Transcript #33: Social Emotional Learning with Brain Science – Andrea Samadi (當神經科學遇上情緒管理學習)

Ti-Fen (0s): Hi, everyone. Welcome to Compass Teachers show I’m. Your host Ti-Fen. My job is to interview Teachers around the world and Tease out there, teaching cactus education, research, or tools they use. Hopefully this show can offer us ideas for you to experiment in your classrooms. This episode, we will be exploring Social, Emotional Learning with Brain Science. 

We are really, really excited to have a wonderful Andrea Samadi joining us today. Andrea is a former middle school teacher who began working with the success and social, emotional learning principals with students in the late 1990s, Andrea’s book Level Up a brain-based strategy to skyrocket students success and achievement using the latest research to help others increase their learning potential. 

She is also the founder of Achieveit360 which offers  programs, grounded in brain-based research and practical neuroscience, helps parents, teachers, coaches and employees to optimize learning, well-being and achievement at home, school or the workplace. Without further ado. Please enjoy my conversation with Andrea. Hello, Andrea. Welcome to our show. 

Andrea (1m 38s): Hi Ti-Fen. Thank you so much for having me. 

Ti-Fen (1m 43s): So first of all, I think it would be great to know Andrea your journey first. So I know that you’ve started to work on integrating social, emotional learning very early, and I’m curious how social emotional learning came to you. 

Andrea (2m 3s): Definitely. It actually began when I left the classroom as a teacher, I did not last very long as a classroom teacher. I taught behavioral students in Toronto and my students were very bad and I burned out very quickly because I have no strategies in place at all to manage my students, let alone teach what was required for them. 

So I left the classroom and I went to work for a motivational speaker. Some people may have heard of him. His name was Bob Proctor. He was a done very well for teaching Success principles, to adults and mindset and around growth. And he was actually challenged to work with 12 teenagers. And it was pretty a pretty recent after I left the classroom and I thought, well, I’m going to go work for this speaker. 

And it was just kind of interesting how it all happened. It was through a chance meeting through my next door neighbor that I met and came across this speaker. And I thought, you know, I resigned from teaching and I went and I started to learn these principles. One of his, his most famous book was called. You are born rich, and it’s not just rich, financially, but rich in potential. And he talks about the fact that most of us have potential within ourselves that we don’t use. 

And I read this book when I was in the classroom, I was in a staff meeting and I was reading it behind my binder. And I was thinking, wow, there’s so much that I want to do. And so I ended up going to work for him and then this amazing opportunity when he was challenged to work with 12 teenagers. And it was one of those things that it was like a moment of truth for me, because I was trying to discover, what am I supposed to do with myself with my life? 

I’m teaching didn’t work out the way I thought it was going to be. It was very stressful. I thought I’m going a different path. This path didn’t make my dad very happy. You know, my mom’s supportive, whatever path I went, but my dad was like, what are you doing? You know, you’re going to regret this decision to break your teaching contract. You’ll regret one day, you’re not going to have benefits. And all of these things came into my head, but here I was and I was sitting in the audience and the speaker was challenged to work with these 12 kids, 12 teenagers. 

And it was with this, topic’s like a setting goals, having a better attitude, how to have a growth mindset, how to respond instead of react in situations. And these are all skills that we now know to be called social and emotional skills. But back then they weren’t called that. At least I didn’t ha didn’t know what they were. They were like soft skills and they weren’t important in the classroom at the time. But what I watched with these 12 kids and, you know, here I am a former teacher sitting there going, what am I supposed to be doing with my life? 

And there were these 12 kids that took these concepts and it like completely transformed their lives. And I’m talking to, in a matter of months that these kids were working with the speaker and in the speaker at the time, wasn’t very personable with children. He was more like a, he stood in front of adults, but he was challenged to work with these kids. And so he kind of have to do it. And I was watching him from the point of view of, wow. Imagine if these skills we’re being taught by an educator, first of all, someone that’s been trained to work children. 

And, and then the impact he had these kids, some of them went from See grades in their academics to eighth grade’s with their sports. Some of them were, not performing well with our sports. And they went to the starting lineups. And, and then just the fact that they were standing on stage speaking in front of a group of 8,000 people. And I remember we were at the Louisiana Superdome in new Orleans and you had these kids’ on stage. And you know, when you’re a teenager, that’s probably the most difficult thing is public speaking. 

And these kids were all up on stage and the audience full of adults were taking notes of what they were saying. And so that’s really where it happened. I, I noticed these are things that are, that are so powerful that change, these kids’ lives. And I knew right then it like hit me like a brick in my stomach teeth. And it was like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t know how, but these are skills that, that I recognized really changed. These kids’ lives. 

And that’s where it all began for me. 

Ti-Fen (7m 6s): Wow. That’s really amazing. So all that, the academic improvement I’m curious about behavior change that impressed you the most , like before and after. 

Andrea (7m 25s): Yeah, definitely. And now we’re talking about a matter of months. So normally these changes don’t take place that quickly. If we were to go and implement these concepts into a classroom, into a school, it’s going to take time to recognize. But the fact that these kids had direct take like laser target lessons, I was a part of writing some of the lessons back then, and we were writing one lesson a week and these kids would get the lesson directly with the speaker and then implement the ideas. 

So some of the, obviously some of the most important things were self-confidence. And so when you’re a teenager, it’s re the self-confidence the self-awareness, these are all skills that we’re coming into as we’re growing and going through life and learning who we are. And these children got like a fast track course on, you know, who are you? What are you, what are your goals in life? If you were to ask a teenager, what do you want to do with the rest of your life? 

You, you would probably get like a stumble. They wouldn’t. No. And I remember the speaker asked me that in my late twenties, what do you want to do with your life? And I just remember going, well, I don’t know, but I know it’s not what I was doing then. And when you find what you want to do with your life, it’s like so peaceful and Amazing. It’s like all the bells in this go off and you’re like, this is it. You know, you recognize it. And so these kids got that type of targeted instruction on introspection, looking at themselves, What, what do they want to develop? 

Maybe they, they need to develop some skills. If they want to have a career in a certain industry and they don’t have the skills they need, then they have the awareness that they needed to go build those skills. So that was the main thing that I saw. It wasn’t really, these kids came from great homes. They were, there were not any behavior issue or issues with these kids. Not like the kids that I taught in, in the classroom. I don’t know if they would have improved that quickly. 

Cause you know, there’s so many different factors. It’s like, you know, their home lives and all of that, that these kids came from a very, you know, target parents that were goal setters themselves. So they have like a step ahead already, but it just was amazing how fast they learned and took these skills and, and filled the gaps that they had with, with what they were learning. 

Ti-Fen (10m 6s): And the other thing I really love about your works. You put out so many resource they’re to bridge the gap between science and learning and especially brain-based science.  Like how did you meet neuroscience and like having another field of passion to bridge the gap? 

Andrea (10m 29s): You know, that’s a really good question because it was a huge opportunity that could of been lost Ti-Fen. It, it happened when my program was chosen in Arizona for a grant, some grant funding was here and I submitted an application to have my program chosen and it was awarded five schools. We’re going to work with my book and, and curriculum. And then one of the schools said, I can’t use the program is it is I don’t like it. 

You need to write me another book. And I could of said, Oh, you know, forget it. You just don’t get to do the program. This is the way it is. And you know, not taken the criticism and used it to understand why, you know, what, what don’t you like about it? What can I improve? And so I went in to the school administrator and he said, this is why I need you to write me at a different book. He wanted me to go from talking about in the beginning. 

I was because of what I have learned from the speaker. I only knew about the mind and how it related to Success, but he said, I need you to talk about how the Brain translates for Success. And so he started taking all these books off his bookshelf that he wanted me to read. And it was overwhelming in the beginning. I thought, is this I can really do. I didn’t know. I only know one area and suddenly now I have to understand how the brain works. 

But I was lucky because at the time I was in a training program with John Ashraf and he had a neuroscience researcher attached to his program named Mark Waldman. And so I actually took some of the grant funding that I got and I hired Mark Waldman to teach me the basics of neuroscience. And that’s what sure. I took everything to do with the mind out. I sat with this educator, he circled everything that needed to come out. And I wrote the book for schools in mind who are learning the basics of neuros. 

Ti-Fen (12m 23s): So would you mind telling us what the science has found out about the relationship with, SEL? 


Andrea (12m 55s): Definitely. So when I first started to study neuroscience with Mark Waldmann and hired him to, you know, have him teach me this back then everyone was talking about the three parts of the brain and it was like the reptilian brain, the limbic brain and the neocortex. And that’s how everyone was talking about my emotions in the beginning, like emotions or in the limbic part of the brain. And that is like the old way of thinking now. 

