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Pros: Activities are age-appropriate, direct, and powerful and vary from one-minute to unit-long projects.
Cons: The accountability piece may be missing for teens who use the website independently.
Bottom Line: inspirED delivers exactly what it claims: empowering, easy-to-search content for social and emotional learning.
Ideally, inspirED can be used as a comprehensive tool for developing a social and emotional curriculum, beginning with the teen- and educator-designed assessment given school-wide, selecting appropriate activities that foster positive emotions and reflecting on progress with a team of adults and students in the school community.
You can also use this site to access activities that can be used with advisory groups, in homerooms, or even in content classes. Share resources with students such as TED talks, guided meditations, or writing responses to help them connect to their emotions and explore positive versus negative experiences. You might also use one of the school-wide initiatives to get students throughout your building talking about mindfulness and its impact on learning.
inspirED's activities vary in duration from 10-minute exercises to one-hour lessons to project-based activities. The activities page also provides resources from CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) and maps these activities to the five core social and emotional competencies: relationship skills, responsible decision making, self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. Resources are also presented with each activity, including TED talks, news articles, Edutopia resources, and research articles linked to that specific strand.
On the teen-facing platform, different activities are provided with a more personal perspective. Instead of having objectives and step-by-step directions, many activities provide a video or image, feature guided meditation, or ask reflection questions. Other resources on the site include a school climate assessment (you'll have to get on a wait list) and information for organizing an inspirED team, which works together to make a positive impact on the school community.
inspirED hits its mark as a resource center for social and emotional learning activities. Each strand references specific research articles connecting emotional awareness to academic success. Activities validate even tough emotions (such as loneliness and depression) and encourage small steps to appreciate both the good and bad feelings, with a focus on feeling in control. Resources incorporate various multimedia outlets, encourage collaboration among peers within a school community, and feel appropriate for teens.