning strategies.

The teacher solicits and uses information about students' experiences learning behavior,

needs, and progress from parents, other colleagues, and the students themselves.

The teacher uses assessment strategies to involve learners in self-assessment activities,

to help them become aware of their strengths and needs, and to encourage them to set

personal goals for learning.

The teacher evaluates the effect of class activities on both individuals and the class as a

whole, collecting information through observation of classroom interactions, questioning,

and analysis of student work.

The teacher monitors his or her own teaching strategies and behavior in relation to

student success, modifying plans and instructional approaches accordingly.

The teacher maintains useful records of student work and performance and can

communicate student progress knowledgeably and responsibly, based on appropriate

indicators, to students, parents, and other colleagues.

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Baseline Data

Within the last year, Social Emotional Learning has been a primary focus in our After

School Program. Although I was somewhat familiar with the benefits it has in a classroom

setting, I was not fully aware of the implementation process (or exactly what was being done

during the school day), to feel confident enough to apply Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

curriculum and concepts into the After School program that I oversee. I instantly knew this was a

need for my students and was certain I was going to make this a priority for myself as well as my

staff. Without the confidence or the strong desire to teach the curriculum, it would do more harm

than good for our students.

I am currently working in a trauma-sensitive elementary school, with an extremely high

poverty rate. The overall well-being of several of the students is a concern for the educators I

work with. Students are lacking basic coping skills, empathy, emotional resilience, and

communication skills. Resolving conflict (in a positive way) is difficult for many students. To

me, Social Emotional Learning was certainly a way to address these concerns. There was very

little doubt that students were being taught these skills in the home.

Social Emotional Learning addresses the need to help students build skills that calm

themselves when angry, resolve conflicts in a positive way, and make ethical and safe choices.

This in turn allows students to form better relationships with both adults and classmates.

Circle Time (Circles), Second-Step Curriculum, and the DESSA assessment tool are

ways that the After School programs promotes Social Emotional Learning. Circle Time is

evidence-based and serves as a framework to build social emotional skills, while building (and

improving) relationships. The use of circles in a classroom is shown to be extremely effective,

when implemented daily and used purposefully. When circles are used after school, we ask
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students to sit in a circle on the carpet, while the facilitator asks one to two questions to all the

students. The facilitator is fully involved in the activity and ensures students understand the rules

before the start of the activity. Rules and expectations are set for Circle Time by the students (to

incorporate student voice into the activity). If students are helping to set the rules, students are

more willing to follow them. These rules include:

1. One student speaking at a time (The only student speaking is the student

holding the talking piece)

2. Eyes watching, Ears listening, Voice Volume at a 0 (keeping hands and feet to


3. Speaking respectfully

4. Passing the talking piece respectfully

5. Allowing others to pass (come back to them at the end if choose)

6. Answering the questions in 5 words or less

Questions should be planned ahead of time and have a purpose. Instead of asking: what

do you want to be when you grow up or what did you do this weekend?, ask questions like:

what problems do you want to solve (in your school or in your community)? or what does it

mean to be a good friend?. Questions asked during circles should get students thinking and

promote self-confidence, empathy, respect, and build healthy relationships. Preparing particular

students with the question ahead of time can prevent them from shutting-down during Circle

Time or choosing to pass instead of participate.

Second-Step is a boxed curriculum that instills social-emotional skills in students with the

use of picture cards, puppets, videos, role-playing, and discussion cards. Students in our program
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respond extremely well to the lessons and I have seen students interact more positively towards

others throughout the year. Unlike Circle Time, Second-Step is a more in-depth lesson with a

daily focus (e.g., empathy, teamwork, feelings, and self-esteem).

This past year, the After School program has utilized The Devereux Student Strengths

Assessment (DESSA) to collect data on all of the students we serve. The data collected from the

DESSA shows the impact that Circle Time and Second-Step have on our students. The DESSA

is a 72 item-standardized norm-referenced behavior rating scale that assesses social-emotional

competencies. Program staff in the After School program assess the students they work with

(usually by grade level), after four weeks of the student attending the program. They are asked to

answer never, rarely, occasionally, frequently, or very frequently to each of the 72

item assessment questions. The full DESSA assessment is shown in Artifact A. The assessment

questions include:

1. Does student carry himself/herself with confidence?

2. Does student keep trying when unsuccessful?

3. Does student get along with different types of people?

4. Does student encourage positive behavior in others?

Although I have a better understanding of Social Emotional Learning and feel confident

developing and delivering the curriculum, I would like to understand what we can do with the

data that we collect from the DESSA assessment, specifically how we can target individual

students to improve their score. We have recently seen the results of the DESSA assessment

from the 2015-2016 school year and are just beginning to complete the fall assessment for the

2016-2017 school year. While several students in the program this school year are new members,
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there are many returning students that I can focus on to improve this years DESSA score.