And the new way, at least now we talk about how the brain deals with networks. So it’s like Brain network theory. So our emotions are all over our brain and how emotions impact learning when there’s something that you’re learning in your emotionally invested in it, it actually solidifies the memory. And so I had to go back actually, when I got this question from you, I had to go back and look at some of my other interviews like with Mary Helen in more Dino yang, she’s an expert on learning in the brain, especially when it comes to emotions and Learning. 

She wrote the book, emotions, Learning the Brain, and she talks about how we feel. Therefore we Learn in the very beginning of our book and I could spend the rest of my life following her work. And I would learn something new from her every day. But so, so what happens with, with learning in the brain? So it’s, it’s evolved. Neuroscience has evolved since I started beginning of learning about the brain and the three parts of the brain. And now everybody’s talking about these networks or regions of the brain light up with something like a certain emotion. 

And it’s not surprising that most of the significant emotion centers lie below our cortex, which separates us from other animals. But at least for the past hundred years, neuroscience has noted a link between let’s just say, somebody damaged a part of their brain, the left part of their brain. It has links to certain moods like depression. And if you have damage to the right, it can be associated with a broad array of positive emotions. 

So there’s lots now that they’re discovering about how emotions connect to learning in the brain, but it’s now all dealing with these networks. Instead of like in the past, you would say the amygdala was an important part of the brain. And the MIG doula is where we have our fight flight and freeze. And they used to say, well, students in the classroom, if they’re not feeling safe, they’re going to be frozen and they can’t Learn. And that’s the old way of thinking, because we now know that there’s so much more involved with these neural networks, that things like mindfulness in the classroom can make a student feel safe and calm down the whole network of their brain, 

Ti-Fen (16m 1s): According to CASEL, social, emotional learning competencies and to our listeners. And there is, if you don’t know these competencies, you can check out the conversation I had with our past guests, Elizabeth and Wendy, I will have this episode link in the show notes as well. But today I want to take on our conversation around self awareness in these, in self-management. So Andrea, you used to say that based on the research, when students perceive that their teacher knows them, both academically and personally they’re are better positioned to take ownership of the learning. 

I’m curious what happens to their brains that they have this kind of perception and this impacts their attitude in learning. 

Andrea (16m 53s): Yeah, definitely. Well, it’s, it goes back to the old way that we used to think about the Brain of the three parts of the brain. And knowing that the limbic area, a student has to feel safe in class. And if you don’t feel safe, if you cannot learn, and if your classroom has the feeling of calmness and safety, it reduces those students that might be coming in with other issues like ACEs, adverse childhood experiences that affect them. 

That probably every one of my students had, they were coming in and it was really difficult to get them to Learn cause they couldn’t sit still because they’ve had a whole bunch of other situations happen to them before they got to me. So the first thing is it’s all about safety and in the classroom in Dr. Dan Siegel has written many books on this topic with Tina, umm, you know, making sure your environment is predictable and structured to have posters of whatever rules you want written. 

And then you verbally say to them out loud, doctor Laurie Dessa Tel is another one who does amazing work with schools. She taught me the idea of an amygdala for a state station. And I was when I was first a working with some of my schools with a level of material. And I would, I created an a Magilla for a state station for these high school students. Cause that would be in there, I’d be in the classroom and I would be teaching this to them and always something would happen. Some sort of bite would happen in the teacher was like, you know, don’t talk when miss Samadi he’s talking and someone would get kicked out. 

And I’m like, instead of that, could we just have the student go to the amygdala for a state of station where there was like some lotions or something calming for them to do to just break whatever was happening. Cause usually it’s just something silly and it’s not worth kicking the Student out of the whole class to in this whole thing happens. They go down and they lose all these points. They get in trouble. So just having a place for student to calm themselves is another strategy. 

And then also research shows a slower calmer voice helps reduce the stress in the classroom and increased positivity to students Brain. So there’s a lot we can do from the teacher side of, of it as well. These are things I definitely did not know when I was a classroom teacher because I was always yelling at my students and you know, sit down and stop that. I still remember their names because I yelled at him out so many times and my screaming voice definitely escalated their behavior and made them worse. 

So all these strategies or things that I wish they had taught me in teacher training class, but none of them were there at the time. So, 

Ti-Fen (19m 46s): Well I think these are really, really practical tips to using in the classroom. It’s really a pretty easy to implement, like just to control your voice in, have a safe place for kids to calm down. Now let’s talk about self-aware awareness. One that when the competency and self-awareness is the ability to see ourselves clearly understand who we are, how we fit in to the world and Andrea, your podcasts podcast, you get a lots of great tips for being more self-aware and I will, I will also link in the podcast episode to the show notes so people can find out. 

Now let’s assume we incorporate the team’s usage testing to our lives. How can we help our students to practice self-awareness any active thinks we can do in the classroom? Definitely. So, 

Andrea (20m 48s): So being a self-aware or you know yourself, like self-awareness no thyself. So the first thing I would suggest is to be able to identify your emotions, whether they’re positive or negative, like no, what frustrates you? What overwhelms you? So you are aware of those types of scenarios so that you name it like, Oh, doing math overwhelms me so that we can go step by, step in, break down a math problem and not get overwhelmed. 

We have probably still will, but you know, just by scaffolding and breaking it down, taking it a smaller steps, it makes it less frustrating for you to no. What makes you happy as well? Marc Brackett from the Yale center of emotional intelligence, he has an app called the emotion meter and you can measure, you are on your own emotions and he wrote the book permission to feel. And I think this is the most important for step to being self-aware is just knowing yourself what frustrates you, what makes you happy and having strategies to be able to self-regulate when you get out of your, your emotions, take over, know how to bring yourself back. 

That’s one step. Another one would be knowing like how to deal with the emotions. Like, like when you get stressed out like a, a, a student should have a strategy for like knowing how to calm your brain when you’re stressed. And for me, I use exercise. It’s like if a fight didn’t exercise in the morning, there’s no way I could deal with the stressors that come up and stay calm. I know I would probably lose it if I had not had my exercise or being outdoors. 

And so you have to have your students knowing how to bring their balance back. Maybe they need to get up in the middle of the class and go get a drink of water or go to the amygdala for a state station that everyone should have a strategy for how they deal with their stress to bring them back. And another one would be being clear on your values and beliefs. And I think this is something that develops over a whole lifetime. If you were to ask me when I was in sixth grade, you know, what are your values and beliefs? 

I would be like, what, what, what do you mean by that? You know, but over time as we are, self-awareness develops, I think it is from what I’ve learned from Mark Waldman, it’s age 30, that we, that we really have this level of self-awareness that develops over time. We get to know who we are. And over time we can finally know who we are and know what are our values are on our beliefs. And then we can start challenging our beliefs. Like why do I believe that? Is that a belief that works for me now? 

Like I know some of my beliefs from a, you know, when I was in my late twenties, I’ve completely blown them up. Like I, I would never have eaten butter at all. Butter is like something that I would say, Oh, butter makes you fat because its high in fat. And now I have learned that putting butter in SA in my coffee is something that keeps me lean. But I would, if you have told me that in my late twenties, I would be like, no way, I’m not touching them. 

And I got that from interviewing some of these people that talk about intermittent fasting and the importance of like healthy fats, don’t make you fat. What makes you fat? Is that the breads and in the carbs, they’re the things that make you that, but you know, it’s changing some of your beliefs as you go through life. You, you start to question like, why do I believe that? Is that really true? And that’s like, another part of self-awareness is just knowing and challenging yourself and seeing what works for you. 

Maybe like maybe back in the day, I like like to a certain exercise, I used to do a certain thing and you know, maybe like 20 years later and no, I don’t like that thing anymore. I want to change it and have a different belief. So you’ve just got to be challenging yourself. Always. Is that working for me or not? And that self-awareness 

Ti-Fen (25m 8s): Right. And Andrea, you just mentioned about the strategies, the importance of strategies to deal with the emotions. And I think that is congruence with self-management and so ability to match our motions and behaviors in court, in to the demands of the situation. So what kind of way you would suggest that teacher to help students to figure out how they can manage themselves? 

Andrea (25m 42s): I would definitely. And I think about for students in the classroom, I think have them sitting at their desks, you know, it’s, it’s just the way that schools are and I’m not sure where, what schools are like, where were you are? But you know, it’s not a lot of getting up and walking around and I know my daughter needs to get up and walk around. So when we have the pandemic here and there we’re being homeschooled and they had to sit at their desk, she would stand up and go and pet the cat. 

And when she got frustrated with her school and so all these things I learned, If wow, if she was in the classroom, there’s no cat to pet, you know, how did he take that out now and learn how to calm or self-sooth herself when she’s stressed out. So just knowing to identify feelings, first of all, like, Oh, this problem is frustrating me. Like be able to name the emotion and, and then, you know, maybe the teacher could come and start to find strategies to scaffold one. 

