SELFie Day!

By: Naomi Hamburger and Jordan Drosd, Fifth Grade West Teachers
As fifth graders anticipated their final trimester of lower school, they spent a day away from academics to focus on social-emotional learning. The fifth grade held the sixth annual SELFie Day (Social and Emotional Learning for Fifthies!), an in-house retreat to build community and construct understanding of the fundamentals of SEL: self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. 
Contextually, SELFie Day followed our beginning-of-year personal identity explorations, puberty education with Well Beyond Academics, and our contemporary history curriculum through which the students investigated how their individual experiences define how they understand and shape the world. SELFie Day is also part of the fifthies’ runway toward our spring trimester goal-setting. 

Fifth through eighth grade school counselor Stephan kicked off the retreat with a keynote address to introduce the five SEL domains to the students, as well as how these areas apply to their lives as 10- and 11-year olds. Stephan oriented the students to the areas of focus for this year’s SELFie: self awareness and social awareness. For the self awareness breakout session, fifthies met in small groups around campus and engaged in introspective journaling and a “live wire” check-in to model their emotional patterns with pipe cleaners. The students analyzed the lyrics to Luisa’s song Surface Pressure from the movie Encanto to explore stress, as well as represented their outward-facing emotional expression and their deeper internal feelings on an iceberg diagram. The latter part of the day was more boisterous in our social awareness workshop groups when the students playfully tested who they are in a group and how they can contribute as leaders, followers, collaborators, observers, and more. Teams were tasked with a cooperative challenge to move their teammates across an imaginary river with a limited set of rocks to stand on. Finally, SELFie scholars closed out their retreat time by sending a note of appreciation to an assigned buddy in their group, noticing something kind or brave that their teammates did during the workshops.

Team Five is hoping for SELFie part II later this spring. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this fabulous Steven Universe tune, “Here Comes a Thought,” that Stephan introduced to the fifthies, as they thought about how different emotional challenges and coping strategies come up in their daily lives at school.


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