What does it mean to have hope?

Did you know that all of these questions can only be answered if your students have HOPE?

  • What does your future look like?
  • Will you graduate high school? Will you go on to college?
  • Can you help others and change the world?
  • Can you see yourself being happy and secure?

The science and power of hope is knowing you have the ability to make tomorrow better than today. The good news is hope can be taught. 

Students with high hope: 

  • Will have a positive outlook on the future
  • Will be able to set goals that will lead them to a better future
  • Believe they will attain those goals and be successful 
  • Will persevere and push through obstacles and setbacks

How do you teach hope?

1- Teach how to set goals

Goals are measurable end results that lead to a desired future. Many students have goals and visions of the future but more often than not students lack specific steps and timelines to attain those set goals. 

2- Teach patients and promote a growth mindset 

Growth mindset allows students to believe they can continue to develop skills and talents through effort and persistence. They are also more receptive to feedback. 

3- Empower children by identifying individual strengths 

If a student can identify their strengths they will be able to use those strengths to attain goals. Inversely they will be aware of what they find challenging and be able to face those difficulties with persistence and hard work.

4- Share stories and experiences of “failures” and overcoming challenges

Allowing students to hear other people’s journeys and see the hard work, setbacks, and success are all part of attaining goals. Hearing from an adult that they admire or look up to can help them understand that challenges are just part of the process and everyone experiences them.

5- Identify that challenges and setbacks are part of the journey towards set goals

Understanding that attaining goals is a series of steps and that the journey to that set goal is just as important as the goal completion. Setbacks are an opportunity to reassess the strategy toward that set goal and that some steps may be more challenging than others and take longer to attain.

How does Hope amplify SEL?

During emotional intelligence education, students properly develop healthy attitudes, learn to manage emotions, create strategies to achieve goals, and cultivate positive relationships. Infusing skills to learn to hope in our SEL curriculum encourages students to work toward a better tomorrow.

When educators teach emotional intelligence along with strategies to nurture hope (My Best Me curriculum), the impact is felt beyond the classroom. Higher hope equates to academic improvement, emotional livelihood, and thriving teachers.

15 Easy Ways For Children To Give Back to the Community

Raise kids who give back. 

Why is it important to give back to the community?

Giving children the opportunity to give back to the community helps them build empathy and a strong connection to their community. The process of giving back also builds many life skills, such as teamwork, goal setting, communication, time management, etc. 

“My Best Me”  emphasis on community:

The “My Best Me” curriculum dedicates an entire section to community. Helping children build the skills to interact with their community, ask for help when needed and give back when possible. Learning about community helps children learn more about themselves, how to tackle challenges, and most importantly it helps them feel a sense of belonging. Learn more about the features and benefits of the My Best Me curriculum.

15 Easy Ways For Children to Give Back to their Community:

  • Holiday Food Drive
  • Organize a community Clean up 
  • Clothing Donation – donate clothes that no longer fit
  • Start a School Recycling Program 
  • Make a handmade card for a kid’s in hospital 
  • Write a note to send to an old age home
  • Write a message of thanks to a community hero
  • Help raise money for a charity by holding a bake sale
  • Raise awareness about issues within your community 
  • Help at a community garden 
  • Write letters to the troops 
  • Set up a charity for your local animal shelter
  • Gather and donate old toys you have outgrown 
  • Donate used books or create a book exchange at your school
  • Build a window display the entire community can enjoy 

Teaching Children How to Ask for Help

Social Emotional Learning covers many topics and skills, including growth mindset, emotional order, setting goals, managing self + environment, increasing students’ hope, and much more. In this post, we will be discussing a skill that is the foundation of social-emotional learning, growth, and goal setting. HOW TO HELP PROMOTE ASKING FOR HELP

Asking for help can be difficult for both adults and students alike. Sometimes the simple ability to admit that you may need help can be hard. The truth is EVERYONE will need help at one point or another. This lifelong skill will not only help educators and students in the classroom but it is a skill that will be carried through life. 

Everyone needs help, so why is it so hard to ask for it?

What gets in the way of asking for help:

  • don’t believe asking for help will make a difference
  • prefer to do things themselves 
  • may be embarrassed or ashamed
  • view asking for help as a sign of weakness

As adults and educators we set the tone and are an example to students on whether seeking help is ok. It is important that we make sure we send a positive message about asking for help

How to empower children to ask for help:

  1. Normalize asking for help:

This means you must also accept that you may need help at times as well. View asking for help as a normal part of life and an important life skill. Be open with students about times you have struggled and asked for help. 

  1. Asking for help is a strength: 

Make sure to frame asking for help as a strength and acknowledge that it takes courage. 

  1. Give alternative ways to ask for help

Some students may be introverted, shy, or just not yet comfortable asking for help verbally or directly. Create tools in your classroom that encourage students to share when they struggle. 