The students are having a problem, but instead of keeping it inside, like I hear a lot of students will not say, Oh, I’m frustrated because they don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of the class. Like they don’t know, but just to start saying like, everybody doesn’t have to be perfect. We can sometimes not know the answer and it’s okay. And then the teacher models that, and they say sometimes when they don’t know something like maybe when they have to use zoom or maybe zoom, they have no idea how to use zoom or how to use certain technology. 

And then just sharing that with the students. And then the students realize, Oh wow, the teachers have, or things that they don’t no as well. And so just identifying, when did we get stressed out and what are ways that we can calm ourselves down with the resources we have before in a classroom? How can we help our students work through the problem? Maybe get up, maybe have a, a, an amygdala for a state station where they could walk to. I think my daughter would do really well in the classroom that had maybe a pillow instead of a cat, the cat’s in schools, but may be a nice soft pillow. 

She could go and touch or do something like that to just calm herself down. When she gets frustrated. Those types of things I think would work really well in the elementary 

Ti-Fen (28m 8s): <inaudible> and given that our brains develop differently in a different age, this is the approach or go East self-awareness and self-regulation the for, for different age groups. 

Andrea (28m 31s): Definitely. And as a, as I was looking at that question, I, I did some research on it because I just know self-awareness is something that we developed through a whole lifetime. And from what I’ve been told from Mark Waldman, who I studied with at age 30, we should have a good idea of who we are, but I found something in national geographic that really talks about that. It begins when we’re an infant, where are you see a mirror? And that’s like, Level one of self-awareness. Oh, I see myself. There is a person in it, Level two, as you get older, Oh, you recognize that person is me a level three. 

That persons going to be with me forever Level for someone else can see that person in me. And then we start to develop like, who is that person? What are my beliefs and values? What am I needs? What are my feelings? What makes me happy? What makes me sad? So, yeah, it absolutely evolves over time. The self-awareness and I think we could see it. Like I looked at some television shows that were popular when I was doing this work with students in the high school level, in the classroom. 

And there was a show that was on Netflix. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it was called stranger things. It was like the scary show on Netflix that, well, there’s this character in stranger things. His name was Jonathan and he was in high school and he used to carry around his, his camera with him. He was really into photography. And my question to the students were, was Jonathan self aware or not? And the students were all able to pick up that. 

Jonathan was self-aware and there was this other character, Stephen that had no idea who he was, was not self-aware. He was always getting into fights and arguments. And so I can give them an example of a TV show that they all had watched and pick out a character and say, well, Jonathan knew himself that he liked photography. He was pretty sure of who he was like, if someone came up to him and took his camera and smashed it to the ground, that would really bother him. He was really, really into his photography. 

Whereas someone like Steven had no idea what he was passionate about. So that kind of helps students to, to see, well, who am I, what, what’s my purpose in this world, which are all trying to figure out as we were in high school and even beyond until we figure it out and there’s that aha moment, Oh, this is what I meant to do. And then that’s what you dedicate your life to doing. 

Ti-Fen (31m 10s): Mm that’s a really great activity to do a talk about something the, on the, of the kids, most of the kids are watching and discuss the Emotional development or emotional expression in the TV show. So Andrea, our last question about the brain based research, there are so many research or papers out there. How did you find the practical resource in this giant pool of knowledge?  Like, is there any particular journal Website or organization you tap into constantly? 

Andrea (31m 51s): Yes, definitely. And there’s no way I could of done this without Mark Robert Waldman. So he was the first person that I started to learn about the Brain from. And you know, you got you, if you had seen me, Tufin when he was teaching this to me, I I’m coming from no knowledge about the Brain and my face. He would probably have looked at me and thought, there’s no way she’s understanding this. But with time you, you really get to understand from, you know, putting your head down and trying to understand something. 

Anybody can understand it. And then when the educator said, I want you to write Level Up. And he, you know, he’s like, he didn’t name it Level Up, but he said, I want you to write a brain-based book. And he started all these books off his shelf. I started to study Dave or David. Sousas how the brain learns. So how the brain learns to read, to write the special ed brain, how the brain does math and these books when you open them. 

And I’m not a neuroscience. So I did not study neuroscience in school. I just, every weekend would read these books and start to figure it out on my own. And then such a way that I would want to explain it to other people in an easy way. And so it’s just taking the time to go through and see what interests you. So it started with the Mark Waldman and, and now I’ve actually joined his certification program because there were so many times I would have to contact him and say, Oh, you know, I don’t understand this. 

Can you make sure I have this correct? Cause I want to present it. And I don’t want to say anything wrong. Right? You don’t want to be standing in front of an audience and you’re, you’re quoting something that’s not accurate. And so I used to have to pay him for every session. And so when I joined his certification program, now I have access to everything that he teaches for forever. And I can get him whenever I need him, but I’m in the beginning. It wasn’t like that. And there’s lots of certification programs that you can do. 

People are out there and that you can see who, you know, would meet your needs, but that’s really where it started. And then through Mark Waldman, he taught me that you have to go to a reputable sources for studies that you’re citing like pub You cannot just go to YouTube or Google and then start saying, well, here’s how stress impacts the Brain from like an article. Or you might find you have to have a study. And so within his program, he taught us how to find studies, how to quote studies. 

How do you know if you are presenting something or how to quote the research properly from pub med and be sure that your citing accurate information and not just pseudoscience, which has not been proven in a study. 

Ti-Fen (34m 49s): So Andrea, in the past few years, any books that influenced your core values or thinking a lot. 

Andrea (35m 0s): Yeah, definitely. One is, is the one I’ve already mentioned. It was Bob Proctor’s. You were born rich and it’s not rich in finances. That’s, that’s not the meaning that I put behind it. It’s that we all are born rich and potential. And it’s a up to us to use this potential, like UT found. I know that it’s not easy to create these podcasts to reach out, to edit, but you have some desire in you that makes you do this. 

That makes you contact people that makes you follow through and edit and release and that’s your potential. And so for me, it was a Amazing to see, like I can recognize the potential in other people. And then I just look at people and I’m like, wow, that person is gonna Skyrocket. They are going to flow it up. I can just recognize it in, in people really through starting to have a look at that book. And so that’s where it helps me to see that the, you know, I can really do the things that I want to do. 

And you know, you might have these voices in your head sometimes to say, well, who are you to do this? And they all go away. And when you start to make an impact in the world with whatever you’re doing and you start to see that there’s something more than, than you it’s how are you helping other people with, with your talents and abilities? So that I’d say that was like the first book. And then the second book, it’s always on my desk, it’s the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. 

And I don’t know if you heard of the four agreements or, you know, if you just Google four agreements, the first agreement is being impeccable with your word. And I don’t know where that came from for me. I’ve always like, if I say, Oh, I’m going to go to the gym today, or I say, I’m going to do something. I do it. It’s like be impeccable with what you say is just how can people trust you if you’re giving, you know, Oh, I’ll get that emailed to you, or I will send that to you and you never send it. 

It’s like a, so it’s like an agreement with myself that when I say something, I’d do it. Another thing is, don’t take anything personally. And that’s a big one because remember if I had taken that administrators, a criticism personally like, Oh, he doesn’t like my book. And, and then I went home and cried and then cold on my friends and said, What that guy he’s, he’s a moron. He doesn’t like you, my stuff. And, or, you know, I could of said, well, it’s not about me. 

What can I learn from it? So that was a big lesson. Like, don’t take anything personally, or we can miss huge opportunities in life. Another one don’t make assumptions. Like, you know, you could assume something was completely wrong and lose friendships over it, or it’s just not worth making assumptions. And then the last one is always do your best. And I’m sure you are the same TFN with your interviews. You researched extremely well. 

The questions you get to know people ahead of time. Do you want to put your best effort in to everything to make an impact on the world? And so the I’d say that the four agreements and born rich from two books that have influenced my thinking 

Ti-Fen (38m 25s): Amazing. And Andrea, I know that you were a teacher in Canada, but now you are Based in the US so kind of explore post you both education system in these countries. So if you have a super power, super woman power to change the education, given what you observed, what would it be? 

Andrea (38m 53s): Well, definitely. I think like, I’ve, I’ve put a lot of thought into this because you know, you go into teaching and you think that you’re going to make this incredible impact. And then what happened with me was I didn’t even last a year. And so I just really like my, I give all of my respect to those in the classroom, because it is really difficult, especially since the pandemic and people all over the world have already made such an impact with where things are going at our schools. But the change that I know a lot of us want to see would be, we want, we want stuff to happen faster, but that would mean that belief systems need to change. 

Like I’m talking about, you know, having my daughter able to stand up and go pet a cushion in an amygdala first aid station, you know, think about when I was a teacher, there is no way we would have done anything like that. You know, it’s like changing beliefs takes time. And so I don’t know if the impact or the change that I see is going to happen in my lifetime, but I just hope that this is a beginning for the next generation to have a better in the classroom with being, having this understanding of our brain, how our brains work, how our teachers’ brains work. 

