Solution Tree

A New Framework for Addressing the SEL of Students with Diverse Needs

Categories: Authors, Instruction, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Solution Tree, Student Engagement

At first glance, the title of my book Raising Equity Through SEL: A Framework for Implementing Trauma-Informed, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Restorative Practices may read to some like many buzzwords to cover in one source. Social and emotional learning (SEL) alone is a behavioral framework focusing on self and social awareness competencies and responsible decision-making (CASEL, 2020b).

The title includes trauma-informed, culturally responsive teaching and restorative justice, so readers know that the book is not just about SEL. Instead, it guides for assisting multiple student needs by implementing practices from these pedagogies through an equity and SEL integration framework. This book is written to help begin or strengthen your equity journey by paying close attention to your own emotional intelligence (EQ) and the EQ of those around you. Read more

6 Quick Tips for Video Marketing

6 Quick Tips for Video Marketing

Categories: Bookmark, Solution Tree, Technology

Hello again, authors!
It’s that time. Time to get on camera to market that book. Luckily, you aren’t the first, won’t be the last, and you’re definitely not alone. We’re here to help you make the best video possible.

Here are our 6 best tips for creating and sharing videos, and a few other technical details designed to help you produce engaging content.

Film high quality footage. “Found footage” video quality might be great for horror films, but it isn’t ideal for advertising books. To make your video pop, you have to consider lighting, audio, camera stability and angles, and camera quality (even if you use a smartphone).
Helpful tip! Have you cleaned your phone’s camera lens lately?

Consider your purpose. Social media guru Marie Ennis-O’Connor says it best: “Being clear about your purpose will help you create video content that resonates with your audience. If you read any of my writing on social media strategy, you know I always start with the why before the how. Do you want to showcase your product? Educate your customers? Help your audience to get to know you better? If you can’t find a compelling reason to create a video then you will be wasting your time.”

Start with a strong hook. Just like an academic paper, the first few seconds of a video are the most important part. “A strong hook teases what your video is about. You can start off with an enticing question or share a major takeaway.” (Natasha Samuel, 5 Social Media Video Tips to Get More Engagement)
Helpful tip! Are you showing your face? Do it right away. Don’t worry, everyone feels awkward on video at first.

Tell a story. Create a clear flow. Even your grandparents’ slideshow told the story of their vacation to Norway, and if their slides could do it, you can too. Unlike your grandparents, however, you can storyline your video first. Think first about the problem(s) your book helps to solve, then explain how and why your work presents the solution.
Helpful tip! Use a storyboard or online script writing tool. Having a planned story helps with flow.

Create an Emotional Response. The most effective advertisements are often those that appeal to emotion, and some research does suggest that emotional content is more likely to get shared.

Keep It Simple. “Bombarding your audience with too much information at one time never ends well — they’ll go elsewhere to find the answers.” — Wistia.

Bonus technical content. Consider your technical needs. Here’s a quick list of suggestions from Solution Tree’s video experts:

  • Add text or subtitles and make sure your videos work without sound (people on Facebook often watch videos without sound.)
  • Keep your phone stable as you record.
  • Position the lens at eye level.
  • Hold the phone horizontally when you record. Most phones are already set to record at the best settings.
  • Film in a well-lit area with lighting in front of you.
  • Speak loudly, clearly, and smile! Ideally, your personality should come through.
  • Don’t forget to press record! It happens more often than you think.

It might take some practice, but we’re sure these tips will help you find the confidence to take that jump into video content.

Part 2: Integrating Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and the Lifelong Learning Education (LLE) Framework

Categories: Authors, PLC, PLC at Work, School Improvement, Solution Tree

Elliott Seif is the author of Teaching for Lifelong Learning: How to Prepare Students for a Changing World.

As I indicated in part 1 of this series,
Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) “…are designed to counter the separateness of school teaching and learning by creating collaborative teams of teachers who work together to improve learning”. Or, as Dufour et al. (2006) write: PLC’s focus on creating “…an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.” The PLC process should lead to new and improved classroom practices that reinforce relevant and meaningful learning across content areas and grade levels, and are likely to get better results for students. Read more

Image of Tom Schimmer on multicolored background

Q&A with Tom Schimmer

Categories: Bookmark, Solution Tree

From the cabin in the woods to educational airwaves, Canadian education expert and author Tom Schimmer sits down with us to discuss how The Tom Schimmer Podcast began and grew. Learn how Tom developed the idea for his podcast in 2020, and follow his journey as he discusses how he solidified his format, the importance of his special guests, and the ways he promotes his platform.

Congratulations on all of the success of the The Tom Schimmer Podcast! What’s the origin story behind the show? Why did you start it?
Thank you! The podcast was the brainchild of a very close friend of mine. My wife and I were on vacation with four other couples in the summer of 2020. We had rented an Airbnb in Whistler, BC, for 5 nights. Most of this circle of friends are educators so we often talk shop. One evening, Andrea, Scott, and I were the last three remaining, and we were discussing an array of educational topics. After I had responded to one of the topics we were discussing, Andrea turned to me and said, “You know Tom, you really should have a podcast.” Read more

How to Invest ESSER Funds Wisely Before Time Runs Out

Categories: Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, Solution Tree

Maybe you’ve heard the rumor that Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds have all been spent. In fact, most states still haven’t allocated all of their ESSER I funds. The numbers drop when you look at how many states have designated ESSER II and ESSER III funds, which have allocation deadlines of September 2023 and September 2024, respectively. The most time-sensitive federal funding right now, though, is ESSER I; the deadline to designate those dollars is September 30, 2022. 

Two urgent questions asked by education leaders holding undesignated ESSER I funds are:

    1. How do we invest wisely to get the most for our money? 
    2. What are our immediate next steps to make this happen?

Read more