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SEL Day at Lincoln Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary School recently held its 2nd Annual Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Day. Community School Coordinator Gena Holmes brought back this initiative for a second year due to the overwhelming response after year one. This year, students and staff focused on a book and concept called “My Special Word” by author Dwight Smith.


Participants were asked to choose a word that represents an important value to them, the kind of person they strive to be, or a personal characteristic that makes them feel proud. Individuals were challenged to live by this word each day. Words like grateful, encouraging, spirited, and excellent are just a few of those chosen by participants. This school-wide activity engaged students from Kindergarten through 5th grade along with the help of community partners from 13 different local organizations.


“Social Emotional Learning opportunities benefit both students and adults in all settings,” said Gena. “When everyone can learn and practice these crucial skills together, we’re all more likely to successfully adjust to any environment and maximize achievement in life. Positive outcomes for each individual enhance the success of our school family, as well as our local community.”

In addition to reading the book aloud, bracelets and bookmarks donated by author Dwight Smith were distributed to participating classrooms. These tools helped students choose their own special words.


Students in each grade level also participated in activities and projects related to “My Special Word” with community partners. The first-grade team did Special Word Yoga with Shanthi Project, second grade participated in Special Word charades with Touchstone Theatre, 3rd graders engaged with Moravian University students to play the My Special Word Basketball Challenge game and write their special words in chalk at the main entrance of Lincoln Elementary. Fourth grade worked with ArtsQuest to create their own mini paper book for their special words. Kindergarten students worked with their fifth-grade “buddies” to make beaded bracelets with their special words on them. Fifth graders will also have the opportunity to establish pen pals in India through Worldreader connections and be encouraged to share their special words with peers across the ocean.


CIS of Eastern PA site professionals implement these types of learning opportunities in their schools every day. In 2022, over 78% of students that CIS served made progress in social-emotional learning. Developing these qualities in the classroom can help students become more productive, self-aware, and socially-aware citizens outside of the classroom.



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