Umm, you know, knowing that, that if I was stressed and yelling at my students, it increased the student cortisol and made them behave poorly. So just that understanding, that changes teacher training. And so there’s a lot of like moving pieces that I see in the us. And I know that the changes going to probably takes some time, but I do see that a lot of these are starting to impact schools in different pockets. Different schools are starting to implement this and it starts at the teacher training level and it starts at just starting one idea at a time in a school, in a district. 

And, and then that’s really how it begins. And then the publisher is on that side because I did also, when I left the classroom, I did go into the publishing industry and I got to see how the curriculum is made from the top publishers in Canada and the us and these little neuroscience tips could be put into the curriculum. So let’s just say you’ve got a math sheet and the students are working on the math problem. There could be like a little breakout box that says, you know, if you’re overwhelmed or fee feeling frustrated to take some deep breaths, something like that from the curriculum side. 

So there’s a lot of different places and ideas. And, and I just think that the, the people are doing a lot of great things all over the country in the world and that eventually the change will happen, but I’m not sure when yeah, it’s a, it’s, it’s a slow process. Andrea last spend the least. So if our listeners to want to know more about your work, how they can, how can they find you online? 

Yeah. My website is Achievement three and they can go there and they can click on the links. They can learn about the program Level Up. They can learn about the podcast and really where we began and where we’re going, because we’re always looking at improving and doing different things with neuroscience as we’re learning more over here. And thank you so much for Andrea. You put so much great work out there. Thank you. Thank you so much for all your doing. 

#33 Social Emotional Learning with Brain Science – Andrea Samadi (當神經科學遇上情緒管理學習)

In this episode, we will be exploring social emotional learning with brain science and what strategies we can apply in the classroom based on science.  We are really happy to have wonderful Andrea Samadi joining us.

Andrea Samadi, is a former middle school teacher who began working with success and social and emotional learning principles with students in the late 1990s.   Andrea’s book Level Up: A Brain-Based Strategy to Skyrocket Student Success and Achievement using the latest research to help others increase their learning potential.   She is also the founder of Achieveit360 which offers  programs, grounded in brain-based research and practical neuroscience, helps parents, teachers, coaches and employees to optimize learning, well-being and achievement at home, school or the workplace.

Connect with Andrea:
Website | Twitter


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Show Notes with Selected Links


Please go here


  • Have you ever yelled at your students? What reactions did you get from your students?

What can you do tomorrow

Song Tracks Credits

#32 如何培養學生團隊精神與班級凝聚力 — 仙女老師余懷瑾 (Effective Strategies for Classroom Management )

“我們老師看到的是那麼多小孩,每個都在發光,我們就各自看到他們發光的地方,告訴家長。”- 仙女老師余懷瑾



臉書 | 部落格

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本集大綱 Show Notes

  • [01:45] 仙女老師轉換跑道於教職的原因和旅程。
  • [03:57] 老師是否一開始就選擇高中教職?
  • [06:18] 高中學生與其他學齡層的不同。
  • [07:05] 仙女暱稱的由來。
  • [10:05] 作為一個班級導師,仙女老師想要塑造的班級互動和氛圍是什麼?
  • [13:12] 老師大量使用分組於隨堂測驗的原因。
  • [17:50] 如何有效安排學生座位?
  • [23:33] 分組溫故知新於課堂上的時間安排。
  • [28:36] 如何安排學生的組別。
  • [34:00] 什麼是六頂思考帽(黃、白、綠、黑、紅、藍) ?
  • [37:30] 如何利用六頂思考帽於班級經營?
  • [44:43] 如何培養與家長的關係,且拌演家長與學生之間的潤滑劑。
  • [52:34] 一到兩本書深深影響老師的思維或是價值觀。
  • [53:31] 如果有一個超能力去改變台灣教育,老師最想改變的是什麼?

回顧我們的教學 Reflections

  • 學生在課堂上是否有機會給予您回饋呢? 如果有的話,您又如何接收這些回饋?
  • 在親師關係中,您是如何拿捏與家長之間的互動溫度呢?

改變的一小步 What can you do tomorrow

  • 在溫故的時段,嘗試利用分組活動,且分配小白板於各組,給予學生討論及發表的空間。
  • 了解六頂思考帽,初步可嘗試在您日常生活的衝突上,再延伸於課堂上的應用。

音樂來源 Song Track Credits

#31 How to Amplify Your Students’ Voices — Katelynn Giordano (如何幫助學生找回學習自主權)

In this episode, it is all about amplifying your students’ voices.  We are really happy to have Katelynn Giordano joining us and sharing her teaching strategies of years. 

Katelynn Giordano is a Middle Level Language Arts Educator,  a blogger at Curriculum Coffee, a writer for the Teachers on Fire magazine, and a Director of Curriculum & Instruction for the Teach Better Team
She is a dynamic educator who is passionate about student voices, promoting equity, and valuing teachers as professionals.

Connect with Katelynn:
Website | Twitter | Instagram 


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Show Notes with Selected Links

  • [01:30]  Not only Katelynn is a 6th grade teacher but also an instructor in Northwestern University Center for Talent Development and working for the Teach Better Team.  Except for being a 6th grade teacher, how did Katelynn decide if she wanted to take on these roles and thus actualize her beliefs in education ?
  • [03:26] What did Katelynn want to do for a bigger reach in Education at the beginning?
  • [05:05] The reason why Katelynn is passionate about advocating amplifying students’ voices.
  • [07:14] From Katelynn’s personal take, what does it mean by giving your students’ voices.
  • [09:30] How do students behave differently before and after having their own voices out?
  • [12:30] Tips to give students more voices or choices in writing classes.
  • [14:46] How did Katelynn help students to find their own passion for projects?
  • [16:54] How long to do “soul searching”?
  • [17:30] Tools Katelynn used for students’ feedback.
  • [22:38] How did Katelynn know that she addressed the feedback on point?
  • [24:08] When and how did the students do the feedback form?
  • [25:33] Books that influenced the core values or thinking of Katelynn.
  • [28:46] If Katelynn has a superwoman power, what does she want to change the education system of the US?
  • [30:04] Parting thoughts.


Please go here


  • Can your curriculum help your students to see who they are ? Or is the curriculum written by the people from the homogenous or diverse background?

What can you do tomorrow

  • Start from one writing assignment. Let your students write about their passion projects and see how that trigger their intrinsic motivations.

Song Tracks Credits

#30 融入跨領域與資訊科技的教學設計 — 黃加明老師




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本集大綱 Show Notes

回顧我們的教學 Reflections

  • 您覺得學生只需具備學科內的能力,就足以面對新世代的挑戰嗎?
  • 您是否融合學科外的能力,例如:說故事或是簡報技巧,於自己的課室中呢?

改變的一小步 What can you do tomorrow

  • 若想要培養學生的表達力,不妨給予自由,讓學生選擇有熱情的主題發揮,這不僅激勵更深層的學習,也往往讓師長有意外的收穫,促使教與學的相互成長。

音樂來源 Song Track Credits

#29 Bringing Socratic Seminars Into Your Teaching with Kerry Graham (如何融合蘇格拉底式討論於教學中)

“I just want them to grow in their confidence and I want them to know that being uncomfortable doesn’t mean something impossible. I want them to know the power of their voices and how special their thoughts are. I want them to be good listeners and compassionate with their spoken words” — Kerry Graham

In this episode, it is all about Socratic Seminars. Socratic Seminars is a teaching strategy to guide student-led discussion. This time, we are excited to have Kerry Graham joining us and sharing her experience in this strategy. 

Kerry is not only a teacher but also a writer.  She lives and kayaks in Baltimore, MD, USA, after graduating from Johns Hopkins University School of Education,.  Kerry prioritizes laughter, compassion, and self-expression in her English classroom. She’s grateful for and humbled by her ten years as a public school teacher. 

