A Seed of Change

Mr. Grace and his fourth period AP Lang. students plant flowers for SEL.


Taylor Aubry, 2022-2023 Editor-in-Chief

On March 29, AP language and composition teacher James Grace took a different approach to the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) period. Instead of following the traditional SEL powerpoint curriculum conducted by CharacterStrong, students came together to plant flowers in pots that they could take home. 

“Something that I do with my classes is walk around and identify plants around our campus. We just get outside and look at the plants around us. This last time, I was surprised to see how few plants were blooming even though it’s spring. I just thought it would be nice to spend an SEL period on planting”, said Mr. Grace. 

I liked watching students work with their hands, get dirty, and interact with nature.

“My idea was to get my students to go outside and do something with their hands, and to disconnect from screens. Students are on screens all day, and some of it is school involved, but most of it is their own phones,” said Mr. Grace. “Then, everyone wonders why they’re all bummed out, but it’s because they’re on screens all day”.

Students in fourth period AP language and composition during SEL enjoyed the opportunity to take a break from screens and classwork, and appreciate time with nature. “I liked watching students work with their hands, get dirty, and interact with nature. My favorite part is looking back at the pictures of it, and everyone is glowing. Everyone looks happy, and they’re creating something which is really cool.”

While still experimenting with making SEL successful for his students, Mr. Grace said, “I don’t know what SEL is. I’m not a therapist. However, I do know that forming relationships is an important part, and that’s what makes a good teacher. When you have 200+ students, it makes it very difficult to form relationships. In my SEL class, where I have less than 30 students, I feel like I am more connected to that class.”