ASCA, CASEL, and MTSS…Oh My!

ASCA Student Standards, the CASEL 5, and tiered prevention and interventions strategies…perfect for your MTSS team!

Bloomsights is thrilled to add three new features in Bloomsights- ASCA Student Standards, the CASEL 5, and tiered prevention strategies for both teachers and counselors. We hope these additions help you to utilize Bloomsights’ data in your school’s continuous-improvement frameworks.

ASCA Student Standards and The CASEL 5

The ASCA Student Standards: Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to achieve academic success, college and career readiness, and social emotional development. The CASEL 5 address five broad and interrelated areas of competence that help cultivate skills and environments that advance students’ leaning and development. Areas of competence include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

To see how a Bloomsights indicator aligns to these frameworks, click on a Class or Student indicator and go to the information tab.

Tiered Interventions for Individual Students

Prevention and intervention strategies for individual students can be found under the What You Can Do tab in Bloomsights Student Indicators.

MTSS and Bloomsights

In Bloomsights, prevention and intervention strategies for students are organized by MTSS tiers and roles. You can use the links at the top of the page to toggle between Teachers and Counselors.

MTSS Tier 1 Prevention strategies are best for green students. You can use MTSS Tier 2 Target Interventions strategies with your yellow students. For red students, scroll to the list of interventions below MTSS Tier 3 Intensive Interevention.

Tying It All Together

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”- Abraham Maslow

When you first sign in to Bloomsights to check student results, find those indicators with lots of green students and take some time to celebrate!

Next, look at the top two roes of your Class Indicators page. These 8 indictors are top priority and are noticeably interconnected. Click on a few indicators with higher than expected numbers of red and yellow student to get more information so you can better define your students’ needs.

Don’t forget to take a look at the Class Sociogram to dig a bit deeper. Do you have any students plotted on the outside circles of the sociogram? Are these students red or yellow in the top 8 Indictors? Take some time to click on students to see how they are connected to each other.

You can also use the Response page to filter your student responses by category and question performance. Select a category and then select “Lowest” from the drop down to see which questions have the most negative responses.

By this point, you have likely found an area of concern and identified some students who need support for one or two indicators. Click on these indicators and go to the What You Can Do tab and find some universal prevention strategies that you think will work well with your class.

Get To The Root of Student Issues

Bloomsights is a formative assessment tool aimed at gauging student well-being and improving school climate as a way to comprehensively encourage student social emotional development. Simplify your SEL data to get clarity around your students’ needs and determine what interventions are necessary. Get meaningful and ongoing insights to plan and implement strategies that support improved student and school outcomes.

Interested in learning more? Click below to sign up for an on demand demo and receive an email with a special link to a walkthrough video that you can watch at your convenience!

Mapping the Relationship Dynamics of Your Students

Sociograms can be a useful tool to understand the existing social dynamics and social structure of classrooms.

A sociogram is a graphic representation of the social links that a person has within a group. Traditionally, sociograms are created by asking each of your students to list two or three classmates that they would like to sit by or work with on an activity. This data is then graphed with arrows indicating who is choosing whom.

If you’re thinking this sounds time consuming well you’re right! But given the high value of social connections to student success and emotional wellbeing, we felt there had to be a way to make it quick and easy to create sociograms for educators and counselors.

Bloomsights sociograms

With Bloomsights, educators and school counselors no longer have to take the time to collect data and graph results. Rather, students sign in to Bloomsights and share who they feel connected to in their class and across their grade with a few simple clicks!

Next, they share how strongly connected they feel to their classmate.

Bloomsights uses this information to construct and interactive sociogram of your class and your students. Students with many strong connections will sit towards the center of the sociogram. Students with fewer strong connections will sit farther out. This helps you to quickly identify students with poor social connections so you can intervene before the problem escalates.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Bloomsights sociograms work:

Video: Bloomsights Sociogram


Get to the root of student issues

Bloomsights is an assessment tool aimed at gauging student well-being and improving school climate as a way to comprehensively encourage student social emotional development. Simplify your SEL data to get clarity around your student’s needs and determine what interventions are necessary. Get meaningful and ongoing insights to plan and implement strategies that support improved student and school outcomes.

