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 is a downloadable PDF document that is organized into five main sections: Overview Information, Before the Lesson, During the Lesson, After the Lesson, Additional Resources.
You can think of the Teacher Companion Guide (TCG) as a lesson plan out of the box for each of our Suite360 Student lessons.
This is one of the five CASEL competencies that the lesson is designed to build skills around. While many lessons will touch on multiple competencies, each lesson is designed to improve understanding and skills of a single competency
This corresponds to our Scope and Sequence
and is a way to understand some of the major themes that each lesson addresses.
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.
Before the Lesson
One of the most powerful things that teachers can do to help reinforce SEL skill building is to encourage students to keep an SEL journal. Each TCG will provide a journal prompt that allows students to reflect on what they already think/know about the subject they'll be learning about.
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.
Preparing your classroom to address SEL is important and the welcome activity will help students to get in the right mindset for discussing and learning about SEL skills.
During the Lesson
These are supplemental activities that students can do to reinforce the concepts they're learning about in the digital lesson. You can weave them into the lesson whether you're doing it whole class or asking students to periodically pause and certain points in the digital lesson.
Just like in academic subjects, students will have varying levels of proficiency in the SEL skills. There may be instances where it makes sense to have some students do supplemental instruction outside of your dedicated class time. These activities are particularly impactful if part of a planned SEL intervention program for students with severely underdeveloped skills.
Students who are ELL will often struggle from both a language and cultural perspective. Taking extra care to keep these students engaged will make sure that your class gets the most out of the digital lesson.
After the Lesson
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.
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 quick check for understanding at the end of the lesson. This will encourage students to pay attention.
The optimistic closure is how you will tie the SEL learning into the broader whole of your SEL program and into their real life.
If you have additional time, the Follow-Up Activity/Prompt gives your students more exposure to the concepts in the lesson. While these additional activities are optional, using them will make your SEL program significantly more impactfule
Resources for Students
These are websites, books and videos that our team has curated for students. You can share these resources for students to improve their understanding of these topics on their own
Resources for Teachers
These are websites, books and videos that our team has curated for teachers. We know that many teachers do not have the PD opportunities in SEL that they may want and these resources will give you insight into these topics and help you be a more effective SEL teacher!!
Where can I find the companion guide?
There are two main places where classroom teachers can go to view the teacher companion guide.
By clicking on "Start Lesson" on the current lesson card in the admin home page, you'll be taken to the student lesson which includes the resources section.
The Teacher Companion Guide (TCG) is a link under that resources section of the lesson navigation:
Back End Link
On the current lesson card, there will be a link for the Teacher Companion Guide (TCG). Click on that link to get the Teacher Companion Guide directly from the admin home page
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!!