Changemakers: A Social Emotional Learning Curriculum

A CASEL SELect Curriculum

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Program Description

Momentous Institute is an organization finding solutions at the intersection of mental health and education, and whose mission is working side by side with children, families, and communities to build and repair social emotional health. Momentous Institute created Changemakers to meet the need for children to learn, build and use these skills inside and outside of the classroom 

Changemakers utilizes free-standing lessons and teaching practices to promote social emotional learning (SEL) in students. The program offers differentiated curricula for grades Pre-K - 5th. Each grade level curricula contains 35-52 lessons (depending on the grade) organized into units relating to five overarching themes: Safe Relationships, Self-regulation, Awareness of Self, Understanding Others, and Changemaker. Each lesson is designed to last 20-30 minutes and the program recommends doing at least one lesson per week. The curriculum's overall aim is to teach children the connection between their brains and their emotions, drawing from neuroscience, and utilizing a trauma-informed lens. 

The curriculum is divided into 15 skill-focused units. Each unit is prefaced with a Teacher Practice section, providing a deep dive into the topics covered and instructional strategies to employ. This section gives the teacher essential knowledge relating to the practice and benefit of a specific social emotional skill in the classroom – and beyond. Additionally, each unit provides an "Equity Lens' or "Trauma Lens,' giving teachers insight to understand and to effectively respond to students' past experiences and unique identities. Each lesson is divided into three sections: Present, Practice, and Process. Teacher scripts, activities for each section, and a list of needed materials are included in every lesson.

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Training and Implementation Support

Momentous Institute requires all schools/districts implementing Changemakers to participate in an initial training and offers three ‘booster’ sessions throughout the school year. The initial full-day training occurs onsite at the school/district. The initial training dedicates the first half of the day to the concept of SEL and why it is essential to students’ success. The second half of the day is a deep dive into the Changemakers curriculum. Activities include an overview of materials, walking through lesson plans, and collaboratively planning sample lessons to model to the group and receive feedback on. For district-wide implementation, of Changemakersthe initial training can accommodate as many as 300 people representing multiple grade levels. The three ‘booster’ sessions also occur onsite and are scheduled and customized according to the needs of the school or district. Activities could include touching base on progress of implementation, trouble-shooting parts of the curriculum, or coaching conversations.

In addition to the described training, the Momentous Institute offers specialized professional learning sessions at the request of schools or districts. Topics for these specialized sessions include trauma-informed practice, self-care for administrators and educators, behavior management with an SEL lens, and self-regulation & the brain. Other implementation supports included with the curriculum include implementation surveys for each unit, observation protocol for assessing SEL in students, and a pacing guide. 

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a quasi-experimental study conducted in 2019 supported the effectiveness of  for elementary school students. This evaluation included 400 students who were in kindergarten to 2nd grade (treatment – 66% African American, 20% Latinx; control – 84% African American, 11% Latinx; both groups had populations that were at least 95% eligible for free/reduced lunch). This evaluation found that students who participated in the program demonstrated significantly higher emotional recognition and social problem-solving skill scores compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported approximately 8 months after baseline), while controlling for outcome pre-test.

View the full report here

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Curriculum Samples:

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