From How Do I Cope as an Educator to: I Have a Plan & I Can Do it!

Updated: Apr 26

Especially at the difficult times we are going through, we feel the need of children for social-emotional skills: proactive behavior, cognitive flexibility, collaboration, imagination and curiosity. We want our students or kids to have purpose, self-directness and values. We would very much like them to be able to regulate emotions and behaviors. And we'd like to practice this Social Emotional Learning (SEL) by project based learning (PBL). Are we climbing too big a mountain?

No. We can do it.

But how?

We need to define our challenge. It varies according to our educational role and the children's needs. This doesn't have to be a back breaking event. In my workshop at CPSI (Creative Problem Solving Institute in the University at Buffalo, NY) I ask participants to define their challenge. We have an artistic interlude - listening to poetry and watching a video of my art. Then I ask them: Are you ready? And they are.

We need to outline a plan to meet our challenge. The 5 E's method is great to pave our path. We explore our challenge then experience - play with ideas. We examine them and elevate one into a solution. Finally we express a concise plan for effectiveness and ease. The 5 E's help us to creatively solve our problem.

You may think this is too simplistic. Such a process needs to be thorough. Yet over the years of leading my workshop at CPSI and in The Florida Creativity Conference I found a way to use my art, literature and lifelong creative education experience for one 3 hours inspirational workshop whose replay is available in the Get Creative plan of our stimulating teacher training academy.

Our next step is to identify our and the kids' gifts and to make a simple to-do list on how to develop those. Focusing on promoting the kids' individual potentials we give them meaning, purpose and self-directness. They learn social values, as well as their own value. When energy is directed to positive productivity, regulating emotions and behaviors becomes easy.

Toward the end of the workshop we discover lessons and activity ideas that weave nature, art, science and environment (STEAM), to foster cognitive flexibility. Even for yourself, you'll feel your mind opening up to endless possibilities and remote associations, the way a child's mind works. From that point you'll be able to foster those innate traits into social-emotional skills. The 5 E's will in this case serve to deliver clever project based learning.

Still feel that your challenge is to big?

Past attendees' overbearing weight transformed into a feeling of: I can do it.

Here's what participants in my CPSI 2019 workshop said:

  • "Excellent, well planned, good details."

  • "She is a very special creative leader."

  • "The only Wow I gave."

Learn more about this stimulating teacher training!

See you there,

Michelle Korenfeld

Raising Creative Thinkers

21st Century Project-Based and Social-Emotional Learning lesson plans, stimulating teacher training, teaching tools, and best children’s STEAM book