This project will focus on developing the knowledge and skills of elementary school educators to build safe learning environments for children who have experienced trauma. This project will focus on determining what information, digital tools and digital resources are beneficial in constructing a trauma-informed classroom. Students, who consist of elementary school teachers, will critically evaluate digital tools and resources, and choose the digital tools best suited for their classroom. Once appropriate digital tools have been selected, students will be able to properly implement those tools within their classroom and lesson instructions.
In our non-public school program at our Childhelp Residential Treatment Facilities (“Villages”), most of our elementary age educators come from traditional classroom environments, with little to no experience in constructing a truly trauma-informed classroom. They lack awareness and understanding of how digital tools can help support safety, build trust and confidence, and empower learning for the children and students in our care. I believe we have the responsibility to create a safe and welcoming space for these children who have experienced a variety of adverse childhood experiences and trauma. Knowing that these students have experienced severe abuse, and they are being integrated into a classroom with children who come from different backgrounds and experiences, we need to continually educate our teachers on how we can create a safe space for these children to learn and grow within. With this project, and in consideration of the ever-growing digital age that we live within, I hope to be able to improve the education of our elementary school teachers on what trauma is, how we can identify trauma, and how we can leverage technology to support children with adverse childhood experiences, to create a true trauma-informed classroom.
One concern I have in the development of this project is the stress and emotional fatigue that is often experienced by educators working with this population. I hope this project will be able to reduce this stress and fatigue by enhancing the education of elementary school teachers on the positive impact of digital tools and resources within their classroom. A second concern I have is the authorized permission to use new digital tools within these classrooms, and the accessibility to technology for their students. Some of the digital applications and resources that I believe will be highlighted in this project may require access to technology outside of the classroom. This could be an issue for children who are residing on our campus and have limited access to technology away from their school environment.
ISTE 2 Digital Citizenship
This project will address ISTE Student Standard 2, Digital Citizenship. By discovering, choosing and implementing digital tools in the construction of a true trauma-informed classroom, elementary school teachers will be incorporating digital citizenship within their classroom. This will be achieved through the development of class lessons that will promote safe student learning, team collaboration and shared student projects, all of which contribute to students cultivating and managing their digital identity (ISTE 2a). The use of these tools will also help students with adverse childhood experiences engage in positive, safe and ethical behaviors (ISTE 2b).
Established Goals (with standards)
- Students will effectively build a trauma informed classroom. They will build a trauma informed classroom using: 1) knowledge of what trauma is; 2) develop classroom lesson that promote safe student learning, team collaboration and shared student projects; and 3) identifying technology and digital tools to assist in trauma informed learning
Unit encourages cultivation and management of digital identities (ISTE 2a). The use of these tools will also help students with adverse childhood experiences engage in positive, safe and ethical behaviors (ISTE 2b).
What essential questions will be considered?
- What are adverse childhood experiences?
- How do adverse childhood experiences effect student learning?
- How do adverse childhood experiences impact teacher instruction and student engagement?
- What digital tools and resources can be leveraged to create a positive trauma informed classroom?
- What constitutes a safe space for student learning?
What understandings are desired?
- Students will understand what trauma is, and how that impacts student learning
- Students will understand how to create a class lesson that will promote safe student learning, team collaboration and shared student projects
- Students will understand the value and ethical use of technology in constructing a safe classroom space for learning
- Students will understand the importance of positive relationship building for children with adverse childhood experiences
What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit?
Students will know…
- What adverse childhood experiences are
- The impact that adverse childhood experiences have on student learning, including behavior outbursts; feelings of fear around failure; fear around relationships
- How to source, validate, and implement digital tools and resources within a safe, trauma informed classroom
Students will be able to…
- Recognize and address children with adverse childhood experiences/trauma
- Construct lesson plans that are conducive to a trauma informed classroom
- Implement technology and digital resources into a safe classroom space for learning and student sharing and collaboration
- Build positive and healthy relationships within their classroom
Determine Acceptable Evidence
Performance Tasks (What evidence will show that students understand?)