Besides completing the DESSA for grant purposes, and being able to see the growth that each

student has made during the year, there seems to be lacking a next step. What can we do to help

students that did not show growth in certain areas of the assessment? How can we fill these

gaps? What can educators do with the data collected from the assessment tool?

Research Summary

Social Emotional Learning has been shown to impact academic performance and

behavior in schools. Students are more motivated to learn and able to focus when caring

relationships are formed and there is a positive outlet to relieve stress. Researchers define Social

Emotional Learning with five key competencies, which include: self-awareness, self-

management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. These

competencies are the groundwork for maintaining healthy relationships and responding to

challenging situations in life. Social Emotional Learning interventions are shown to reduce

aggression in students, improved positive attitudes towards self and others, and encouraged

students to be helpful towards one another. There is more time for learning when aggression and

distress are successfully managed in the classroom through Social Emotional Learning programs.

When students can manage their emotions, they are being set up for lifelong success. Students

can overcome obstacles and become responsible citizens well into their adult life. Ultimately,

students are less likely to engage in criminal activity, will have better mental and physical health,

and will achieve success in their career.

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I spoke to a 2nd grade teacher and a special education teacher in the school that I work at

about their experience with Social Emotional Learning and how it is implemented during the

school day. Prior to coming to the school, behaviors were tough to manage and the social

relationships were far from positive. The stressful environment prevented students from learning

and they lacked respect for students and school staff. PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and

Supports) is being implemented and students are held accountable for their action, which has

certainly resulted in a more positive and safe learning environment, however, no Social

Emotional Learning curriculum is currently being implemented during the school day. The

Zones of Regulation is a program that the special education teachers focus on primarily, to target

behavior and teach students about their emotions (including how to manage them). There are

four zones, each narrowing in on how a student is feeling and working with the student on a

more positive approach to handle difficult obstacles/events in the future. The Zones of

Regulation are:

Blue Zone: Sad, Sick, Tired, Bored, Moving Slowly

Green Zone: Happy, Calm, Feeling Okay, Focused, Ready to Learn

Yellow Zone: Frustrated, Worried, Silly/Wiggly, Excited, Loss of Some Control

Red Zone: Mad/Angry, Mean, Terrified, Yelling/Hitting, Out of Control

To better understand the different perspectives in each zone, there are activities that

teachers can work on with students so they can recognize how their behavior/actions makes

others feel, what other students might be thinking, and what others might say. When students are

in the yellow or red zone, they can try different strategies/tools to move out of that zone.

Artifacts B1 and B2 show students that I have chosen to work closely with on the Zones of
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Regulation. With the DESSA assessment being given to students in the fall and then again in the

spring, being able to see the growth of the students last year gave me a better idea of who I can

work with more closely this year. These two students that I chose frequently move from the

Green Zone to the Red Zone and do not currently have the coping strategies to deal with their

Red Zone emotions (Mad/Angry, Mean, Terrified, Yelling/Hitting/Out of Control). They have

both started a toolbox tracking log (included in Artifact C1 and C2) to help manage their

emotions and keep them occupied on something (a small object) when they start to feel the

different emotions that fall into the Yellow Zone and Red Zones.


Both students have successfully been using the tools that they are tracking and students

are starting to identify their emotions and place themselves in the correct Zone of Regulation

after two weeks of implementing the program. We discussed how the tools are not to be used as

toys and that they were only to be used when their emotions were approaching the Red Zone. I

overheard one of the students tell another student (that asked to have a turn playing with the

object): this is not a toy, its a tool and tell the student that he needed it to help him calm down.

I also witnessed one of the tools being used to hit another students paper when he got upset, so

we took some time to discuss how the tools are used. Both boys were very receptive to the Zones

of Regulation and I am considering implementing the program with all students after school with

a bit more training and after more time is spent with the two boys I am currently working with.
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It was extremely beneficial to learn more about the Zones of Regulation and implement it

into the After School Program. I did not expect the tools and resources to have such an impact on

the students that I currently work with. I anticipated more challenges than I encountered and

have observed these two students to be more successful after school with this implementation.

Now that I see the success in the two students I can feel more comfortable putting the Zones of

Regulation in place for all students enrolled in the program. Knowing this program is not taking

place during the school day, I look forward to collaborating with the students classroom

teachers to hopefully put these same processes in place during the day. I am going to continue to

advocate for more Social Emotional Learning curriculum (such as Second-Step and Circle Time)

to be used during the school day since the results show from the 2015-2016 DESSA results, it is

clearly benefiting students.

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Artifact A
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Artifact B-1
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Artifact B-2
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Artifact C-1
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Artifact C-2