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Empowering Classrooms: School as a Context for Discovering and Doing What Matters

Date: Tuesday - April 10, 2018
Time: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Location: Village Community School

Audience: Teachers, Department Chairs, and Administrators, grades 6-12

Instead of creating disconnected SEL lessons, we can use the academic tasks our students already do—their assignments, projects, performances, and conversations—as opportunities for social-emotional learning. In a physical science class, a project on building bridges can be a context for learning how to collaborate. In history, writing a paper on the French Revolution can be a context for opening up about what matters. In art, revising a drawing can be a context for learning to persist in the face of struggle. Not only are students doing meaningful academic, artistic, and athletic work; they’re also learning how they want to treat their learning, their work, themselves, each other, and their world.

In this highly experiential day-long workshop, participants will learn how to create contexts for meaningful social-emotional learning in class. Informed by evidence-based psychological science, the workshop will involve drawing, food metaphors, relational frame theory, making stuff you can use, serious discussions about values and vulnerabilities, and empowering students to become the people they want to be. To honor the diversity among students and subjects—and to honor your personal background and professional expertise—we’ll discuss how to adapt these strategies so they work in your context.

Our Agenda

Introduction: How can academic learning become a context for social-emotional learning?

Part I: How can we embed opportunities for meaningful social-emotional learning in our academic units?

  • Beginning a unit as a context for perspective-taking: Questions to Elicit Meaning-Making

  • Learning new material as a context for appreciating each other: Share-Track-Sayback

  • Reviewing material as a context for exploring values: The Emotions and Values Audit

  • Doing a project as a context for opening up: Help Seeking

  • Working in a group as a context for prosocial decision-making: How I Want to Be in a Group

  • Responding to feedback as a context for developing the willingness to struggle: Grades Cartoons

Part II: How can we design units that serve academic and social-emotional learning goals?

  • Curriculum Design Challenge

  • Curriculum Design Charrette

Closing: How can we empower our students and ourselves to extend academic and social-emotional learning?

  • Using the EMPOWER Self-Assessment Tool


Lauren Porosoff  has been teaching for 18 years and consults on curriculum design and professional development. She is the author of two books on how teachers can help students make school more meaningful: Curriculum at Your Core: Meaningful Teaching in the Age of Standards (Rowman & Littlefield 2014), and EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience (Solution Tree, 2017), co-authored with Jonathan Weinstein. She’s written for AMLE Magazine, Connections Quarterly, Independent School, Kappan, PBS NewsHour’s Teachers’ Lounge blog, Rethinking Schools, and Teaching Tolerance about how to make school a place where students and teachers discover and develop their values.

Jonathan Weinstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs. As an early contributor to the development of Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at the University of Mississippi Center for Contextual Psychology, Jonathan studied behavioral analysis and its applications for behavior therapy, social categorization, and education. Jonathan is the co-author of EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience (Solution Tree, 2017). His publications can be found in Behavior and Social Issues, The Psychological Record, and Salud y Drogas.


Registration and Credit Card Payment
Register Here

Fee includes Continental breakfast, lunch and all materials

Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event

  • NYSAIS members - $210.00
  • Non-members - $245.00

Early Discount of $20.00 will apply until 2 weeks before the event

Late Fee of $10.00 will appily within 2 days of the event.

* Note: Payment is by credit card only.