Tips For Building A Strong Classroom Community

Every student you have wants to feel like he or she belongs in your classroom. However, this requires time, commitment, effort, and planning on your part.

Strong student communities are characterized by the fact that all students feel comfortable, are well-behaved and are accepted. In a classroom with a strong sense of community, students feel safe and have a sense of belonging. Students feel like they can count on each other for support—academically and socially—regardless of the situation.

It is critical that all students develop trusting and enriching relationships with each other. Creating a strong sense of student community in the class is crucial for students’ well-being, learning, and personal development—both inside and outside of school. Research shows that students who attend schools with a high sense of student community are more driven and willing to take risks academically. Strong student communities also help to decrease bullying and classroom disruptions.

Students like to know what to expect when they walk into the classroom. They require structure and guidance. Take time in your week to teach students how to develop and build positive relationships with peers.

Routines

  • Use writing prompts to explore the idea of a community. Have students write about what community is and what it is not. Use their answers to help write classroom agreements about what it means to be a positive and productive member of the classroom community.
  • Have a fun introduction activity and/or celebration routine that you do every time you switch collaborative groups.  Have students high-five and say “I can’t wait to work with this group”.
  • To build structure and promote an environment of high expectations, have a routine for when the bell rings. These could be activities such as a writing prompt, a mindful activity, or a problem to be solved on the board.

Classroom Ideas and Activities

  • Create a classroom agreement, constitution, or contract at the beginning of the school year.  Students need to know that you have structure and rules regarding respect, trust, and safety.   Students will feel a sense of community if they help make these rules.
  • Play games that help foster connections and similarities between students, such as The North Wind Blows or Take a Stand Icebreaker.  Both activities can be found online.
  • Read “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath.  Pick a day of the week to fill each other’s buckets with gratitude and compliments.

Classroom Environment and Set Up

  • Post student/teacher agreements clearly in the classroom
  • Have a classroom “mascot” that is unique to your class.  Let the class pick the mascot.  It could be a stuffed animal, statue, soccer ball, or any other object.
  • Create a collaborative art project that everyone participates in and that you can post in the classroom.  One idea is to create a giant puzzle for which every student creates one of the pieces.

Building a collaborative, healthy classroom will take time. Some students will struggle with collaborative groups and joining activities.  Work with them privately on what they can do to participate.  Take baby steps with them.   Learn about the introverted students and how to support them in an extroverted classroom. Most importantly, do not give up. With time, commitment, and effort, a classroom community will slowly take shape. 

Tips To Build Strong Teacher-Student Relationships

A strong teacher-student relationship is characterized by a positive, friendly and respectful interaction between teacher and student.

The Power of Strong Teacher-Student Relationships

Teachers set the tone of their classrooms, mentor and nurture students, and listen and look for signs of trouble. They are aware of their students’ physical needs and make sure that the classroom is an environment where students feel free to be themselves. The teacher-student relationship is at its best when students can see that what they are learning is meaningful and that they feel valued by the class community.

Developing a positive and healthy teacher-student relationship in the classroom and across the school is a key factor contributing towards student academic success and happiness. Positive teacher-student relationships help students to succeed despite potential risk factors in their lives.  Classrooms where teachers and students have strong relationships often have fewer disruptive behavior. When students feel cared for, they are more likely to attend school and do well academically.  Students are also more willing to ask for help as their level of trust in the teacher increases. Students should leave the classroom thinking that they are special.

Routines To Help Build Strong Relationships

  • Learn and use students’ names as quickly as you can at the beginning of the year.
  • Greet students in the halls by saying their names or give them a handshake or greeting.  Let them know they are important.
  • Let students know when you are available each day for questions or just to talk.  Build time in the day for connections.

