The beginning of the school year is all about building community, strengthening social and emotional skills, and helping students to see that they belong at school. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “SEL can help all young people and adults thrive personally and academically, develop and maintain positive relationships, become lifelong learners, and contribute to a more caring, just world. We define social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education and human development.” (Source) At BirdBrain Technologies, we are strong believers in the power of social and emotional learning, and we believe that computer science and robotics can be powerful tools for helping students to practice and strengthen these skills. Want more info? We’ve got a webinar all about it here!
If you’re as excited about the combination of SEL and robotics as we are, then you’re going to love this brand new resource: Exploring Feelings with Finch. This activity challenges students to recognize and label emotions, assign them a color, and then to program their Finch Robot to express the feeling that they choose. The activity, which comes in the form of a printable worksheet ready for classroom use, could also be customized to be used along with a readaloud or classroom discussion.
According to CASEL, identifying emotions is a critical and fundamental skill for social emotional learning, in students of all ages. Practicing recognizing facial expressions and other social cues is a great way for students to strengthen self-awareness skills. And for students reluctant to engage in SEL or struggling to identify or discuss their own emotions, having a robot act as the physical representation of these feelings might just be the encouragement they need to dive in and engage!