Connect with Kerry:
Twitter | Facebook


Acast | Apple Podcast Google Podcast | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Show Notes with Selected Links

  • [01:46] As a writer, the core message or feelings Kerry wants to deliver through her stories.  
  • [03:54] For Kerry, personally, how does she express her love to her students and let them know that she care about them? 
  • [05:35] In the high school Kerry is teaching is very diverse. 50% percent from Baltimore while the other 50 from the globe. Other than Baltimore, what are the countries the students came from?   Do most schools in Baltimore have diverse population? 
  • [07:56] How did Kerry change her teaching approaches for diverse students?
  • [10:18] What is Socratic Seminar?
  • [11:21] Step by step how Kerry used  Socratic Seminar in her own classroom. 
  • [15:50] How does Kerry assign students into groups?
  • [16:40] The seating setup in Socratic Seminar.
  • [18:40] Outer circle student’s tasks when observing inner circle discussion.
  • [19:35] Example of the Socratic Seminar topics and the questions students came up with.
  • [21:13] Is there any boundary for students when crafting their questions?
  • [22:32] How many minutes does each group have for discussion? And how many students are there in a group?
  • [24:43] The ways to help students stay on the track without diverging too much.
  • [26:33] How does Kerry give feedback to her students in Socratic Seminar?
  • [32:06] Kerry’s personal goals for students to learn in Socratic Seminar.
  • [34:01] The most common mistake teacher made in Socratic Seminar and approaches to prevent it from happening.
  • [37:00] 1 to 2 books that influence Kerry ‘s core values or thinking.
  • [39:00] If Kerry has one superwoman power to change the education system in the US, what would it be?
  • [41:26] Parting thoughts


Please go here


  • What is your teaching goals personally for any student led discussion in your class?

What can you do tomorrow

  • When there is a topic you want your students to discuss in class, try to ask them coming up their own questions before the class. In class discussion, give your students a safe space to speak without intervening too much.

Song Tracks Credits

交替學習(Interleaving) VS 聯鎖學習(blocking)


  • 交替學習:學習者在不同相似觀念間交替練習,例如:
    • 在一小時的鋼琴練習中,交替練習和旋,琶音和音階.每個主題練習十分鐘。
  • 連鎖學習:學習者持續練習單一主題,直到熟稔後,才接續下一主題.例如:
    • 每日持續練習音階,等到一個禮拜後,已可順暢彈出音階才開始琶音練習。


Rohrer and Taylor (2007) 的實驗中,他們請一群大學生來學習不同幾何形狀的體積運算,總共有兩次學習課堂,課堂間有一個禮拜的間隔。課堂中,學生會練習四個不同幾何形狀的體積運算,每個主題都有四個問題,學生分兩組,一組使用交替學習,一組使用連鎖學習。在課堂中,連鎖學習組的學生表現勝於交替學習組,但是,在課堂結束後一個禮拜的測驗中,交替學習者的成果卻遠勝於連鎖學習組.以下表格顯示其不同方式的答題準確率:

交替學習60 %63 %
連鎖學習89 %20 %
來源:Rohrer, D., & Taylor, K. (2007). The shuffling of mathematics problems improves learning. Instructional
Science, 35, 481–498.

Rohrer and Taylor 也更進一步指出,交替學習組不僅準確率較高,也能區別用哪個方程式去解決不同問題,然而,連鎖學習組則常套用不正確的方程式。




Transcript #28 Infusing Social Emotional Learning in Classroom – Wendy Turner (如何融合情緒管理學習於課室中)

Ti-Fen  (0s): Hi, everyone. Welcome to Compass. Teachers show I’m your host Ti-Fen. My job is to interview Teachers around the globe and teach out their teaching tactics, education, research, or tools they use. Hopefully this show can offer ideas for you to  experiments in your classrooms.

In this episode, we are going to dig, dive into how to infuse social, emotional learning into your own classroom. Today, we are really honored to have Wendy Turner joining us. Wendy is a second grade teacher in 2017 or 18 Delaware Teacher of the Year. She teaches at Pleasant Elementary.  a large suburban school in Delaware with over 750 students and a diverse population Wendy is interested in trauma informed practices, global education, social, emotional learning, and empathy in education. 

And she loved every moment spans with her seven or eight years old. And without further ado, let’s  enjoy our conversation with Wendy. Welcome to the show. Wendy 

Wendy (1m 27s): Hi, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me to join your show. I’m I’m thrilled. 

Ti-Fen  (1m 33s): So, first of all, I know that you have a really different trajectory into teaching after 17 years in the business world and you decided you become a teacher, a curse. What is the story or motivation that drove you to make these big transitions? 

Wendy (1m 53s): Oh, it’s such a great question. Thanks for asking that. Yes, I a was a business major in college. I worked for 17 years in finance and accounting, and we had a daughter in 2005. And when my daughter was about six months old, I remember the So clearly I was sitting in my cubicle at the big company I worked for here in Wilmington. I just sat there and I thought to myself, I can’t do this for 20 more years. I had really enjoyed spending time with my daughter. I had some nieces at this point and I felt like I could relate really well to children. 

So I called my husband and I said, hi, do you mind if I go to school at night to become a teacher? And he was like, sure, he didn’t drop the phone or hang up on me, which is good news. And I, I began to go to school at night and it took me about three years of working full time, going to school at night, taking care of our daughter. And I had our son another baby during the same time. So it was exciting, challenging, but wonderful. And it was absolutely the right choice for me. 

I, it, to start working in a profession where I could have more human impact, I could make a difference. And I always tell people that my very worst day in teaching is far better than my best day in my old job. 

Ti-Fen  (3m 15s): Wow. So do you find your previous business experience add on a different color into your teaching in an unexpected ways, or like how does the shape you differently in teaching compared to other educators? 

Wendy (3m 31s): So that’s a great question. And it has been an enormous advantage in my opinion, to have all those years in the business world, in my experience. So during that time I worked for many large companies, I worked for Disney, I worked for Pricewaterhouse. I worked for a fragrance company in New York city. And when I worked for Disney, I traveled around the world and that added to my personal experience helped me broaden my horizons and come in contact with all the different people. And I even worked in environments that were terrible. I worked in environments where people screamed and yelled at, try to make people cry, literally and navigating those types of environments and coming out of them stronger, learning how to be resilient and ultimately saying no to those types of environments gave me confidence. 

And I truly feel like becoming a teacher at eight 40. I was more prepared to work with different kinds of people in my students and my families that I support and just people in the district, because of all those years of experience, I don’t think I would of been anywhere near as effective if I have become a teacher right out of college at age 22. 

Ti-Fen  (4m 33s): So we know like you put lots of work into social, emotional learning, what inspired you to poop so much ever to emphasize these areas? 

Wendy (4m 47s): Mmm, that’s a great question. So this area isn’t even talked about very often and teacher preparation programs, it’s, it’s something you have to kind of figure out. And when I wrote, I have to write my teaching philosophy when I was a teaching students and I wrote a long time ago. It’s probably, you know, 15 years ago now that I wanted to teach my students how to be successful human beings. And that was just something I felt inside me. And so I had a little bit of an instinct to do this, and then really what crystallize this for me was something that happened in my first year of teaching. 

I started my job teaching second grade and on about the seventh day of class, the second week of class, one of the students in my class lost their mom to cancer. So it was very worrisome for me because here I was a new teacher and I have to figure out how to support my students, how to support the other students in second grade I’m at this time, because they were starting to experience fears around losing a parent and then how to like he’ll and come together as a community, a Classroom communities through this very difficult time. 

And, and I really remember her being at home crying, literally because they didn’t know what to do, but I just asked for help. I started talking to our principal and our counselor about what I can do. And I knew very, very clearly that we couldn’t just come back into school and like open up the math book and start teaching would be like open up to page 20. We were going to start a lesson. We had to talk about what happened. We had to share our feelings. We had to share a messy, uncomfortable feelings and work our way through them. We couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened. 

We had to embrace what, what hap what did happen. And we work our way through it. And ultimately we ended up doing a really big charity project where we were able to make a large donation to a charitable foundation at the end of the year, kind of like as a way to conclude this experience together. So that told me right then and there, if we don’t do social, emotional learning, we’re not even going to get to the academic stuff. 

Ti-Fen  (6m 43s): Yeah. That’s really wonderful. So I think it’s a good way. We can talk more about the way we can Infuse Social Emotional, Learning in Classroom. So from my research, I know  you believe the best way to do that is to be a model for our students by identifying what we need to work on and engaging that work right before our students’ eyes. So I’m curious if there’s any story behind or your observation from the students or progression that it comes to these realizations. 

Wendy (7m 20s): Sure. I’m you know, what can I define social, emotional learning for you first? Cause I think that will be helpful. Yeah. Okay. All right. Great. So social, emotional learning is to me, it’s everything, it’s the foundation of everything that we do in education. And if we don’t do it, we’re, we’re not going to be successful. So a lot of people know that social, emotional learning is very important now with the trauma that everyone is enduring with, COVID-19 in schools being closed and open. And, but I think that a lot of people, if you ask them what it is, they are just not sure they’re like, was it mindfulness or gratitude or it’s something about getting along with people? 

I don’t know. So I like to really use a framework for social, emotional learning. There is a very popular one out there. And I explain that to my students and that helps us all stay grounded in what we’re doing. So CASEL is the collaborative for academic and social, emotional learning. They are the, you know, the leader and thought around social, emotional learning and providing resources and space around social, emotional learning. And they have a model and is known as the Capitol five and it’s five competencies. 