Classroom Ideas and Activities

  • Before the beginning of the school year, send notes home letting the students know a little about you and that you are looking forward to having them in your classroom.
  • Share personal stories about your interests and funny happenings.  Also, share when you have made a mistake and that you are not perfect.
  • Stay up-to-date with pop culture as much as possible.  It can be a great way to connect with students.
  • Send positive postcards home throughout the year.  Pre-address a set of postcards (your school registrar might be able to print address labels for you).  Each week, pick a few postcards and send home a positive note.

Classroom Environment And Set Up

  • Create an “all about me board” in your room.  Students love to know about your interests and your family.  Change it up from time to time so you are continually sharing with your students things about your life.  Have students create a “me board” too.
  • Post students’ pictures and names in the classroom.  Students need to see themselves in your room, so they know that they belong.
  • When you have a new student join your class, have a welcome sign with the student’s name greeting him or her at the door.

Keep In Mind…

The teacher is responsible for establishing positive relationships with each student and assumes the responsibility for continuing to strengthen these relationships over time. Don’t quit on building relationships.  It may take the entire year to see that your efforts are working.

And remember that students bring a lot of emotions and attitudes from home.  Try to not take things personally.  As long as expectations for classroom behaviors are generally being met, and no one is being offended, allow for students to vent occasionally. This could help students to feel better and could even build positive bonds between you and the students.

You’re human and will have bad days or a rough class period here and there. Therefore, it is ok to be authentic with students and tell them that you are having “one of those days.” You can use these times to model to your students how you reset and deal with adversity.

Cyberbullying: What Teachers and Schools Can Do

Students are often wary of seeking or getting help for cyberbullying because of fear of how their peers will respond. Creating an environment that fosters discussions around healthy digital citizenship is critical for students.

Characteristics of Cyberbullying

Today, a large part of the communication of children and youth takes place digitally, which has led to the problem of cyberbullying. Studies show that one in five students has received malicious or unpleasant messages or have had their pictures shared against their will on social media.

Many aspects of school bullying also apply to bullying in the digital world. However, cyberbullying has its own special characteristics, many of which are related to the ambiguity and anonymity of the digital world, and which raises some important questions, such as: Who is the sender of an unpleasant message, and how many people agree with it? Who posted a personal picture on social media, and how many people have seen it? Will there be more messages sent or photos posted? Who will be the next target?

Specific characteristics of digital bullying:

  • The identity of the bully may never be known and he or she may not see the bullying victims’ reactions, and therefore, are not affected by them.
  • Bullying can take place at any time of the day, and one cannot seek security and peace of home. It is impossible for the bully victim to escape the bullying.
  • The number of people who view or participate in bullying on social media is often unknown and potentially many. Messages about the victim can be quickly published and can circulate in the media for a long time.
  • Cyberbullying may not be noticeable to adults.

What Can You Do To Prevent Cyberbullying

Students are often wary of seeking or getting help for cyberbullying because of fear of how their parents will respond.  Many students fear that if they report that they are victims of cyberbullying, their parents will take away their devices and specific apps.  Students often know that they can block, ignore, and report a cyberbully but will often not do so because of the fear of missing out (FOMO).

There is also a significant amount of fear around peer retaliation and being called a “snitch.” Creating a safe environment in school where you can talk about healthy digital citizenship and ways to stand up against cyberbullying are critical for students.  Adults need to respond quickly and consistently when hearing about situations of cyberbullying.  Partner with parents in your school to address digital citizenship and cyberbullying.

Student Check-In Questions

Use the following questions to lead classroom discussion or writing activities about digital citizenship:

  • How often do you receive unpleasant messages on your phone, tablet, or computer?
  • How often do you think about other peoples’ feelings before sharing things online?
  • Do you think cyberbullying is a problem in our class? school?
  • In the past month, how often have people said mean things to you online?
  • How often do other students at your school use the Internet to spread mean rumors about you?
  • How often do other students use their phones to spread mean rumors about you?
  • How often do you use the Internet to spread mean rumors about other students?
  • How often do you use your phone to spread mean rumors about other students?

