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Anchor Day 1 Summer 18

Day One (AM): Social Emotional Literacy

Culture and Climate 

Social Emotional Literacy: the ability to manage emotions and navigate group interactions to build a community of learners 
Session Focus Question: What does it take to create a school culture that brings in all voices and values to the learning such that it creates a climate that fosters growth, compassion, and connection?


  • Understand the cognitive impact social emotional literacy has on students’ ability to learn.

  • Learn and experience rituals and routines that build connections with and among students to effectively support their social emotional well-being and psychological safety based on CASEL

  • Know CASEL’s five competencies of Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Debbi Arseneaux, Moonshot Institute Program Manager and Teaching Artist with The Learning Alliance, kicks off the day by highlighting the objectives for the week.


Participants were greeted when they arrived and had their picture taken. These were used later in the morning in an exercise to further explore their identity through writing and art.

SMILE and picture this . . .

"My goal was to learn how to incorporate social emotional components into literacy lessons. I learned how to tie the lessons into even small group activities, to help students self reflect and regulate. - Participant Comment

Setting Intentions

In response to Malala's words, "One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world," participants took a few moments to reflect on a child who they would like to impact, a teacher who impacted them, and an inspirational book. They wrote these on strips of colored paper and hung them on the Cordel as a way to frame their intentions of the experience for the week.

Moonshot Mindful Morning Routine

Leslie Connelly, The Learning Alliance's Educational Specialist, kicked off the morning with a Moonshot Mindful Morning Routine to Unite, Disengage Stress, Connect and Commit.  

"I am going to fight for a set time for a morning routine."
- Participant Feedback

The goal of the Activity to Unite is to bring the scattered energy of the room into a more, cohesive whole. We started by having everyone dance to the song "Do You Believe in Magic?" and introduce themselves to each other when the music would stop. 

The Activity to Disengage Stress is a chance to practice breathing and resetting the nervous system to be more mindful and ready to learn. We called this breath "Peace Out" to connect to a main theme of the book. 

The Activity to Connect is a chance for students to connect one on one. As Dr. Becky Bailey says, "Connections are made through eye contact, touch, presence, and a playful situation." So in Buddy Up, participants were given a prompt to discuss the story of their name with a partner.


The Activity to Commit is about goal setting and establishing accountability from day to day. Participants made a group commitment related to the goals for the day, and a personal commitment about their own learning journey. 

A Moonshot Talk with Liz Remington:

Learning is a Connection Project, Part 1

Liz Remington, Co-Founder of The Learning Alliance and Director of Professional Development

The Brain State Players demonstrate the 3 states of the brain: Survival, Emotional and Executive.

Based on the Conscious Discipline approach developed by Becky Bailey.

How do we grow compassion and create connections with our students? Why is it critical to create the conditions for students to feel safe and loved? Liz Remington tackled these questions in this Moonshot Talk. Participants learned that it starts with our brains. Without the right connections, students are simply not available to learn. 

"A brain in pain cannot learn."  

It is the educator's job to help move students from their survival state to their executive state in order for learning to occur.

Bringing Students' Voices and Values to the Classroom 

Micro-storytelling. Participants paired up and shared stories with each other using prompts to think about their childhood such as a favorite meal, a treasured item, or a favorite place. This activity is a quick way for students to share their own stories and to connect with each other around a topic that relates to the text. This helps to create "thick air" around the big ideas of the book. 

Where I'm From Poems. Participants are given time to write their own poems using prompts based on the George Ella Lyon poem, "Where I'm From." The previous micro-storytelling activity helped to prime their thinking for this writing exercise.

"I connected with educators from many different background and skill sets. It was equal parts gratifying to be a leader in some groups and a learner in others." - Participant Feedback

Photographic Portraits. Kurt Wootton introduced the work of photographer Wendy Ewald on how to bring the voices and values of students into the classroom. Participants wrote their "Where I'm From" poems on their photographs that were taken in the morning. 

Kurt Wootton is the Co-Founder of the Arts Literacy Project at Brown University and Director of Habla: Center for Language and Culture in Merida, Mexico.

Day One (PM): Social Emotional Literacy

Connected Learning

Social Emotional Literacy: the ability to manage emotions and navigate group interactions to build a community of learners 
Session Focus Question: How can we design learner-centered experiences to ensure that students feel safe, emotional invested, and connected to the content and each other?


  • Demonstrate the ability to structure and deliver instruction that allows students to increase their self-regulation skills and build connections with each other and the curriculum.   

  • Understand the importance of activities that support planning, sequencing, problem solving, memory, attention and reflection to grow Executive Functioning skills that lead to effective Self-Regulation.

  • Understand that self-regulation foster resiliency, creativity, compassion, and the cognitive flexibility required to be successful in the 21st Century.

Self-Regulation: Me Want It

Who better to sing about self-regulation than the Cookie Monster. The afternoon kicked off with an adorable video that could be used in the classroom and adults like it too!

Self-Regulation: Just Breathe

Watch this powerful video by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman of Wavecrest Films and hear students express how they relate to their emotions in their own words. Imagine a world in which all people have these critical self-regulation skills.

A Moonshot Talk with Liz Remington:

Learning is a Connection Project, Part 2

Liz Remington presented on the power of play to help students learn. She shared some of the large body of research that indicates that play is not a nice to have, it's a MUST have for learning. Children learn through play. The job of educators is to make play intentional so that learning can occur.

"I think my biggest takeaway of the week is that it's okay to make learning fun - it's okay to incorporate "play" into the classroom." - Participant Feedback

Playing with Text

Sculpture Garden. 

Participants work in pairs to create sculptures with their bodies based on text from Malala's and the Magic Pencil. This activity develops self-regulation while previewing vocabulary and connecting to the curriculum content.


Instant Sculptures. 

In groups, participants create tableaux in 10 seconds or less, without talking, in response to phrases from Malala's and the Magic Pencil.  They must communicate, collaborate, and comprehend.

Inquiry to Drive Instruction

Kurt Wootton presented on how inquiry is a natural driver of learning. He reported that knowing how to ask the right questions is more important than having all the answers.

Kurt introduced "thinking routines" from Harvard's Project Zero. Thinking routines are an excellent way to tap into students' curiosity and help students generate questions, and to help educators understand the thinking of their students.

Attendees participated in a thinking routine called Think, Puzzle, Explore. After viewing a short video clip on Malala, participants were asked what they think they know, what puzzles they have and what they would like to explore further.

They then wrote their thoughts on strips of paper and added them to an Inquiry Wall, a variation on the Cordel practice. 


Reflection and Transfer

The day wrapped up with reflection and discussion of how educators could transfer what they learned into the classroom.


Pictures from Day 1

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