And if you go to their website, you will find this graphic, it’s a wheel and it’s got five parts to it. And the different competencies that are social, emotional learning are five things that are self-awareness self-management social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. So as you work to bring these things to your students, you have to define the things for your students. And then you have to give them ways to develop strength and skill in them. And I think if we, as adults do that side by side with our, we are, you know, walking the walk and talking the talk that we say we’re going to do, and we’re modeling it for them in real time. 

And there’s a struggle. Some people find, they say like, why can’t I can’t fit social, emotional learning. And I have to cover all this content, or, you know, I have a math teacher, I don’t do this, this isn’t my job. But what we need to do ultimately is yes, define these things. And yes, talk about some vocabulary that kids need to understand like emotions or, you know, what’s a relationship with empathy. And then we have to understand what it is to infuse them into our academic activities and it’s absolutely possible to do so. I think that there’s a great case study out there. 

And it was put up by San Jose state and it talked about how to prepare teachers to do this. And that piece really speaks to my heart about social, emotional learning. But the piece talks about in order to prepare teachers to do this, number one, you have to have them work on their own adult. SEL so work on their social, emotional competence in terms of developing self-awareness self-management social awareness, relationship skills and decision-making skills. And then you have to teach them how to integrate it 

Ti-Fen  (10m 7s): how you engage your personnel work in progress SEL while teaching them social, emotional learning and their needs. 

Wendy (10m 32s): Sure. So a great one right now, one, this is really important is around self management and self awareness. And that is really the process of identifying our emotions. And right now we’re all going through many, many emotions because the world is going through many, many challenges right now. And I feel like the world is in survival mode. And as a result, lots of human beings are to So something that I can do is I can ask the kids to do an emotion. Check-in I can say, how are you feeling today? Are you feeling good, a ready to learn? 

Or do you feel a little uneasy or worried about something or are you mad or scared or angry? And I can also share my emotional state to write. So when I do that, then I can kind of quickly assess who might have trouble Today Learning who might need a little bit more compassion or support. And when we, before school closed, I used this rubber bracelet system. Every day, the kids would come in and put on a bracelet, red, green, or yellow on their wrist quietly, and to show me and their classmates how they were feeling. And we talked about the fact that if a student was wearing a yellow or a red bracelet, we might need to support them better. 

And what would it look like to support them? And I would also wear a bracelet too. So there might be mornings, you know, a lot of times they come in on green. I’m really excited to see my students, but Hey, I am a human being too. And if I’ve gotten into a fight with one of my kids on the way to school or something like that, I might come in and put on a yellow bracelet. So I’m modeling my honesty was sharing my emotions and I’m fostering a safe environment where students can share their emotions. You know, if you come in every day and put it on the red bracelet, you’re never in trouble. Thank you. In fact, for doing that and how can I help you? 

How can I help you get to a place of learning? And so that’s something that can be integrated into the fabric of your classroom. I am a remote or hybrid. I’ve been on a year. So the kids figure out a Google form to share this information. So that’s one way. And then once we realized that we do have emotions that we’ll call it uncomfortable, maybe yellow or red, we have to teach resilience strategies. So when you feel uncomfortable and your having a mad, sad, or angry day, what do you do? So we teach children explicit, calming strategies. 

We talk about the power of our breath. It’s always with us. It’s something we can go back to. We talk about finding joy and the good things. Even in the hardest days, one of Castle’s signature plays. They have a signature playbook with three signature SEL moves. One of them is an optimistic closing. So every day we do an activity, that’s an optimistic closing on Monday, it’s called three good things. And I asked the kids to share three good things. And it might have been the worst day or the most challenging day, but we share things like the sun is out. 

Or I snuggled with my dog Today or I have a hot dog for a lunch, or I say, I’ve got to go out and walk around the block. So you just celebrate the good things, even on the hardest day. And that’s something that I do kind of concurrently with my students, because whenever I ask them to share or something like that, I do the same thing. I share my emotion, I share three good things, et cetera. Another one that I really like is reframing negative thoughts. And that also comes into play with self-awareness and self-management human beings are wired to have a negativity bias, which means that they focus on negative thoughts, more than positive thoughts. 

And if you think about a day, maybe you’ve gone through a day and 10 things have happened to you. None of them were good and one was bad. All you remember is that one bad thing and reframing is where you take a situation and you look for the positive in it. It’s not like pretending that everything’s great ’cause we don’t want to do that, but its looking for something good. And an example was, you know, last spring schools and you’re in the U S closed in March and we had to do a lot of reframing. So school closed, we weren’t really good at remote learning yet. 

We were struggling a lot, but we reframed and said things like, well, the school is closed, but I get more time because I don’t have to commute to work right now. Or your school is closed, but I’m learning a lot of new technology. And that’s a good thing for me in my students or school is closed and I get to spend more time with my family. So by teaching explicitly how to reframe negative thoughts and find the good thing in a situation you gift, you’re introducing another resilience strategy. 

Ti-Fen (14m 47s): Yeah. I really loved the reframing one, but I also found that 

Ti-Fen  (14m 52s): The bracelet is really interesting. How many colors  do, can you then choose for a, the bracelets and also ldo they make the bracelets themselves? Or you just like distribute some bracelet to them. 

Wendy (15m 8s): So yeah, they are right now with my bracelet model, I have three colors, green, yellow, and red, and I just buy plastic rubber bracelets that can be reused now with COVID. I may start using ones with the kids who were in person in my classroom. We’ll have some hybrid learners and I’ll just give them like a little plastic bag that has three bracelets in it that they can choose from that are always there. And we named on the first day of school, actually I put up a chart and we name emotions and we sort them into green emotions, yellow emotions and red emotions. So they have some language around what’s What I think you could add other colors for even young kids, but certainly for older people I’ve, I’ve had blue be represented as sad. 

I’ve seen orange represented for exciting I’m or pink could be an exciting and purple could be kind of calm. So you can really add whatever you want. I do just focus on the three right now, but you could, we can really be great if you can have the kids to design a system. So if you’re going to have bracelets and you want it to have colors represent emotions, what would you want each of them to be in? That can be so powerful because they can have a part in it. And I have to say, I wish that sometimes adults had such a system because how amazing would it be to walk into your workplace and just know who’s struggling a little bit of who might need some help or a check-in. 

Ti-Fen  (16m 22s): Yeah, that’s true. And you don’t need to struggle to read their minds so you can just, See how they are feeling. So there is the one thing that you just mentioned. I also really want to ask is the emotion though checks in Jamboard that would you mind sharing with us how you do this activity in your classroom? 

Wendy (16m 44s): Yeah. And I’m happy to share some templates with you too. So I’ve noticed over time that Monday is really a hard day for my students. So even when we were in school, when school is open kids coming in on Monday and they’re very tired because they usually stay up later than normal and Friday and Saturday night and then sleep in later. And they may spend a lot of times playing video games, especially in the cold weather, you know, and that can just make you feel tired and sluggish, that kind of thing. So I tried something two Mondays ago that I just loved and it was a huge success. 

I’m going to keep doing it. I created a jam board. So we use Google jam board. And on that jam board, the, it just says, please share an emotion that you’re feeling right now. And the students, if your familiar with Jim, where they can actually click on a sticky note and they just type something on it. So whether your students are at home or in the classroom, everyone can engage and collaborate on that at once, which is I think a very powerful too, when we’re all split up and separate from each other. So I did it two Mondays ago and kids were writing things like tired. I have a headache I’m okay. 

I’m excited. I’m pretty good. But it was more unpleasant emotions than Pleasant emotions I noticed. And one had written that they felt calm. Now, after that, I asked the kids to just take a look at the screen I was sharing and I was said, I was going to show them some pictures. And I went on to show them 18, really beautiful pictures of winter scenes in Sweden. And I think I found them in the New York times and I’d put them on the jam board and I just went through them. And I think I quietly count to five for each picture was like a five count. 

So they can look at each picture for a five count and went through and they were just beautiful in Northern lights were a Borealis campfires. There was a dog flood picture, a wild reindeer. They were, you know, from trees. Icicles is just absolutely beautiful. And then on the 20th side of the jam board, I said, okay, please check in again, write in a motion. Well, they checked in again and 10, not one, but 10 students wrote down that they were feeling calm. Several students wrote down that they were feeling better and more students said they were excited. 

So I had seen the incidents of a student, a sharing, a common motion rise tenfold just from showing a series of pictures of winter scenes. And that just really blew me away because data is data, data doesn’t lie, and data can inform what you’re doing. So that told me that if I could show my pictures that created a positive, happy chemicals and the brain every Monday morning, that was going to allow us to go into our lesson in a better place mentally. And I did it again this week, except instead of winter scenes, I use pictures of cute baby animals. 