Classroom Ideas and Activities

  • Remind students that you are a safe person to talk to. Let them know ahead of time about your expectations regarding confidentiality and how you will respond to certain situation. Teaching them the difference between “tattling”(to get someone in trouble) and “telling” (to get help for self or others) is crucial.
  • Have students create a wall of good digital citizenship ideas and/or what to do if you are being cyberbullied.
  • Routinely send out tips and conversation starters to parents about digital citizenship, especially after discussing it in class.

Simple Steps To Combat Student Loneliness

Many young people feel lonely on a daily basis. However, there are things you can do to help them overcome feelings of loneliness.

Loneliness is something people experience at some point in their lives. However, for some, the difficulty of forming social relationships, or thinking that others see them as being “different” because of their physical appearance, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or other characteristics, may cause a feeling of being rejected by others. This can lead to lower self-esteem, less self-confidence, and negative academic performance. It is important to respond quickly as loneliness could have significant negative effects on physical and mental well-being.

How To Help

First, integrate social skills teaching into your daily routine. Children and adolescents need to be taught how to build and maintain positive friendships and relationships with their peers. Coach them on how to approach their peers, how to interact with them in healthy ways, and how to build trust and empathy. Think of activities that allow for students to find similarities with each other and to practice their social skills under your guidance.

Second, create time every day to work on teacher-student relationships. Students in your class(es) should not go unnoticed. Make sure your classroom is a place where all students see and hear their name on a regular basis. Model social skills with students who do not participate in lessons and activities to encourage them to take action and be seen. Most importantly, give your students opportunities to practice their social skills with you.

Check-In Questions

Grades 1-3

  • Do you feel lonely at school?
  • It’s hard for me to make friends in school
  • I feel left out of things in my class
  • There are kids in my school who I play with

Grades 4-8

  • Do you feel lonely at school?
  • It’s hard for me to make friends in school
  • I feel left out of things in my school
  • I feel close to people at my school

Routines

  • Assign a greeter at the door to welcome every student by name. The greeter can be a teacher or a student
  • Create a celebration routine at the end of each period that is unique to that class
  • Create an “I Feel Chart”– Using the chart, have student self report how they feel when starting and leaving your classroom by pointing to parts of the chart as they enter and exit

Classroom Ideas and Activites

  • Create a classroom charter to promote student buy-in and trust in the classroom. Keep the charter posted in your classroom and refer back to it regularly. This allows student to be part of the decision-making process
  • Write personal notes with dry-erase or wet-markers directly on desks or use sticky notes to let students know you are thinking about them or proud of them.
  • Ask a closed-ended question (Coke or Pepsi? dogs or cats?) during roll call. Each student will answer when their name is called. Have students make mental nots of students who share similar likes with them.

Classroom Environment and Set Up

  • Post students’ names in the classroom. ” A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”– Dale Carnegie
  • Send a letter or postcard home to each student throughout the year recognizing their contribution to the classroom. Pre-address envelopes at the beginning of the year and pick a few students each week to whom to send notes.
  • Have a “special chair” that students are selected to sit on for a week.

Sociograms Make Viewing Your Students’ Social Connections Simple

Whether you see your students face-to-face or virtually, you can use Bloomsights to get a better understanding of the social dynamics in your class.

A sociogram is a graphic representation of social links that a person has. It is a graph drawing that plots the structure of interpersonal relations in a group situation. Most importantly, sociograms can help you to recognize and reduce social isolation, build positive peer-to-peer connections, and deliver tailored interventions to the most relevant students.

Traditionally, sociograms are created by asking each of your students to list two or three classmates that they would like to sit by or work with on an activity. This data is then graphed with arrows indicating who is choosing whom.

If you are thinking this sounds time consuming, you’re right! So we thought of a better way. With Bloomsights, students identify who they feel connected to at the class and grade level.

