Social Emotional Learning

I came across these websites while working on our final project. The following resources are ones that I found that support our focus: Social Emotional Learning and the Circle of Courage.

  1. Circle of Courage – Every Student Can Thrive Blog

I really like this website because it explains the Circle of Courage in detail, and includes real classroom experience. It gives a ton of great examples that teachers can use that utilize this framework.

2. Aboriginal Family and Community Literacy Curriculum Workshop #6

What I like about this website is the way it organizes the big ideas  It talks about the different spirits of belonging (attached, loving, friendly), the distorted spirits of belonging (gang loyalty, craves affection, promiscuous), and the broken spirits of belonging (unattached, rejected, lonely). It also provides way to mend a broken spirit, which I think is extremely significant as classroom teachers. “Create a cohesive classroom environment where each child can fell like an important member, give positive encouragement, recognize individuality and creative talents, make sure teacher/caregiver expectations are very clear so children understand classroom expectations, be specific when reinforcing a child’s positive behaviour, with discipline and behaviour, focus on the deed and not the doer” (UBC). I found this information to be so encouraging when dealing with social emotional needs in the classroom this week. The entire page is helpful, and I will constantly refer back to this as I implement the Circle of Courage this year.

3. Norma Rose Point 

Possibly one of my favourite schools that I’ve had the opportunity to visit. If you haven’t had a chance to check this one out, you should book a tour date as professional development. It is a public school, housed at UBC. This is the school’s Circle of Courage Code of Conduct. When we first entered the school last year on a tour, I noticed a huge artwork designed by students that covered all aspects of the Circle of Courage. I was amazed at the intricate detail. I love how they used the different traits, connected to an Indigenous animal, and the qualities that align. For example, “Come to school ready to learn and always do your best. Set personal goals and make plans to achieve them. Take pride in your achievements and celebrate growth” as examples of Mastery.

4. A Positive Learning Framework for Classroom Management

This is a great article about using the Circle of Courage, and how it relates to a positive learning framework. Some of the big ideas covered include describing the need for positive focus on student behaviour and exploring students needs. It covers many aspects of Social Emotional Learning: self-esteem, social and emotional development, and feelings/emotions.

5. Resources for Integrating Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Learning

I came across this site as I was researching social emotional learning and Indigenous education. What I like is that it is organized by grade and big ideas, to align with BC’s new curriculum. There are ideas for numeracy and literacy. For example, if we look to the big idea in grade 3 science, we can see that living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems. It provides a lesson topic: ecosystems. It then goes on to provide discussion questions, connections to First Peoples’ Principles of Learning, Aboriginal Worldview’s and Perspectives, and core competencies.








Resources for Art

I have previously posted two resources. I wanted to post a few resources I have used as art projects with my students.

Coast Salish Sea Animal flash cards. My students love these. We have used them for their cultural teaching, and students have chosen an animal they resonated with. We then made a mural with shared information about Coast Salish people.

Coast Salish Art in the Classroom

This is an online resource for teachers, which includes guiding questions, examples, and lesson plans to help teach students about Coast Salish culture and art.

To continue the discussion.

Examples of Coast Salish Art throughout the city of Surrey, that was commissioned by the city.




First People’s Fiction Elementary Reading List

This is a website that houses a list of First People’s fiction picture books for elementary classrooms. One of my student’s favourite is ‘Mwakwa Talks to the Loon: A Cree Story’. What I appreciate about this resource is the extensive information and back story for teachers, helping to explain the importance of the book. For example, “In our individualistic, egotistical modern world, Kayâs’ story is an important one about the qualities of service and humility. It also contains an important message about the need to give thanks for the gifts that we enjoy. Furthermore, Mwâkwa Talks to the Loon contains environmental messages about our reliance on the natural world around us, and the necessity for us to attend carefully to our stewardship of the Earth.” The list goes through many resources, which support many of the social studies big ideas and curricular competencies of the new curriculum. I use the search option to find key words to support content cross-curricular. (ex. sounds, animal, culture, family, community, etc.)

Orange Shirt Day

In Surrey, we recognize Orange Shirt Day as a day where ‘Every Child Matters.’

If you haven’t heard about Orange Shirt Day, you can find information about it on their website:

Blurb from the website:

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013.  It grew out of Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.

The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.  It also gives teachers time to plan events that will include children, as we want to ensure that we are passing the story and learning on to the next generations.

Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

I use this website for their resources and ideas on Orange Shirt Day, which fell on Friday last week. We read “When I Was Eight” and had a discussion around residential schools.

Resources for Aboriginal Education

I previously posted two resources in separate posts as I came across them. These are three more I have come across that I wanted to share.

Teaching for Indigenous Education

This is a resource for teachers which covers Indigenous perspectives, enhancing our understanding, classroom connections, and key learning ideas.

Brad Baker at TEDx West Vancouver – Going Forward in Aboriginal Education

What I like about this video is the focus on courage, and the leap of faith in trying something different with Aboriginal education. He shares stories about educators who helped pave the way for him to share his true identity, and what British Columbia history really is.

Surrey Schools Aboriginal ‘Must Have’ Resource List

What a great list of resources! This is an excel list of resources that was created last year by the Surrey School District in British Columbia (SD36).

Titles, grade, and cross-curricular references are made. Titles include:


Circle of Courage

This is a great resource that we use in the Surrey School District. If you haven’t had a chance, you should read the book called ‘Reclaiming Youth At Risk: Our Hope for the Future’  Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Bockern. What accompanies the book is a poster that explains the Circle of Courage. It’s a model of positive youth development that uses a holistic approach for child rearing and development based on four universal growth needs of all children: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity (Bullinger, 2014). “These universal needs and values are central to practices of indigenous communities which rear children in cultures of respect” (Brendtro, Brokenleg, and Bockern, 2014). I have found this to be instrumental in my classroom.


Brendtro, L., Martin Brokenleg, & Steve Van Bockern. (10/01/2014). Reclaiming children and youth: Environments where children thrive: The circle of courage modelNational Educational Service.

Bullinger, C., & Carla Bullinger. (01/01/2014). Reclaiming children and youth: Circle of courage-cariboo chilcotin style National Educational Service.

Surrey Schools Youtube channel

As I was working through the readings in Module 1 and looking at the educational goals, I was continually drawn back to a music video that a number of Surrey school students created last year. I thought it was an amazing example of Indigenous youth working together and speaking out through digital technology. In our educational goals, one of Module 1’s focus is looking at how Indigenous knowledge and culture are often dismissed by western mainstream society. I think this music video does an amazing job of capturing the history and culture and how students do not want to be “frozen in the past”. The module also speaks about how technology and media are being used to “convey their link to ancestral knowledge and their ongoing evolution with regard to traditional values”. This video is a genuine example of Indigenous youth and how they are using music and media to give a voice to First Nations people.