Why companion guides?
We know that many teachers are unsure or uncomfortable with teaching Social and Emotional Learning topics. At Suite360, our goal is to make it as painless as possible for teachers to use the program. That is why every one of our lessons is digitally based and designed for students to go through independently with minimal intervention.
Digital lessons offer several well documented advantages to learning, such as increased interactivity, self-paced and individualized instruction and ease of use. We absolutely embrace that fact and strive to make our digital lessons as impactful as possible.
However, we also know that there is NO replacement for the personal touch, which is why we encourage our partner schools and districts to facilitate discussions in the classroom along with the digital lesson. SEL skills work ONLY when they are put into practice in the real world. Digital lessons don't provide that opportunity inherently, but classroom teachers can bring SEL alive by incorporating Suite360 concepts throughout the rest of their lessons.
BUT... we don't want to add just one more thing onto the plates of already busy teachers. So we've created the teacher companion guide, an out of the box lesson plan to go along with the Suite360 Student digital lessons!
What is the teacher companion guide?
The teacher companion guide can be accessed in 2 formats, digital and PDF. Regardless of whether you're viewing the digital or pdf version, each companion guide is broken up into the following sections:
This section is consistent in every teacher companion guide. It is basically a set of guidelines for what to do if a student asks a question or brings up a comment during a class discussion that a classroom teacher may not be equipped to handle immediately. Let's face it... we're asking students to build skills in SEL which can sometimes be a painful process for students. Particularly if they've experienced significant trauma in their lives. These response guidelines are rarely needed, but are important to know if a teacher ever does need them. They are:
If a student asks a question or shares information that you don’t have the answers to or know how to respond to, take the following steps:
- Stay calm.
- Validate what the student said and how brave they were to share.
- Let them know that you want to help in any way possible while protecting their privacy.
- If the response indicates an emergency, get help immediately.
- If the response does not indicate an emergency, get help as soon as class is over.
Please remember to trust your instincts. If you as an educator feel like something might be wrong or a comment/question indicates an issue... don't ignore it. Work with your school resources to address it as soon as possible.
This is a brief summary of the lesson. Teachers who don't have the time to preview the student portion of the lesson will be able to get a good understanding of what the lesson speaks about from the summary.
These are the key learning objectives that students should come away with understanding. You may want to follow up specifically with these objectives to make sure students understood the content during your conversation.
This is a list of key vocabulary from the lesson. How we speak about these topics is important and so having the correct vocabulary becomes a critical piece of the conversation. For younger grades, weave these vocabulary words into your weekly vocab learning as an additional way to keep the conversation of the week alive.
Similar to learning objectives, the Key Takeaways is a bulleted list of short one line key takeaways that you can reinforce during conversations.
Continue the Conversation
This is a list of questions that you can ask to facilitate the discussion. By simply reading these questions and allowing students to respond, you will be able to have a great class conversation about the Suite360 lesson. But don't stop there! Come up with your own questions to further build that conversation.
This is an additional learning activity that you can utilize to reinforce learning in a different way. For younger grades, this will often be an actual class activity. For older grades this will be a writing prompt that students can use to create and keep an "SEL Journal." Some schools will even weave the prompt into a language arts class and use the prompt as an impromptu graded writing assignment!
This last section will provide additional resources for both adults and students. Whether it's story books to read to young students or websites and videos for adults, this section allows teachers to build additional SEL supports into the classroom environment.
Where can I find the companion guide?
There are two main places where classroom teachers can go to view the teacher companion guide.
Front End Preview
If you are logged into your Suite360 program and are on the front end
, you will first select the grade of the lesson that you are trying to preview:
Note: If you're unsure of whether you're on the back end or the front end of the program, please see Navigating Suite360
Then you'll click on "Start" which will bring you to the preview options screen.
Back End Preview
If you're in the back end of the program, you can go through the lesson library by clicking on the Lesson Library icon
Once in the lesson library, you can find the lesson you're looking for by typing in the title from the scope and sequence
into the simple search, or selecting the weekly theme from the advanced search
. Simply click on the magnifying glass icon to launch the Lesson Preview Screen
Lesson Preview Screen
Whether you go through the front end or the back end preview options, you'll be taken to the lesson preview screen.
From here you can select which parts of the lesson you want to preview. Each portion has a toggle that can be set from green to red. If a portion of the lesson is toggled red, you will not see that portion. But don't worry! Your selection is not permanent. To make a different selection, just reload the page and click start again.
Please note that whatever you select in your preview options ONLY AFFECTS YOU. Regardless of how you preview lessons, students logged into their own device will always start with a pre test, go through the student content and finish with a post test. Students will never see answers or parent/instructor portions of lessons.
Student will take you through the "Student" portion of the lesson minus the pre/post tests:
Instructor and Parent will take you through the teacher companion guide
Pre and Post will take you through the pre and post test. It's best to skip this if you're doing the lesson whole class on a projector or smart board.
Answers will show an asterisk * next to each correct answer in every pre/post test and quiz in the program. This is a helpful tool if you're trying to help a student who is consistently failing the post test.
Once you have made your selections, click on "Launch Lesson." Since this article is in reference to the teacher companion guide, we will leave only "Instructor" selected.
You know you've found the companion guide when you get to a screen like this:
You can then download the PDF version, or click Next to go through the digital version of the guide.
Please note that if you have selected the "Student" or "Pre/Post" preview options, the teacher companion will be after the STUDENT content but before the POST TEST.
We hope that classroom teachers will be able to fully utilize our teacher companion guide to make SEL come alive for every student using Suite360! If you have any questions, please let our client services team know!!