Learning A-Z is proud to launch its newest solution, called Meaningful Conversations, part of Raz-Plus. Born out of important social and racial justice conversations over the past year, it’s a comprehensive culturally responsive social-emotional learning (SEL) resource.
While we built this new resource, we interviewed hundreds of teachers and kept coming back to one theme: the need for teachers to foster relationships with their students and build connections. We created Meaningful Conversations to help educators do just that, with reading materials created to support age-appropriate classroom conversations. To help foster those conversations, a variety of anchor pieces are provided, including reading material (both fiction and non-fiction) and videos. These materials provide rich experiences to help teachers and students navigate those classroom conversations.
Based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework, this content-rich resource fully supports teachers in facilitating authentic conversations. We purposefully created Meaningful Conversations so that students may:
- Grow in self-awareness, social awareness, and empathy by celebrating one another’s differences and similarities
- Construct self-confidence through visibility, by seeing themselves and each other equally valued in the world
- Develop inclusive, respectful dialogue skills with classroom discussions facilitated by teachers, guided by easy-to-use resources in multiple formats
- Safely and appropriately discuss and digest difficult topics, as research shows students must build the ability to tackle challenging topics in healthy ways
Start a free 14-day trial of Raz-Plus and try Meaningful Conversations with your students!
Ten topic areas (focused on subjects like family, friends, bullying, and racism) are based on grade bands. To support each topic area, we sought writers and illustrators from a wide range of backgrounds to create content that illuminates different perspectives. We included robust teacher resources with suggestions on how to implement student resources, all centered around an age-appropriate driving question related to the main topic. An SEL guide is provided for teachers, along with a teacher and caregiver toolkit with support for creating more inclusive classrooms and implementing culturally responsive teaching techniques.
Our goal was to enable teachers to lead these authentic classroom discussions with confidence and to feel fully supported. This resource delivers must-haves for classroom educators:
- Culturally responsive, appropriate content written and vetted through a DEI lens by diverse authors, topic experts, and educators who bring authentic experience to the vetting process
- Comprehensive support for facilitating difficult yet critical classroom conversations, including full lesson guides and discussion guides, an SEL guide, a teacher toolkit, discussion cards, rubrics, student activities, worksheets, multi-format content, and a family support toolkit in multiple languages
- Highly engaging, multi-format content that includes written (printable, projectable, online, mobile), audio, and video content formats with accessibility extensions
- Content that is aligned to speaking and listening CCSS ELA Standards, themes from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), and the CASEL Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and Growth Mindset
Based on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) research, Meaningful Conversations uses the “windows and mirrors” metaphor introduced by Rudine Sims Bishop. This concept illustrates why students should have windows into other people's lives along with mirrors reflecting their own lived experiences. Students should see their own stories reflected in educational materials. Research supports this fact: representation matters. Reading stories about people who resemble them validates each student’s perspective, supports their identity and increases their feelings of self-worth.
Equally crucial, reading or hearing stories about others enables students to understand what it’s like to be part of a different culture or family structure, for example. Windows into the lives of others give students exposure and develop increased empathy and a deeper understanding and appreciation of others’ experiences, feelings, and viewpoints.
Meaningful Conversations enables teachers and students to engage in discussions that encourage celebrating one another’s differences and help build understanding and respect for themselves and for others.
Existing customers, log in to your Raz-Plus or Reading A-Z account to access Meaningful Conversations resources.