Twenty-five teachers and students from CPS high schools gathered on February 08, 2012, to learn about the kimochis. Kimochis is the Japanese word for emotions, and the American iteration of kimochis is a great chance for our high school students to provide social/emotional learning opportunities for K-3 students in neighboring schools.
Research indicates that it is critical to address the social/emotional learning needs of our students in order to reach academic achievement goals. The kimochis service-learning project will bring high school students together with elementary students to learn how to identify and manage emotions. After two professional development workshops, teachers and their high school students will leave with curriculum, kimochi dolls and other tools necessary to lead activities at their neighborhood schools. The magic of the kimochis experience is that everyone (adults, high school and elementary students) learn about the power of emotions and our abilities to manage our emotions effectively.
Illinois is fortunate to be one of the few states to mandate the instruction of social/emotional learning skills (http://www.isbe.net/ils/social_emotional/standards.htm). It is also the home of the CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning), which has conducted voluminous research about the need for strong social and emotional teaching and learning practices.
A follow-up session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, at which time teachers and their high school students will receive the tools and support necessary to carry out this innovative and powerful service-learnign project. Stay tuned for more reports on the kimochis project. We can't wait for the exciting days when high school students begin to teach and mentor their elementary students.