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Second Step® Middle School Teacher's Guide

Make a Strong Start

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The beginning of the school year provides the best opportunity to set the norms and build the relationships that will support your social-emotional learning (SEL) efforts. This guide offers some simple tips and resources to help you get started with Second Step® Middle School and sustain best practices throughout the year.

Key Moments

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Preparing for Success

  • Join the Second Step® Educator Community
  • Begin the year with community-building activities (see resources below for ideas) to help create a safe and supportive classroom environment where students feel comfortable engaging with Second Step® lessons
  • Watch the Quick Start Guide for Unit 1, which includes tips for engaging with students and reinforcing social-emotional skills and concepts (each unit has its own Quick Start Guide)

Week 1

  • Start with Unit 1: Mindsets & Goals
  • Establish weekly communication with families to connect them with the school community and the program

Week 3

  • Working with your colleagues, identify a few key program concepts to reinforce each week to build a common language around social-emotional development

Week 5

  • Try an advisory activity: they’re designed to strengthen relationships and a sense of belonging, and you can use them to build on weekly lessons and give students more opportunities to practice skills

Week 7

  • Prepare to end Unit 1 with a performance task, which is a fun way to assess student learning
  • Use curriculum nights and student conferences as an opportunity to introduce SEL to families so they can help reinforce key social-emotional skills at home

Resource Library

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Second Step® Advisory ActivitiesLogin Required

More than 200 fun, engaging activities that align to Second Step Middle School are included, along with guidance on building an advisory program.

Weekly Check-In and Check-Out TemplatesLogin Required

Regularly touching base with students is a simple, powerful activity that you can do anytime to help build trust and relationships.

Second Step® Middle School Community Rebuilding UnitLogin Required

This free, five-lesson unit is designed to help middle school students rebuild a sense of community after being away from peers. Originally created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this stand-alone unit is a great way to start off any school year after summer break.

What Are Performance Tasks?Login Required

The performance tasks in the last lesson of each unit are authentic, formative assessments of the social-emotional skills taught in the program. This one-page guide offers tips on effectively delivering the performance tasks in your class.

Weekly Family CommunicationsLogin Required

Each lesson has an associated weekly communication summarizing what students are learning and providing a question families can use as a conversation-starter at home.

ParenTeen ConnectLogin Required

This free family resource, aligned to Second Step Middle School, helps adolescents and their families communicate, connect, and break through barriers around tough topics.

Social-Emotional Learning: What Is SEL and Why SEL MattersLogin Required

This video provides a great introduction to SEL and is easy to share with families and staff.
English: Watch Now
Spanish: Watch Now

Join the Second Step® Educator Community

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Tap into the collective wisdom of thousands of teachers around the nation—and the expertise of Committee for Children staff—in this free professional learning community (hosted on Facebook). Ask questions, learn in the company of peers, and share experiences and ideas to improve the program.

Visit the community’s Facebook page to join.

second step facebook community qr code