And basically I have the same result. So right after this, I hadn’t told the students about the activity. I hadn’t told them they are going to do a second check-in I just said, what do you notice? And they were like, wow, a lot of people feel better. I feel good. That’s nice. And then they came. I said, well, what do you think this means? What, what is this telling us? And they said, if I look at pictures, nice pictures, I’m going to feel better. They basically came up with that understanding themselves. And I said, yes. So if you’re stressed during an academic task or you’re feeling upset, could you go to a window and look at nature in that might make you feel better? 

And they said, absolutely it will. So it was incredible to me to just go through that activity. 

Ti-Fen  (19m 56s): That’s really powerful. Like, Oh, I like the ways that you are not only helping them to identify, identify the emotion, but you also give them the tools that they can flip that emotion to a positive one. So our, then in this an example, is there any other tools that you find useful for useful for students to help them do any like self-management 

Wendy (20m 27s): Yeah. So I want to share, let me share another activity that we do. So something that’s really critical in this environment is creating ways that the students can work together even in the world in separate locations. So we do use zoom for our video conferences and if I was in the classroom, I would have a lot of collaborative groups. A few years ago. I used have long rectangle tables in my classroom. And a few years ago I did a donors choose project to get funding for round tables because I realized that the collaboration communication with my students would be so much more if they were sitting at round tables facing each other. 

Because when you’re sitting at a long rectangle table, the, to people at the end will never speak to each other basically, right, because there’s too much space and it’s not easy, but I instead got all round tables from my classroom so they can look up and be sitting and looking at each other. So in the classroom, I would change seats. Often I would have activities for each table. I’d have people work in pairs. And I had to figure out a way to do that in a virtual environment. So we do use them for video conferences and I create discussions that kids do in break out rooms. And every day I have a topic in a five minute discussion and it might be something silly. 

Like if you could have any food all day for one day, what would you have? If you can travel anywhere, where would you go? What’s something you enjoy doing with your family. They’re all just connection questions that are designed to help us get to know each other and bond and find our commonalities. So in the beginning of the year, they were having a little trouble with a breakout rooms. Like some kids were talking too much. Some kids were not talking enough. Kids said, well, I don’t like to talk. I just want to use the chat. And so we have to kind of talk about what was going on. And some kids were coming back from the breakout rooms and they were like giving the thumbs down side. 

Like the breakout room is terrible. So I said, okay, where are we going to do with this? So I have something called an empathy meter and it’s a visual and picture or a rainbow. And on one side of the rainbow, it’s a beautiful orange color. That’s actually my favorite color. I feel like it’s exudes positivity. There’s this orange color. And there’s these hearts. And it says, I’m using empathy. I’m thinking about others. I’m thinking with others, I’m caring for others. And on the other side of the rainbow arc, its kind of gray and it says, I’m not thinking of others. 

I might be hurting others. Or I’m just thinking of myself in the middle of your kind of neutral. So what I do is once a week, I pull that out on a, again on a jam board and I ask the kids to have a sticky note. So where do you think we are in this empathy meter? How are we being empathetic or are we not being empathetic? And one of the times I did it, there were a lot of sticky notes, just kind of in the middle, like people weren’t putting them over towards the empathetic side of the orange side. And I said, what’s going on with us? And they said, well, it’s really the breakout rooms. Like we’re doing badly. And the breakout rooms and people are getting mad and they’re coming back mad and we need to do better. 

So I just said, how can we do breakout rooms better? And they shared ideas. Like let people be in the chat, create an order for people participating like use alphabetical order or something or someone try and be in charge to make sure everyone gets to talk. They ask me to put in a chat warning, like when there’s one or two minutes left. So they knew they had to wrap it up to get everyone to, to, to chat. And so we did those things and breakout rooms started to get better. And so then usually every Friday ask them to do the Mt check-in and we started to see more people were moving their sticky over to the side of the, a jam where the empathy side was. 

So that’s a way to think really concretely about using empathy in your everyday life. We read lots of stories about empathy. We talk about what empathy looks like, but we, I think when teaching SEL skills, you have to talk about what it looks like when that skill is missing. So in these examples, we learned what it was like when empathy was not present. And I think that’s very powerful for talking about what it looks like, what it is there for them 

Ti-Fen  (24m 11s):  And so I feel like, Oh, these are really, really great tools in our midst. Make sure that they are in our show notes so our listeners can check it out, and experiment in their classrooms. So S E L is a very abstract Learning compared to all their traditional subjects, which is relatively easy to assess progress. 

So for you, how do you know your students are making progress in these competencies? 

Wendy (24m 55s): So I’m like the example I just gave you. I realized that the students we’re making progress with the breakout rooms, which meant that they were more self aware of what they were doing in staying in the breakout rooms. And they were developing relationships with other kids by saying we’re able to do better in the breakout rooms. And so it’s your right. You don’t want to give an assessment about that. You’re never going to give your students a worksheet and ask them how to make responsible decisions you’re actually going to do. Also, I’ve had a, So a little girl came up to me last week and she just almost had tears in her eyes. 

And I said, what’s wrong? And she said, I miss my friend. I miss my friends and I don’t know what I’m going to see you are. And I hate COVID. And I said, okay. So I said, lets try to get something to do. And I said, can you walk down the hall? There’s a long hall. Can you work for the hole and just hold this and squeeze it. And it was actually just a roll of paper towels because I can’t have all the things I used to share a little stuffies or a squishy balls and things like that because of COVID and germs. And she said, okay, I can do that. And so she walked down the hall and came back and when she came back, she was able to get back to her work. So right there that tells me that that student was completely in tune with her negative emotion. 

She knew to ask for something. And when I provided her with a tool or an idea, she embraced it and she did it. And then she came back and said, thank you. I feel better. And I can go finish my math now. So you kind of have to be aware of it in moments. So I feel so proud when I can see it happening in moments last year, another quick story we had our tables were working in groups of four and this one student got very upset and he started to cry and stomp his feet. 

And we have these benches in my classroom. We actually called them like the cool-down bench or the breathing bench. And he was getting upset and stomping his feet, but he stomped his feet right over to the cool-down bench. He knew what to do and where to go. And then two or three other students from his group that he’d been working with, went over to him and said, you’re okay. You’re going to be okay, good job. You know, you’re going to feel better soon. You’re on the breathing bench. And that, that was one of those moments, right? So I observed a child losing control of their emotions or having difficult emotions. I observed them in bracing, a strategy we introduced in the classroom. 

And then I observed other students being empathetic and checking in with that child and complimenting them on doing just that. I was like, mic drop moment. I was like, I love it. It’s happening. They’re doing, and I didn’t tell anyone to do any of these things and it’s it’s happening 

Ti-Fen  (27m 17s): Well. So yeah, I got you. So basically it’s really hard to use data, to know their progress but  we can use our observation from their behaviors to know the, they are improving. 

Wendy (27m 33s): Yeah, you can’t. I would say too, you can do surveys and you could use little formative assessments, like say you are a really teaching kids about the definition of something like empathy or a growth mindset. You can certainly give them like little quizzes to see if they have an understanding of those terms and concepts. I do think you have to spend a couple of weeks teaching some terms to the kids, some actual content. So they’re familiar with a language and they can use it. 

Ti-Fen  (27m 57s): Last question  we know that there were lots of things happening in the States from black lives matter to today’s Capitol riots for the Capitol riot. Do you have any conversation with your students? And it’s a such a hard topic. 

Wendy (28m 20s): Yes. Thank you. So I teach seven and eight year olds and this is a tender age, right? So on Wednesday evening, as I was watching the Capitol riots, all I can think about was what am I going to do tomorrow? So I determined that I would create space for whoever needed it, because I knew that at this age, some kids wouldn’t know what happened. They wouldn’t of been watching the news. Their parents may have chosen to not show them the news or tell him about it, to keep them insulated from it. And that is reasonable for a young child. 

So what I did the next day is I started our day as we always do. We have a morning meeting. I said, we’re going to do a morning meeting exactly the same as we do every day. And then I said, I’m going to talk about something that happened yesterday. That was kind of hard. And I told them factually what happened? And then I have the kids do a, check-in a again on a jam board. Do you want to have a class conversation about this? Or do you want to go work independently? Like you don’t need to have a conversation. And so the kids move their sticky notes and it turned out that five students want it to have a conversation. So I placed every one in individual break out rooms who wasn’t going to be part of it because that’s fair. 

And that’s their choice. They worked on some independent tasks. And then with those five students, I said, you know, again, factually here’s what happened? Do you have any questions? What are you thinking? And one student shared that he had watched the news with his family, his father talked to them about it, that kind of thing, or another girl was scared that shared that she was experiencing worry and anxiety watching the news. You know, it’s upsetting to see people fighting to see, seen, hear about violence, those kinds of things. And one girl just said, well, what happened? Can you tell me more about what happened? 