Next, they share how connected they feel.

Bloomsights uses this information to construct an interactive sociogram of your classes and students.. Students with many strong connections will sit towards the center of the sociogram. Students with fewer strong connections will sit farther out.

You can also see an individual student’s connections

With Bloomsights you also get valuable insights into other dimensions of your students social well-being that may normally go unnoticed, but that could serve as a stimulus for early intervention—critical for issues related to feelings of safety and loneliness as well as bullying.

Insights With Bloomsights

At Bloomsights, we are experts at creating adaptive, responsive, and flexible school climate surveys. Reach out to Bloomsights for an in-depth discussion on how to implement a quality social and emotional assessment plan. Visit https://bloomsights.com email at hello@bloomsights.com or call 970.568.8981.

Bloomsights Distance Learning Survey

Bloomsights is the formative assessment tool for school climate and student well-being. It was developed to support school-wide efforts to build high-quality learning environments and create the conditions for effective teaching to occur.

Designed to accurately assess and monitor more innovative definitions and measures of both school success and student achievement than today’s standardized tests, Bloomsights delivers the kind of in-depth insights that help teachers to better know their students and to better understand their blind spots as practitioners.

Our new Distance Learning indicator helps school leaders, educators, and school health professionals gather valuable student feedback on distance learning.  Bloomsights questions cover students’ engagement, needs, access to technology, and learning environment.

You can access the survey here. To download, make a copy of the Google Doc, save it, and then download or print.

Get To The Root Of Student Issues

At Bloomsights, we are experts at creating adaptive, responsive, and flexible student well-being and school climate surveys. Reach out to Bloomsights for an in-depth discussion on how to implement a quality school wide assessment plan. Visit https://bloomsights.com/ or call 970.568.8981.

Emotional Wellness And A Safe Classroom: What Can You Do?

The feeling of being safe is a prerequisite for students’ well-being, development, and learning. When students feel safe, they will have the energy and mental freedom to participate actively in class, acquire new knowledge, and work and socialize with others. It is in such an environment that students are not afraid to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them, and be creative.

The Importance Of A Safe And Positive Learning Environment

Research shows that a safe and positive learning environment that is both caring and constructive is crucial for students’ success and well-being. Safety is an essential element of an encouraging learning environment where they can take risks, make mistakes, and come up with creative solutions to problems. A safe environment also encourages students to talk about potential issues that they might be experiencing in school as well as challenges that they might be facing—whether academic, social, or emotional.

What Can You Do?

One of the most important factors in students feeling safe in school is their relationship with their teachers.   Listening and paying close attention to students are powerful tools for a teacher in creating a safe environment for students. As a teacher, make sure to create an inclusive school and classroom environment where all of your students feel welcome. Be sure to recognize that it is acceptable to make mistakes and that it is important to learn from them. Share with students stories of when you have made mistakes and how you dealt with and grew from them.  Make it clear that there is a no-tolerance policy in your classroom for hurtful words and behavior. Most importantly, make sure that other teachers, the administrators, and intervention teams are aware of students who show indicators of not feeling safe.  Establishing an environment where everyone feels safe and respected should be a team effort. Parents should also be notified and involved.

Here are some other ways that you can help your students feel emotionally safe at school:

Classroom Routines

  • Be approachable.   Let students know of the time during the class period when they can speak with you.  Schedule time daily for individual conversations while other students are busy with other activities such as reading or writing. 
  • Have a share out time when students can share a time when they made a mistake and acknowledge what they learned from it. Teach the students in the audience to finger snap, clap, or wave to show their appreciation.
  • Use cooperative groups to encourage participation.  Be intentional about placing students who show signs of not feeling safe with positive, inclusive students.

Classroom Ideas And Activities

  • Have every student identify one or two adults (it could be anyone from the teacher to the school nurse) to be their go-to person or safe adult in the building.   Have students write on an index card their names and who their safe adults are.  Remind students that if they are unsure who to pick, you would be happy to be their safe adult.
  • Teach students the difference between “tattling” (to get someone in trouble) and “telling” ( to get help for self or others).
  • Emphasize the importance of upstander behavior.  Reward students when you see such behavior.

