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TPS teaching students social, emotional skills

Posted at 6:07 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:19:42-05

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools is teaching its elementary students skills they'll use beyond the classroom.

A fourth grade class at Eugene Field Elementary is learning about poetry and they’re gaining other skills you can’t learn in a book.

“From Ms. Howard I learned that you can’t just bulge out because people are gonna not want to be with you often if you’re going to yell at them for no reason," said Abby, a fourth-grade student.

The students are learning social and emotional skills. The school helps students identify and deal with whatever emotions they are feeling that day.

“It’s helped me express my feelings so it’s not just inside for a long period of time," Abby said.

Students come to class each morning and write a word down and then stick it on this "Mood Meter" to let the other classmates and their teacher know how they’re feeling. But most importantly, it lets themselves know how they’re feeling so they can be successful that day.

“Some mornings I’m like kind of mad so Ms. Howard pulls me aside and she tells me that like if I need a break," Abby said.

Teacher April Howard said they’re now at the point where they're seeing kids successfully use their self-regulation skills. And taking what they call a “Meta Moment.”

“Which is where they can pause, identify I’m feeling really upset right now," Howard said. "Pause in that moment and not immediately react, but to take some time and to think what would my best self do.

The goal is to teach these students these skills now so they use them for the rest of their lives.

“I tell them all the time, you don’t turn 18 and suddenly you know how to be a great human being on the planet," Howard said. "It starts now. And it takes practice. And we’re going to make a ton of mistakes along the way. And so the longer we can practice, the better and sharper our skills will be.”

So far, there is one big lesson students have learned overall.

“I learned about expression and talking to other people and not being mean to them and being nice," Ja'Marion, a fourth-grade student.

“You just have to be kind to other people and they’ll be kind back to you," Abby said.

A lesson we could all benefit from.

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