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SEL From a Distance

SEL From a Distance
Tools and Processes for Anytime, Anywhere

October 2020 | 136 pages | Corwin

Make social and emotional learning a way of being—all day, every day, and in any setting

The pandemic and subsequent switch to distance learning combined with recent instances of racial injustice has put a spotlight on the cracks in the practice of social and emotional learning (SEL). More than ever before, schools are shifting their focus and prioritizing SEL competencies—around the nation and the world. The call for compassion has never been greater.

To easily and effortlessly build SEL into virtual, blended, or in-person environments, behavior experts Jessica Djabrayan Hannigan and John Hannigan have drawn together a collection of tools and processes for SEL that can be applied in any learning environment. In SEL from a Distance, you’ll learn: 

  • The five SEL competencies and dozens of easy to use processes for building skills in each
  • How to identify challenging behaviors and prioritize, define mastery, and teach the SEL skills necessary to address them
  • Tips for identifying, teaching, modeling, and reinforcing SEL skills in a virtual setting
  • Strategies for applying SEL to the needs of your unique learning environment

Let this practical, easy-to-use toolkit guide you through embedding these critical SEL competencies into your virtual classrooms and make SEL a way of being for you and your students—anytime, anywhere.

Endorsements from the People Who Matter Most: 

“My teacher told our entire class, ‘if you need someone to talk to, I am here for you.’ This was powerful to hear. I have never had a teacher say that to an entire class before.”
Ani, 12th grade, Missouri

“My teacher helps us use SEL strategies to relax our brains when we are feeling stressed.”
Harmon, 4th grade, California

About the Authors

Part One
Chapter 1: Why SEL is even more important now than ever

Chapter 2: Digging Into SEL

Part Two
Chapter 3: Relationship Skills Tools and Processes (i.e., communication, social engagement, relationship building, teamwork)

Chapter 4: Responsible Decision-Making Tools and Processes (i.e., Identifying problems, analyzing situations, solving problems, evaluating, reflecting, ethical responsibility)

Chapter 5: Social Awareness Tools and Processes (i.e., perspective taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, respect for others)

Chapter 6: Self-Management Tools and Processes (i.e., impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal setting, organizational skills)

Chapter 7: Self-Awareness Tools and Processes (i.e., identifying emotions, accurate self-perception, recognizing strengths, self-confidence, self-efficacy)

Part Three
Chapter 8: Bringing it all together: Case Study Sample



"Of all the topics I write about for my Finding Common Ground Blog (Education Week), social and emotional learning is the one where I get the most pushback from readers. Time, and the feeling that that SEL is the job of parents or school leaders, are often seen as the biggest roadblocks to focusing on it. Finally, due to COVID-19, people are seeing the importance of SEL, and Jessica Hannigan and John Hannigan have written a timely and responsive book that will help teachers and leaders create opportunities for students to become more independent and successful now, during distance learning, and in the future."

Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., Author/Blogger/Consultant

"Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a crucial component of student/child development and life functioning. John and Jessica Hannigan have created a resource that addresses the need for SEL instruction for all our students and provides relevant supports for immediate use and application. I will certainly keep this book at the edge of my bookshelf for frequent reference!"

Dr. Sarah Marriott, Superintendent of Schools
Boonville R-1 School District, MO

"For many years our district has provided professional development for our administrators, teachers, and classified staff on social and emotional learning (SEL). Even though our staff felt the need for this type of PD, I genuinely do not think they understood the urgency and the importance of SEL in our students' lives. COVID-19 has brought the critical need of SEL to the forefront of educators' thinking, because now many have experienced trauma in their own lives. SEL From a Distance is grounded in research yet so practical that all educators should have it in their hands." 

Andrea Morici, M.Ed., Director of Professional Development
Paradise Valley Unified School District, AZ

"This book on SEL in a digital world is exactly what site leaders, teachers, and support staff need right now. Many educators are struggling to find a way to build relationships with students and teach them the social and emotional skills they are lacking via distance learning, and this book solves that problem. It is structured so that the reader and school teams can implement the techniques and strategies to best meet the needs of their students. The rubrics and activities can be easily implemented into core curriculum content across all grade levels. I highly recommend this book for all school staff, support staff, and district office personnel to truly understand how to implement SEL in a concrete and appropriate way to ensure student success." 

Brooke Warkentin, M.P.A., M.A., Director of Special Services
Lemoore Union Elementary School District, CA

“The Hannigans have written an immensely valuable and timely resource for educators to help them better understand the social and emotional learning (SEL) needs of the students they serve. The global pandemic has exacerbated the need for quality SEL instruction in the US and across the world. This book is a 'call to action, not through compliance but compassion.' With its many practical and essential tools, I recommend it to all educators for supporting their students during this consequential time.”

Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D. and M.P.P., President and Professor of Educational Leadership
California State University, Fresno

"As we teach students, we look at the needs of the whole child, which means both their academic and their social and emotional needs. We then respond appropriately by using a similar type of support through explicit teaching, modeling, and practice of SEL that we would provide for academics. What is great about this book is that it provides a clear process to identify students' needs followed by effective and practical methods to teach these critical social and emotional skills. The learning and support students receive will help them at school, at home, and within their communities for the rest of their lives. The book does an excellent job of supporting educators in an area where we often struggle and need additional support."

Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Superintendent
Lemoore Union Elementary School District, CA

"With the rise in anxiety, depression, and suicide over the last few years, schools have faced the challenge of how to address the social and emotional needs of all students. Now, during the pandemic, the need is more acute and schools require more assistance. SEL From a Distance offers an easy to follow framework to build our students’ skills in the key SEL Competencies. The Hannigans’ straightforward, practical approach to program implementation will benefit any school or district that is struggling with SEL now or in the future. They have taken a complex topic and created an easy-to-use guide for school teams and leaders. Any school searching for what to do next should pick up this book."

Brian Jaramillo, Executive Director of Education Services
Lompoc Unified School District, CA

"Once again Jessica and John Hannigan have created a fantastic resource for educators! SEL From a Distance takes a complex concept, social and emotional distance learning, and makes it incredibly easy to understand and put into practice. The book is packed full of practical tools and processes that can be implemented either onsite or virtually. At a time when many educators are teaching from a distance and the need for social and emotional learning and support has escalated to previously unknown heights, this book will guide educators to overcome the challenges." 

Heath Peine, Executive Director
Wichita Public Schools, KS

"SEL From a Distance is a must-read guide that offers a message of hope during this unprecedented time in education, calling for the intentional teaching and designing of essential SEL skills necessary for success in school and real life. Educators will examine their own perceptions of student behavior and receive practical directions to naturally teach SEL core competency skills in distance or in-person learning environments. Drs. Jessica and John Hannigan also share practical applications for district and site leaders to address the gap between the implementation of behavior initiatives and the collective responsibility of all staff, reminding us that 'SEL is not a thing to do… it is the way of being...all day, every any setting.' I highly recommend this book for any educator looking to improve students’ relationship, responsible decision-making, social awareness, self-management, or self-awareness skills." 

Karen DeOrian, Director of School Culture and Climate
Madera Unified School District, CA

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ISBN: 9781071840016

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