Breakfast Club Blog

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is a curated space where bloggers from around the world contribute content on a continual basis about a variety of topics relevant to in and out-of-school time. The BOOST Breakfast Club blog is at the heart of an ongoing dialogue where expanded learning and education professionals share their personal thoughts and stories from the in and out-of-school time field. They also tell us what they ate for breakfast!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Enjoy the brain food.

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is Brain Food for In and Out-of-School Time Leaders!

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Why It’s Valuable to Integrate Parents and Social Emotional Learning

You are raising your kids, you receive a letter/email from the school that your child is about to embark on a personal exploration journey based on self-awareness, decision making, building positive relationships, and empathy. And it’s called social and emotional learning. And you think, “Is that what education is now-a-days?” Guess what? It sure is, and if it isn’t, it should be! Okay, okay, some parents/families might think, “this is just what we need!” After all, it’s ...Read More

Are your students at risk? Here’s what to watch for.

Over the past 25 years of working with administrators and teachers around SEL, the pushback has been “I don’t have time for that” or “I don’t know what to do” or “I’m not a school counselor.”  We are living in a state of emergency, and we must be fully present for our students. No excuses. More than ever, students need to know that they are not alone in this crazy world. We must communicate unceasingly that they are seen, known, valued, and loved. Friends, it’s time to put student well-being abo...Read More

Gamifying SEL with the Mood Meter

Social and emotional learning is a set of teachable competencies or skills considered fundamental to school and life success. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as the process of how children “acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring...Read More

An Open Letter to Pandemic Educators

For educators in a pandemic, our greatest priority is not academic progress, but social and emotional well-being. You have likely spent the last year under intense pressure trying to do anything you can to make a difference. Have your efforts closed the achievement gap? Should they be expected to? No, of course not. In everything you do, you have shown kids that they belong, that someone cares for them, that they are worth all your effort, and that you want them to be safe. That is the primary m...Read More

ExScaredEd: Fear & Excitement of the Unknown

This post originally appeared on the Breakfast Club Blog on September 5, 2017. My son Dylan just started first grade a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to it, he coined a new word to describe how he was feeling: ExScaredEd. A combination of excited and scared, he said that was the best way to express how he was approaching this new year. I love it. I love, love, love it. Since then, he added “ExNerveEd” to describe being excited and nervous, and “ExSKYted” to express being extra-excited. W...Read More

A Call to Action – Let’s not forget our Older Youth

This morning I had coffee and a celery-green apple-turmeric smoothie (my wife is trying to keep us healthy) for breakfast. Perhaps it did not provide the proper amount of sweetness to boost my mood, but perhaps it was just the kind of medicine I needed to say the following. We need to think about our priorities. We need to focus on older youth. The field of education, after school, and beyond is currently focused on getting young students, TK through 2nd graders, back to in-person learning ASAP....Read More

Putting the “Happy” in “Happy New Year”

Happy New Year! It’s what most of us say this time of the year, isn’t it? If you asked, “What do I mean when I say that?” what might your answer be? It’s easy to fall in step with using these common phrases without the deliberate thought behind the words. What really got me thinking about this were the reactions to a recent post of mine on Facebook: I choose to see 2020 not as the year of canceled plans, but as the year where the world stood still long enough for us to see the things we need to ...Read More

Bringing at-home STEM success into focus

STEM has left the building For a long time, advocates of STEM education have worked to bring STEM learning closer to students’ lives outside of school. This year, though, COVID has made STEM learning a part of students’ lives outside of school in ways nobody ever imagined or wanted. The pandemic has forcibly ejected STEM from the traditional in-building school environment and strewn it about in a great blurry mess spread out variably and amorphously among the home, Zoom sessions, mask-, distance...Read More

Social Emotional Leadership: A Game Changer

You may have heard of social and emotional learning, or SEL. Defined and predominately shaped by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, more than two decades ago, social and emotional competencies have become an essential avenue for developing key skills in our young people. SEL is defined specifically by CASEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage e...Read More

Focusing on the Three Rs this Summer

In a recent principal training, a participant raised his hand and asked a question I have heard too often: “How can I afford to invest in SEL (social-emotional learning) when my students have fallen so far behind?” I struggled to maintain my composure. This principal had been in at least three brain development workshops that unpacked the connections across the social, emotional, and cognitive functions of our limbic system. According to our biology, learning is a social and emotional process – ...Read More

SEL and Leadership? Let’s Get Loud!

SEL, SEL, SEL… social-emotional learning! Kids need it! All kids, not only marginalized youth– for some reason people think that (duh)! But all kids need it… rich, poor, students of color, white kids, urban, rural, and suburban kids, indigenous, affluent, English Learners, deprived traumatized kids, special needs, and seemingly normal kids (whatever that is). There’s this HUGE push for educators to implement social-emotional learning into classrooms and in expanding learning organiza...Read More

Poetry As A Tool For Teaching Social Emotional Development

Our students wrote original poetry for “Real Talk,” a social-emotional learning (SEL) class. Each month our students engage in and learn about different concepts relating to social-emotional development. We have created a book with all of our student’s poems, which I enjoyed reading. After reading several of our student’s work, the verse that stuck out for me was “Depressed.” The first line caught my attention because of its wit and honesty. Depressed When a tomato ...Read More