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Integrating Coding, Social-Emotional Skills and Robots for Gifted Students

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Tuesday, June 25, 10:00 am–12:00 pm
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 45

Alicia Verweij   Dr. Rita Oates  
Learn how we combined coding, robots and social-emotional learning (SEL) to engage gifted elementary students. Funded through grants and pilots, the FUNecole curriculum offers online and offline activities. It has earned the ISTE Seal of Alignment and meets state standards for gifted education.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Computer science and computational thinking
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Digital Citizen
  • Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
Global Collaborator
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The challenge is that the school day is packed, but parents say they want students to learn two different areas in school: One is computer coding/responsible use of technology. The other is to develop their “soft skills” or “coping skills” so they can get along with others, which educators have now termed social emotional learning (SEL). In addition, parents of gifted students say they need to know how to work with others and to be part of a team.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mandates that states measure at least one nonacademic indicator of school success. This could be school climate, how safe students feel at school, the prevalence of fights, suicidal thoughts, or other measures. SEL might not be core content, but it's the core of all content.
New research indicates that school-based interventions to promote social and emotional skills have large--and long-term--positive impacts: an average of $11 for every dollar invested, according to an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Another study finds that when SEL skills increase, there’s more time for academics, and students achieve more.
In this poster session.....
Participants will get an overview of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and its impact in the classroom. They will also see some of the videos featuring cartoon characters from the FUNecole curriculum in the monitor at this station. Samples of student work (printed and online) will be displayed also. The scope and sequence of this elementary curriculum, which integrates social emotional learning with computer coding, digital citizenship, and use of various common tech tools, will be available to view.
The curriculum uses a set of cartoon characters who “set up” various situations and challenges throughout the grades. Activities can be accomplished using different computer platforms, and the educator can decide which to allow. For a school that is 1:1 with iPads or Chromebooks, only the desired applications are enabled to better focus student attention and time. For schools with BYOD, all might be allowed so that students can find what's appropriate for their particular platform. Some activities are accomplished individually and some in small groups. The teacher can decide whether to allow some materials to be used outside of school or in an after-school setting as well. Overall, the combination of social emotional skills and tech skills is not found elsewhere in schools.
Participants will think about how they might use social emotional skills in the classroom, embedded in another subject (with references to the work done by CASEL in the core subject areas). They will also learn about a curriculum recently recognized with the ISTE Seal of Alignment.
As educators in a global world, ISTE participants will see a curriculum in widespread use in Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Estonia, the European Union and the United Arab Emirates.
FUNecole has been recognized by Cambridge Schools (widely used in the USA, especially in south Florida). See Cambridge International Assessments Endorsement of FUNecole:
Best Practice Report by European Union recognizes FUNecole for active learning and creativity in the classroom:

Supporting research

Belfield, C., Bowden, B., Klapp, A., Levin, H., Shand, R., and Zander, S. (2015). The economic value of social and emotional learning. Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, Columbia University. 64 pp. Retrieved from:
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (2017) Key Insights from the Collaborating Districts Initiative. Chicago: Author. 15 pp. Retrieved from:
Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D. & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1): 405–432. Retrieved from:
Jones, D.E., Greenberg, M., and Crowley, M. (2015). Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness. American Journal of Public Health, 105(11): 2283-2290. Retrieved from:
Ockerman, L. (2017). Why We Teach Coding in Elementary School. Independent Ideas blog, NAIS. Retrieved from:
Sokoler, S. (2018). Why we should teach coding in elementary school. eSchoolNews, March 9, 2018. Retrieved from:
Williams, Heidi (2017). No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum. ISTE. 176 pp.
Case study from Grammar Junior School:
Mississippi Standards for Gifted Students:

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Alicia Verweij, Picayune School District/West Side Eleme
Dr. Rita Oates, Oates Associates

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