6th Grade SEL Class Summary - Sept 13

Today we had introductions from the full SEL teaching team: Darlene, Nell, Señora Ellsworth-Yow, and Christopher. We explored questions like

  • What makes technology tricky? and
  • What makes it different from everything else in our lives, that we would need to have major rules, guidelines, expectations, and conversations around it?

We talked about how our screens are really powerful--they captivate our attention, tempt us, and distract us frequently. We touched on the "attention economy," where all those web- and app-developers out there are trying to "suck you in," to keep you coming back to their app or site, to get you to buy things or believe the same things they do. We also touched on how self-awareness, self-control, and intentional MINDFULNESS will help prevent our technology from controlling our lives.

Mainly, though, our conversation focused on one idea: cell phones and other mobile devices. In 6th grade, cell phones and mobile devices start to be a BIG DEAL for some. (As adolescents, you are turning your attention from adults toward each other, and many of you want to connect socially using technology.) Already in 6th grade, we have a bunch of kids who have cell phones or other mobile devices that allow them to text, FaceTime, email, and otherwise connect with friends.

So, as the year goes on, we're going to explore more deeply how to build a 6th grade community where everyone feels included, even when some might be connecting over technology and others may not. We also want to remember that having a phone is not always an advantage--there are many benefits also to waiting a while longer before you get your own personal device.

Half the grade will pick up where we left off on this conversation September 27; the other half will pick back up with me on October 4. In the meantime, think about your own personal relationship with technology and media:
  • What devices do you use on a daily/weekly basis?
  • What apps, sites, or other programs do you mainly use? For learning OR fun?
  • How, if at all, do you like to connect with others using technology?
  • What are the benefits of spending your free time OFF screens?