Classroom Environment And Set Up

  • Be in the halls as often as possible monitoring student behaviors and paying attention to student conversations.   Students feel safer when they see adults in the halls.
  • Move around the room while teaching so that you can be aware of the energy and behaviors of your students.
  • Encourage the reporting of bullying and hurtful behavior.  Clearly post in your room information about how to report these behaviors.

Yes, You CAN Assign Group Projects To Your Online Students!

We all recognize classrooms are physical spaces that naturally foster learning, social interaction, and a sense of community for students. Students are assigned to classrooms and learn through their interactions with their teachers and peers. Most teachers intentionally organize space in their classrooms to facilitate the development of interpersonal skills and collaboration. Classroom norms are established to regulate behavior and inform students on how they are expected to treat others.

Recent events have uprooted teachers and students from their traditional classrooms and transplanted them into digital environments that are both unfamiliar and foreign. The “new norm” of online learning has left teachers and students to grapple with ways to mirror the classroom experience in a meaningful and effective way. And while web conferencing tools have made it easier to replicate elements of the classroom experience, the unexpected transition to remote learning has reinforced some myths about online learning. The idea that online learning eliminates the opportunities for students to work collaboratively is one myth, in particular, that needs some rethinking.

Group Work Reduces Feelings of Isolation

Assigning group work to online learners has its advantages, especially in uncertain times. Group assignments create opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions that will help them feel like they are part of a learning community. Moreover, students who feel a sense of community online are less likely to think about being isolated and are more likely to be engaged in their learning.

Students that struggle with social skills or feel socially isolated in the classroom may prefer online learning over traditional learning. For these students, group work done in an environment where they are more comfortable could help to develop social skills and build connections with their peers.

Choose Groups Wisely

One of the biggest challenges collaborative learning presents to teachers is determining which students are best suited to work together. In a traditional classroom, teachers have the opportunity to monitor student groups and if necessary, make changes to groups to ensure the best possible results. Online learning makes observing students more difficult and therefore it is important that teachers have a strong understanding of the social structure of their classroom and the underlying social dynamics that support it. Sociograms are graphs that plot the structure of interpersonal relations in a group situation and are ideal for determining student grouping.

These graphs use student responses to questions about who they feel connected to and the strength of those connections to create a visual representation of the social links that a student has. This information coupled with knowledge around a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses allows teachers to more objectively organize groups.

Examples to Implement in your Virtual Classroom

Implementing collaborative learning into the classroom is no simple task. And for many, the idea of students working together remotely is even more daunting. However, just like web conferencing tools have made it possible for teachers and students to come together while being forced apart, we can look at other technology that can drive collaboration.

Before you venture into the world of online collaboration with your students there are some real-world issues that you will want to ask yourself about/consider. First, it is important to consider technology disparities between your students. You will need to know what your students do and do not have access to before you assign them to groups. It’s also necessary to consider financial and housing disparities. Some students may not want their classmates to see where or how they live during a web conference. Finally, you will want to take some time to create with your students a set of agreed-upon rules that students will follow when working together online.

Here are a couple of examples of group projects that use Google Docs and Slides, and Sheets so students can work together remotely. I’m a former history teacher so some of these are projects that I often used in my teaching. I also recommend going to Google Docs and looking through their set of templates. They have a large selection of templates that you can simply copy and then share with your students. I have included my favorites in the list below.

Business Brochure using Google Docs

Caption/Label This! using Google Slides

Comic Book Template using Google Slides

Copy and Paste Quiz using Google Docs

Historical Text Messages using Google Sheets

Historical Tweets using Google Sheets

Introduce Your Pet using Google Docs

Newsletter using Google Docs

Science Lab Report using Google Docs

Share Your Favorite Recipe using Google Docs

Newspaper using Google Docs