Learning in Quarantine: 5 Ways to Use BASE Education to Support SEL
Learning in Quarantine: 5 Ways to Use BASE Education to Support SEL
As some students move in and out of quarantine this school year, consider the benefits of providing the mental health supports needed to thrive with online social-emotional learning (SEL) courses from BASE Education.
Students are facing much more than an academic crisis. They are facing a mental health crisis, and quarantine creates additional stressors. More than 140,000 U.S. children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic from April 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. This modeling study reveals that one U.S. child loses a parent or caregiver for every four COVID-19 deaths. Combine this reality with the real concerns associated with their own exposure or illness and the feelings of isolation when quarantine is thrust upon them. This can take a heavy toll on students!
In this blog post, we will look at using BASE Education to offer students a much-needed and structured safe space to reflect and express how they are feeling so they can move through the quarantine experience with knowledge and strategies to do so as safely as possible.
For Elementary Students
1. Expand on Previous Learning
If you are using BASE Education in your elementary classroom, use the educator guides and lesson plans to extend activities and deepen your students’ understanding and retention of the concepts studied. For example, if you followed the Pacing Guide for grades 1-5, your grade 5 student began the year with the course Worries. Revisit the lesson’s learning goals of understanding what worries are, what they can feel like, what can cause them, and developing tools to manage worries. Encourage your quarantined students to revisit these strategies when they are feeling worried.
For All Students
2. Continue Regularly Scheduled Classwork
Keep your students as close to what their classmates are doing as possible. For example, if you are planning on teaching the All or Nothing Thinking course in your next session, assign the course to students in quarantine also. Maintain as much of the structure and consistency of your classroom as you can online, allowing for changing expectations depending on student needs.
3. Communicate and Maintain Flexibility
The most important and irreplaceable part of this plan is you, the educator. You build relationships with structure and consistency in your classroom. You create a safe learning environment for your students. They can come into your room and know what to expect and, sometimes, even forget their outside struggles. They know you care about them.
You’re aware that every student’s quarantine experience is different. During the isolation, the relationships you have built are even more important. Strong developmental relationships make a significant impact on student success. Communicate often with quarantined students; be flexible and be alert for communication from them in all forms. Utilize the Text Deletion and Firewords™ features in your quarantine room to ensure that you are catching all communication from your students.
For Grades 6-12 Students
4. Create a Special Quarantine Room
Just like you set up BASE Education in-platform rooms (similar to a class structure) for each of your classes at the start of the school year, create a room specifically to meet the mental health needs of your students in quarantine. Suggested courses for this room include Coronavirus (COVID-19), Anxiety, Coping Strategies, Self-Esteem, and Adjusting to Today’s New “Normal.”
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Begin with the recently updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) course. This will teach the basic facts about the novel coronavirus identified in 2019 and answer many questions that students are asking. Beginning here allows the student to process their situation with science and strategies and understand that what they are feeling is normal.
- Anxiety: Continue next with the Anxiety course. This will help students understand anxiety, recognize its signs, and develop coping strategies, as well as help-seeking behaviors.
- Coping Strategies: This course defines coping strategies, highlights their importance, provides examples, and helps to individually define skills that work for each student. It explores barriers to success, provides tools to overcome challenges, teaches appropriate implementation, and reviews a plan for the future.
- Self-Esteem: This course defines self-esteem, outlines the different types of self-esteem, discusses how to develop a stronger sense of self-esteem, and explores barriers to success, as well as provides tools to overcome challenges and plan for the future.
- Adjusting to Today’s New “Normal”: Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, and all students continue to feel that impact in various ways. This course will help students cope with their feelings about the last and the present year as they continue to adjust to a “new normal.” Through the stories of other students presented in the course, learners will have the opportunity to self-validate feelings of loneliness, depression, loss, academic insecurity, and isolation that they may be experiencing. They will tap into their coping strategies and create a path for successful reintegration and resilience as they return to school.
In every BASE Education course, students are given the opportunity to define and reflect on their values, knowledge, and behavior as aligned to the topic being explored; to learn coping strategies and dispel barriers to success; and to set plans in place for forward thinking using a strengths-based approach. Learn more about course structure in the blog post, BASE Education Feature Focus: Course Structure.
5. Utilize Recommended Course Paths
If you are already working in BASE Education, you are likely familiar with BASEline, our SEL formative assessment for 6th–12th grade students. This 15-minute, survey-style formative tool reliably assesses students' strengths and needs in three domains of reporting—behavioral infractions, engagement, and protective factors—that are reflective of the five CASEL competencies.
BASEline can be used as an effective benchmark to track SEL progress over time, confidently and efficiently guiding educators with suggested course assignments that will propel SEL development and ultimately support whole-learner success. With customized recommendations, students can continue on their SEL journey as they would if attending class in person.
For more information on supporting students during this pandemic, read [Educator Network] Educator Resources: Supporting Students Dealing with Trauma or visit our BASE Education course catalog to see what courses you can get started with now.