Have you ever had a student, or a small group of students create a challenging environment in your classroom? Social-emotional learning (SEL) activities can help young people change for the better, and the results can be profound for other students as well. SEL provides benefits beyond student success at school and life; it can have a positive influence on you and your well-being, too.
The variety of recent stressors make peaceful and well-paced learning a challenge to say the least. Young people who have something to say but who feel powerless or angry might express their feelings with destructive behavior. When a student is mired in doubt, anxiety, or sadness, those feelings can show up in every area of their lives, including your classroom.
The key to successful social-emotional learning is creativity.
In tough times and good, the hands are always looking for something meaningful to do. Troublesome emotions can make adolescents restless. But when a student engages in creative SEL and makes something—a reflective journal entry, a drawing, a playlist of songs, or a workable plan to prepare for an exam—troublesome emotions have a safe space for release. This release makes room for more positive feelings, leading to more positive interactions with you and their peers.
A useful SEL program can and should bring a sense of calm, relief, playfulness, and self-awareness to you and your classroom. When educators immerse in emotion and self-reflective content, it gently supports them to reflect on and improve their own social-emotional experience. Engaging with emotional content can offer a more positive effect on the way you think, feel, and behave. Social emotional learning–particularly when it invites you to create–can have a profound impact on your wellbeing both in and out of the classroom.
If you need something to change, your students need it, too.
One in four students are experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms, and youth emergency psychiatric visits for depression, anxiety, and behavioral challenges increased by 28 percent in just four years, according to a recent US Surgeon General Advisory.
Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery helps teens work together or independently to uncover, deal with, and resolve difficult emotions creatively. Young people discover how to move from darkness into light, learn from their inner struggles and gain the tools for making the most of a great day.
Introducing the Dream Up Now Leader’s Guide. Because the time for real change is NOW.
The new Dream Up Now Leader’s Guide is intended for educators, counselors, and other caring adults to support young people in using Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery as a tool to work through fluctuating emotions, know themselves better, and create healthy and meaningful lives. You can use this free guide to support teens working individually or in a small group. The guide provides background and need-to-know information about Dream Up Now and how it benefits students, offers suggestions for preparing to guide the activities, presents a template for conducting a group circle meeting, and discusses some key considerations for working with teens as they explore and share emotions.
The free guide includes a sample agenda, free printables, and an overview of all the emotion sets and activities. Best of all, it includes information to support you and your creativity too.
How Does Dream Up Now Address the CASEL 5 Core Competencies?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) highlights five essential areas for academic and relationship success. They are:
1. Self-awareness. By helping students identify, describe, and regulate their emotional responses, Dream Up Nowbuilds students’ sense of identity and confidence in their ability to learn, overcome challenges, and influence the world around them. Dream Up Now calms anxious or agitated students.
2. Self-management. Dream Up Now groups can improve attendance and increase school attachment by improving student organizational, problem-solving, and time-management skills. Using engaging creative activities, students identify goals and create a viable plan to accomplish them, while improving impulse control and stress management.
3. Social awareness. Students who are lonely, isolated, or wishing to get plugged in are served by increasing emotional intelligence. Consider how the tone of your classroom would change if students struggling with stress or pressure self-directed their own coping strategies.
4. Relationship skills. Dream Up Now groups foster a sense of community and inclusion, including teamwork and sharing, and the ability to establish and repair relationships.
5. Responsible decision-making. By promoting the cognitive regulation skills critical to decision making and problem solving through creativity, Dream Up Now helpsyoung people learn to make constructive choices, and gain autonomy and a sense of accomplishment.
Including SEL in your classroom allows you and your students to witness positive change. By exchanging time wasted on emotional stress for creative social-emotional engagement, students learn coping skills and competencies, build resilience, and improve their relationships. Educators reinforce learn these skills as they teach them, and benefit from a calmer, more cooperative learning environment.
With insights and inspiration from 18 diverse leaders in the arts, education, and emotional wellness sectors, Dream Up Now guides teens to use emotional and social wellness skills to move from dark, challenging emotions to light, empowering ones. Students engage in SEL activities within the pages of the Dream Up Now journal that help them transform difficult emotions such as confusion, perfectionism, pressure, or anxiety and to make space for pursuing the feelings they want to have more often, like confidence, worth, hope, and passion.
You may worry that providing space for SEL to help teens manage their emotions takes time you just don’t have. Consider the time that emotionally charged misbehavior takes up during the school day. Dream Up Now can incrementally replace those incidents with calm, explorative creativity. Consider time wasted by student apathy, emotional distraction, or sadness. Imagine replacing it with playful, self-directed goal setting.
Change may be the only constant, but isn’t it time for change that decreases stress and trauma—for both young people and adults? Engaging with creative SEL activities can help teens take control of sometimes wild emotions, and the result is a happier, more efficient, and joyful life. And those results are contagious.
Module 1.1 – How Dream Up Now Works
Module 1.2 – The Power of Making Art to Express Emotions
Module 1.3 – Do Teens Really Want to Attend an Arts-based, Social-Emotional Workshop?
Module 1.4 Implement and Share
Module 2.1 – How to Organize a Standalone Workshop
Module 2.2 – How to Organize A Three-Hour Pop-Up Camp
Module 2.3 – The Big Idea
Module 2.4 – Implement and Share
Module 3.1 – What is Circle Time
Module 3.2 – Circle Time Guide: The Mindset Shift
Module 3.3 – Your Feedback Sets the Tone
The EMOTE Feedback Method
Module 3.4 – Implement and Share
Module 4.1 – Make a Plan For Success
Module 4.2 – Key Observations for Leaders
Module 4.3 – Tell Your Own Artist Story
Module 4.4 Implement and Share
Module 5.1 – We Are What We Repeatedly Do — For Better Or Worse
Module 5.2 – Self-Care
Module 5.3 – Create a Customized Self-Care Pentagon
Module 5.3 – The Self-Care Pentagon
Module 5.4 – Implement and Share
Module 6.1 – Getting Started and Building Community
Module 6.2 – An Overview of All the Emotions Sets, Bonus Pages and Resources
Module 6.3 – Create Your Workshop Blueprint
Module 6.4 – Schedule Your Live Certification Webinar!
Micro Goal Record
Summation Word Record
Checklist of Leader Characteristics
The Big Idea (poster)
Leadership Tools for Your Life and Your School
Best Stuff in the World (exclusive Bonus Page)
Who Am I (exclusive Bonus Page)
(Re)Write The Script (exclusive Bonus Page)
Case Study – Measure your success
About the Authors