The Social Institute today announced that it has expanded its pioneering social-emotional learning curriculum to meet the needs of fourth grade students, available beginning in January of 2021. The developmentally appropriate lessons come after requests from schools, and will focus on The Social Institute’s Seven Social Standards, which serve as a set of guiding principles for social media and tech use. Examples of standards include: Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous, Strike A Balance, and Find Your Influencers.
Surveys reveal the average age kids get cell phones is ten years old, and exposure to mobile devices begins at a much younger age. Further, most parents report technology use has become more prevalent in the last year as schools and families turned to technology to assist with remote learning activities during COVID-19.
“Ten-year-old students today have more information in the palm of their hands than any previous generation,” said Micah Adams, Head of Content at The Social Institute. “Combine that with the fact that they now use technology as a primary means to connect with one another, and it’s clear that we need to be empowering and equipping this age group with the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital world. Nobody gets behind the wheel of a car without first learning the rules of the road and then discussing and practicing potential scenarios with adults. Why should this be any different?”
The Social Institute conducted focus groups and surveys with over 100 elementary educators including administrators, counselors and classroom teachers in order to better understand the specific needs of fourth-grade students.
Over half responded that 2020-21 marked the first year that students were using devices to complete assignments while 80% reported that either half (19%), most (48%) or all (13%) of their students used a personal device or tablet.
When asked to select topics that would be helpful for addressing technology with elementary students, nearly 75% identified “managing time on devices” as the skill most needed.
The Social Institute’s curriculum across all grade levels aligns with CASEL’s core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills. Within each competency, The Social Institute asked elementary educators to prioritize sub-categories, and then crafted lessons to intentionally address those specific areas. The four most in-demand sub-categories for fourth grade were: demonstrating empathy and compassion, using planning and organizational skills, having a growth mindset, and exhibiting self-discipline and self-motivation.
All curriculum lessons incorporate the most up-to-date academic research, focus group insights, and survey results while also integrating student voice and real-world examples relevant to current students.
Each lesson also utilizes related news articles to spotlight how topics explored by students are reflected in the real world, and concludes with a Student Challenge that encourages students to build upon concepts discussed in class. Additionally, three Family Huddle questions are included with every lesson, which teachers can email families in order to continue the conversation at home.
“As an educator, I appreciate how these lessons are geared toward social life, both online and off,” said Katherine Schwartz, grade four teacher at The Lovett School in Atlanta. “There is definitely a need for that conversation in fourth grade as so many students are getting laptops for the first time. Navigating email and collaboration online is a huge part of this year for them. It is also an age where they are learning to navigate friendships, conflict, and collaboration, so those dialogues are helpful as well.”
The #WinAtSocial curriculum is available for students in grades 4 – 12, and the online platform includes a save and exit feature so that teachers can facilitate a lesson over multiple sessions as needed. For more information or to request a demo, visit www.TheSocialInstitute.com.
About The Social Institute
The Social Institute works with schools, parents, and leaders to empower students to use social media positively. By reinforcing character strengths like empathy, integrity, and teamwork, and by teaching teens and their role models (from parents to U.S. Olympians) to be their best selves on all platforms, we help them “win the game of social media.” As a team of digital natives, we bridge the digital divide between students and adults by offering a comprehensive curriculum and school presentations. Our partners include Ravenscroft School, Gaston Day School, Oldfields School, Norfolk Academy, Wake County Public Schools, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, The Women’s Sports Foundation, and other forward-thinking institutions around the nation.
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