The TCL Blog

Deep Breathing Exercises for the Classroom


Increases focus, alleviates stress, decreases symptoms of anxiety, improves the quality of sleep, and relieves pain…deep breathing exercises provide a myriad of benefits. Breathing exercises are free, relatively easy to learn, do not take much time to complete, and can be done anytime and anywhere – including the classroom.

Deep breathing is a proactive habit that student...

SEL-Focused Back to School Activities


As usual, the summer seems to be going by far too quickly. Even with plenty of sand left in the hourglass of summer, I start feeling the back-to-school jitters every August.

Focusing on the social and emotional learning (SEL) needs of students – as well as my own needs – has always been a helpful and comforting way for me to transition into back-to-school mode. This articl...

Read Across America 2022


Happy 118th birthday, Dr. Seuss! In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, people across the country will be celebrating by reading good books. National Read Across America Day was established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help promote the joy of reading for children. As it turns out however, establishing reading habits early in life can provide potential lifel...

January is National Mentoring Month


January has been proclaimed National Mentoring Month - a time to celebrate and honor educators, administrators, coaches, parents, community leaders, and others who support and help individuals reach their full potential.

Marian Wright Edelman, an American activist for children’s rights, noted, “It is the responsibility of every adult – especially parents, educators,...

More Teacher-Recommended SEL Activities and Resources


Lisa Xagas, District 203 Director of Student Service, said it best, “SEL is not one more thing on the plate, it is the plate.”

We understand your proverbial plate is overflowing already. We also know how much educators value social and emotional learning (SEL), so we’ve compiled another list of teacher-recommended resources and strategies t...

Stop, Think, and Write: A Behavior & Mind Management Strategy


My 5-year-old son, Abe (who is typically a kind boy), recently started hitting his 3-year-old brother. The physical aggression seemed to stem from impulsivity, frustration, or a combination of both. When my response of a time-out, followed by a verbal apology wasn’t working, I knew I had to figure out a different approach. 

I continued with the time-out (quiet time to...

How ACEs Impact Students in School


Julie lived in a small trailer home with her mother, her older brother, and her mother’s boyfriend. (Her father was incarcerated for repeated drug charges.)  I was Julie’s special education case manager and teacher for most of her elementary school years. She and her brother often got themselves up and ready for school every day while their mother (who reportedly suffered from...

Classroom Calendar Connections – October 2019


National Bullying Prevention Awareness, Fire Prevention Week, ADHD Awareness, Dyslexia Awareness, and so much more! October is a busy month, full of valuable learning opportunities for students and educators. Provided below are some note-worthy resources and activities to recognize a few of the many events this month.

National Bullying Prevention Awareness
The first Monday of e...

Weaving Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into Your Teaching Practices


My grandmother, a former teacher, recently passed away (July 11, 2019) - living a full and active life of 105 years. She was my inspiration for becoming a teacher, and we had a countless number of conversations about teaching and how things have changed from then to now. (She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Wisconsin in the 1930s and 194...

Trust, Safety, Challenge, and Joy: Fostering a Classroom Culture Ideal for Collaboration


As teachers we’re encouraged to work together and share expertise, energy, and inspiration with the common goal of increasing student engagement and success in our schools. Research supports benefits associated with teacher collaboration including more creative and meaningful lesson plans, shared responsibility for student achievement, improved staff morale/career satisfaction, and an inc...

Social and Emotional Learning Part 4 of 5: 5 Strategies to Improve Relationship Skills in the Classroom


Maintaining friendships, asking for help, working cooperatively, etc. - interpersonal skills are a critical component of the development of children. When students demonstrate strong relationship skills, instructional time increases while conflicts, arguing, and fighting decreases. Class cohesion increases self-confidence among students as they help one another and interact positively with adul...

Social and Emotional Learning- Part 1 of 5: Self-Management Strategies in the Classroom


Happy 2019! Are you staying on track with your New Year’s resolutions? As I type, I have a large glass of water next to my mouse, and I am resisting the strong temptation of the remaining Christmas cookies and other holiday goodies in my pantry. After all, this blog post is about self-management, so I’m trying to practice what I preach.

As defined by the Collaborative for...

Promoting Positive Behaviors: There’s a Children’s Book for That


When working with students on kindness, empathy, friendship, and other positive behaviors, sometimes the characters from children’s stories say it best:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -The Lion and the Mouse

“If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew.” -Pocahontas


Addressing Back-to-School Anxiety: An Interview with a Veteran School Psychologist


As a teacher with summers “off”, August has always felt like a long Sunday. June is the excitement of a Friday with the whole weekend ahead. July is a Saturday with plenty of time to relax, reconnect with old friends, explore new places, and maybe catch up on DIY projects at home. As the calendar flips to August, however, the realization of - and the anxiety associated with - return...

Mindfulness: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Classroom


Imagine coming to your neighborhood middle school one morning to find three dead bodies dumped in the schoolyard. This is exactly what students experienced one morning when coming to Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco.

As shocking as this might sound, the children at Visitacion were used to murder. Barry O’Driscoll, the school’s head of physical education (PE...