I think I know what happens. She had older brothers and she just wanted to know a little bit more. And we went through that conversation for about 20 minutes and that’s it. I just held space for who needed it, which I think was the right thing to do. Hopefully. 

Ti-Fen  (30m 9s): Yeah, that sounds, that sounds right. And great to me. So the last section is some random and big questions. First, is there any one to two books that influence a lot of your thinking or value systems in these past few years? 

Wendy (30m 25s): Yes. So I, I always love when people ask this question, a book that I love and is near to my heart and will be forever, is called fostering resilient learners and it’s strategies for creating a trauma sensitive classroom. And it’s written by Kristen sours and Pete hall. And I actually am friends with them now and I work for them. I consult I’m with them, teaching and training people and how to create a trauma sensitive environment. And when I was at Delaware Teacher of the Year, I had to have a platform or something to talk about when I visited at different schools and communities. And I always talked about this need to provide a trauma sensitive classroom. 

I believe that it’s a moral imperative and it is what we need to do to support students because students can help what happens to them, but they come in with the effects of what happened to them and it’s our job to support them. So I love that book and it’s a quick read. You can read it on a weekend and then you can go into your classroom or your learning environment on the next Monday and do something differently. So I’m, I really recommend it fostering resilient learners. And then in this book, the second book I’ll mention is not an education book, but it’s spoke to me in such a wonderful way. 

A friend gave it to me, it’s called rest. And the subtitle is why you get more done when you do less. And it’s by Alex, Sue, John Kim Pang. And it just talks about how we rest and how we can be really productive when we rest. And that rest may look different for everyone. So I’m a very active and driven person. I’m a morning person. I do a lot, even on the weekends, you always find me doing some kind of work because I’m pursuing like a side interest or we have another project going. And the book justifies for me that rest doesn’t always have to be like sitting silently, not moving rest can be hiking where your deep in thought or rest can be organizing, are doing a project where you are just coming away from your professional craft, because that’s often where we get ideas and figure out innovation, an innovative things that we can bring back to our professional craft. 

So I love that book called rest. 

Ti-Fen  (32m 24s): So if you have a super power to change education system in America, what would it be ?

Wendy (32m 31s): So? It would be to immediately and all of the systemic racism that exists and our education system, it would be to have everyone immediately be culturally responsive and to have a more representation of educators of color in the system to support our students of color. And that’s what a lot of people are working on. That’s one of my goals that I pursue in addition to advocating for and teaching about social, emotional learning. This is something we need to do a So we do no harm to any student and we help them achieve their greatness. 

It’s our job. 

Ti-Fen  (33m 5s): Right. So before we close up Wendy do you have any other thoughts that you want to share with our listeners? 

Wendy (33m 13s): So I just want to say to all the educators out there, Thank you every day for all you do thank you for being in the field of education. Thank you for supporting students. Thank you for working to grow and be better. We are in a difficult, difficult time, but in a way it’s one of the most exciting times and education because there’s a lot of innovation taking place. There is a lot of people who are tackling these really hard issues around racism and things like that. And the last thing I want to say is listen to your students. 

Your students can tell you what’s hard for them. Your students can tell you what their hopes and dreams are. Your students can tell you when they’re disengaged or they’re struggling. What the problem is. Just listen to them. If you place your classroom’s a student’s at the center of your classrooms and at the center of your own heart in education. And that’s where we can do great things for, for the people that we need to know. 

Ti-Fen  (34m 12s): Great. That’s really well-said. And the last, last thing I really appreciate Wendy you share so much great resource and activities for an hour.. And if our listeners want to know more about your work, how they can find you online. 

Wendy (34m 36s): Oh, great. Yeah. Please contact me if you have questions or you need support. So I’m active on Twitter. My Twitter handle is at Mrs. Wendy Turner. I also have a Teacher Facebook page. It’s a Wendy Turner 2017. Delaware Teacher of the Year. And just like you contacted me through Twitter and through Facebook, please reach out. And my email is Wendy Turner at If you go into my Twitter profile, there’s a link there for our website. And that website is a wake lit collection, a curated collection of all the different articles. 

I’ve written podcasts that I’ve been on presentations that I’ve made. So if you’re wondering about me or you’re looking for ideas, or just to understand how I think, please check out that collection of my work and then, and do reach out. I, I shared at the beginning of this broadcast that I am a global learning fellow, and I truly love to be connected to educators around the world. I’ve done presentations and trainings in Africa. I have replied to teachers in Asia and Europe about questions that they have. I’m friends with a teacher from South Africa because of my trip there with NEA foundation. 

And So please do reach out because the common language is that language. That’s at the heart of all educators, that language of love. And I’d love to help you if I could. So thank you for joining me today. Thank you to fed. I had a wonderful time and I really appreciate being asked, and please do let me know if you and your listeners need anything and keep doing a wonderful job. 

#27 如何活化漢字,增進特殊孩子識字的能力 – 李雪娥老師 (How to learn Chinese by understanding its meaning behind)

“我們需要了解教學的教材是什麼,它的本質又是什麼,所以教學障的孩子並不是把教材簡化,教學速度放慢,這樣是不能解決問題。” – 李雪娥老師


追蹤雪娥老師: 臉書

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本集大綱 Show Notes

  • [1:12] 老師專研特教的啟程。老師分享當初如何發現自己小朋友有學習障礙。
  • [4:30] 確定有學習障礙後,老師尋求的援助。
  • [9:56] 老師在2012年時,提出了「形→義→音」的中文學習模式,稱做為「部件意義化識字教學法」,為什麼傳統 形 > 音 > 義的模式不適合?
  • [12:47] 部件意義化識字教學法的實際例子。
  • [14:09] 課堂上,老師使用的輔助工具以呈現漢字的意義。
  • [19:13] 每個文字都有辦法用意義帶出來嗎? 
  • [21:46] 哪個時刻讓老師發現「部件意義化識字教學法」是值得推廣。
  • [23:26] 圖畫識字的教學法,但無法套用在老師學障的孩子身上。
  • [25:56] 老師發展「部件意義化識字教學法」的起承轉合。
  • [32:20] 利用小篆為媒介帶出漢字意義的例子。
  • [39:34] 部件意義化識字教學法不僅只適用於學障孩子。
  • [42:45] 如果老師有一個超能力去改變台灣教育,最想改變的是什麼?
  • [50:19] 結語

回顧我們的教學 Reflections

  • 當您孩子時常無法記起某個字時,您會如何教導他們呢?
  • 對於學習有困難的孩子,您的教導策略是什麼呢?

改變的一小步 What can you do tomorrow

  • 從醫學或科學角度了解學習狀況較特殊的學生或孩子,進而之,您或許能發現適合他們的方式而非簡化教材。
  • 對於孩子無法了解的漢字,嘗試拆解部件且教導其意義。(不知如何踏出第一步? 歡迎參考雪娥老師的臉書,其分享許多解析鷹架。)

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#26 Integrate Technology in Learning Living Skills with Tarja Tolonen

In this episode, we are going to explore how we can integrate technology in classroom to cultivate life skills for special young adults (Age 16 -18).  And we are really lucky to have Tarja Tolonen to join us today.

Tarja is a  Finnish special education lecturer at Savo Vocational College. She has extensive experience  in early education , adult education and special education.   She is Apple Distinguished Educator since 2015 (ADE).   As an ADE, she is a trusted advisor in integrating technology into learning environments and passionate about sharing her expertise in using technology to help engage students in new ways with other educators around the globe. 

Connected with Tarja:
Twitter | Facebook


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Show Notes with Selected Links

  • [1:40] Tarja’s journey into special education for young adults.
  • [3:05] Why does Tarja think special education requires creative teaching?
  • [3:48] When Tarja just started to teach, what was the classroom she wanted to create? Is it changed throughout these years?
  • [5:50] What is the moment that changed Tarja’s mindset that she doesn’t need to know everything in teaching?
  • [7:03] What does Telma education look like in Savo Vocational College?
  • [9:19] How does Telam tailor the curriculum for different individual needs?
  • [12:09] As a technology integration advocator,  what is the one technologies Tarja used the most in her classroom for communication?
  • [15:13] How do these apps help the students to communicate?
  • [17:28] What do students do with book creator app in the classroom?
  • [20:32] There is an interesting Facebook video post from Tarja that trying to use filter for people with speech disabilities.  What inspired Tarja to do that?
  • [22:35] Tarja’s favorite app for virtual learning environment.
  • [26:05] The proportion of nurses and special young adults in a classroom.
  • [26:37] Books that influenced Tarja a lot in these few years.
  • [27:48] What does education mean to Tarja personally?
  • [29:25] Parting thoughts


Please go here


  • Do you use any technology in your own classroom? What do you think the role technology plays in teaching and learning?

What can you do tomorrow

  • Try out Book Creator app to help your students to build their own cooking book, personal interests..etc with vivid pictures.

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