  1. All questions are good question

Make sure to respond positively when a student asks for help. It is important that when a student asks for help you give them your undivided attention. If this isn’t possible at a particular time, set a time when you can do so. 

  1. Ask for professional help

As you promote asking for help within your classroom make sure to refer students who may need more in-depth help to a more appropriate source. When you feel out of your element or not qualified, seek professional help. 

All of these tools are great ways to create an environment that promotes asking for help. This in conjunction with promoting emotional intelligence can make a world of difference to a child. The My Best Me curriculum helps promote many skills needed to have a growth mindset and a healthy relationship with success and failure. If we are able to realize that failure is part of the success we can help children realize that asking for help can be part of success as well.

How to Help Students Develop HOPE

Helping students develop hope

  1. Set Goals– This is the BIG picture. Goals academically, sports, family, career, etc. The beginning of the school year is a great time to check in with students and help them develop big-picture goals. Make sure that goals are set to accomplish something in the future rather than avoid something now.
    • Idea: have students create individual goal sheets for the year and rank goals in order of importance. 
  2. Identify Pathways and strategies for attaining these goals– this step helps students break down the long-term goal into steps. It is important to teach students that goals are attained in multiple steps and DO NOT have to be accomplished all at once. This will allow them to celebrate smaller successes on their way to attaining the long-term goal.
    • Idea: have students break down their goal into at least 3 individual steps. This is the journey to the set long-term goal.
  3. Cultivate Willpower and stay motivated– check in on goals and allow modification of pathways to achieve set goals. There is not just one way to attain a goal. As a teacher, it is important to make sure students do not believe that barriers make those goals unattainable, make them less successful, or make them less talented. Share stories of success and overcoming obstacles. Willpower is a resource that can be depleted. Willpower depletion can be caused by a simple lack of sleep, anxiety, emotional distress, lack of exercise, etc. This is where “My Best Me” comes in and helps the educator keep an open dialog, giving students the tools to manage stressors in a healthy and productive way. 

Benefits of Hope

  1. Academic Improvement: The science of hope has proven that children with higher hope scores have better grades, attendance, ad graduation rates. Hopeful children are more engaged academically and perform better.
  2. Emotional Livelihood: Children who have hope are more capable of self-regulating their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Hope allows them to flourish in their overall well-being.
  3. Decreased Drop-Outs: Classrooms with more hopeful students see decreased numbers of chronic absenteeism, fewer incidences of truancy, and lower drop-out rates, even when controlling for socioeconomic status.
  4. Thriving Teachers: Teachers with more hope are better at implementing strategies to reduce burnout and stress, increasing their ability to thrive in and out of the classroom.

If your school isn’t using My Best Me yet, we would love to help you bring Hope to your school. Our sales team is ready to answer your questions and demo My Best Me for you. Contact us to start spreading Hope in your school.

How to Connect with Students

Connecting with students has many great benefits. A positive student-teacher relationship promotes academic success, helps avoid negative behaviors, and promotes self-worth and good mental health. Studies have found that integrating social-emotional learning in the classroom has benefits for both students and adults that work with them.

3 strategies to connect with students

  1. Be Authentic- Create opportunities for students to share things about themselves, their likes, talents, dislikes, etc. The important thing when creating these activities and discussions is that you as the educator participate and allow your students to get to know you as well.

    Examples and ideas:
    • self-portraits: have children draw themselves and write down facts about themselves. Where were they born, how many people are there in their family, what is their favorite subject and why, favorite color, pets, etc. (Free printable)
    • What makes a great classroom board: together come up with what makes up a great classroom, have everyone decorate the board, and say one thing they feel would make the classroom amazing. 
    • Two truths and one lie: games are always a great way to break the ice, have fun and get to know each other.
    • Goal Setting: help your students set a goal and break down the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve that goal. This is a great way for you as the teacher to see what is important to your students and help them achieve that goal for themselves. (check in on these goals mid-year and again at the end of the year)(Free printable)

Being authentic also means you continue to learn and this means being able to admit when something didn’t work well even as the educator. Showing that starting over, regrouping and asking for help does not equal failure but rather it shows the ability to adapt and grow.

  1. Make yourself available- This one can be tricky for teachers because you not only need to make yourself available but also need to create boundaries so that you have time to recharge throughout the day. You can do this by setting specific times in which students can come for help or to discuss something. This can be in the morning before school, after school, and/or during lunchtime. 
  1. Be a Champion– Celebrate with your class. This can be as simple as attending a soccer game where many of your students are playing and/or attending. This is a great opportunity to cheer them on and build connections outside the classroom and connect with families. Celebrate not only the obvious success but celebrate growth and effort as well. Being a champion for your students means being seen as an adult that authentically cares about your student’s success and about them as individuals.
How to connect with students: Be authentic, be available, be a champion.