- Students will research, evaluate and present for peer review on the signs, symptoms and effect of trauma and adverse childhood experiences on youth education in the classroom. Research will include conducting interviews with recognized experts in trauma such as primary care physicians, behavioral health clinicians, academic researchers, program administrators, and trauma-informed trainers
- Students will construct lesson plans addressing the findings of their research
- Students will design and present for peer review a safe, trauma informed, classroom acknowledging the information from their research; the application of their lesson plans; and the incorporation of digital tools and virtual learning
- Students will develop training for educational and non-educational staff associated with the findings of their research and lesson plan development. Training and lesson plan development will account for the value of Digital Citizenship and how to use “virtual space” to build trust and rapport in relationships within the classroom
Criteria (By what criteria will performance of understanding be judged?)
- The learning outcomes for each performance task (written papers submitted through peer review presentations) will demonstrate:
- Understanding of the widespread impact of trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and the potential pathways for improved learning and relationship development
- Understanding the signs and symptoms of trauma in individual students, families, and professional colleagues
- Integrating knowledge about trauma into classroom “rules”, classroom practices/procedures, and lesson plans
- Integrating edtech tools to elevate Digital Citizenship among their students, and elevate options for trauma-informed learning and positive relationship development within a defined “safe space”; in short – creating a trauma-informed pedagogy to build an equitable classroom
- Demonstrating knowledge and classroom practices that seek to actively resist re-traumatization (such as avoiding the creation of a classroom space that inadvertently reminds students of their traumatic experiences and causes them to experience emotional or “toxic” stress
Other Evidence (Through what other evidence will students demonstrate achievement of the desired results?)
- Quality of peer review engagement and feedback
- Pre/Post testing on trauma, and the signs, symptoms and effect of trauma and adverse childhood experiences on youth education in the classroom
- Student feedback and engagement with edtech tools inside a virtual space
- Digital journal submissions
Self-assessment/Reflection (How will students reflect upon and self-assess their learning?)
- Students will self-assess their emotional and educational learning of trauma through digital journals using edtech tools such as FlipGrid. Journals will focus on students describing what their learning experience is as it relates to trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and trauma informed learning. The intention is to help students reflect upon their observations and develop their own interpretation of those observations.
- Students will reflect on their skills and knowledge through art. Through the use of images, video, music, etc., students will reflect and process their thoughts and emotions on trauma, and trauma informed learning, through visual arts to help students connect their personal experiences with the learning experience of this project
Day 1 of Week 1: (Introduction: Trauma Assessment Quiz, Peer Review Session 1: ACEs)
- Assessment of student knowledge of Trauma Quiz: students participate in Kahoot game to test and evaluate their understanding of trauma and the basics of a trauma informed classroom (H)
- Watch a video on ACEs and Their Affects | Adverse Childhood Experiences from PBS Learning Media
- Small group discussion: What are adverse childhood experiences? How do adverse childhood experiences effect student learning? How do adverse childhood experiences impact teacher instruction and student engagement? (W, H, R)
- Teacher Presentation: set the purpose for the course by presenting the established goals, essential questions, and desired understandings referenced in Phase 2. Introduce Padlet platform to introduce e-tool for students to create and post digital journal submissions on topics presented through the course. (W)
Day 2 of Week 1: (Peer Review Session 2: Trauma-Informed Classroom and Digital Tools)
- Watch a video webinar on Creating Trauma Sensitive Classrooms from NAEYC on YouTube (E)
- Small group discussion: What digital tools and resources can be leveraged to create a positive trauma informed classroom? What constitutes a safe virtual space for student learning? (W, H, R)
- Assignment: Students will break into small groups and begin developing their research interview questions for trauma experts around the signs, symptoms, and effects of trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Each student will be required to submit a written paper that meets with the criteria presented in Phase 3. Papers will be due at the end of the course. (E, R, T, O)
- Students will create and post a digital journal response through Padlet on their Understanding of Trauma and Trauma-Informed Practices (E, R, O)
Day 3 of Week 1: (Peer Review Session 3: Digital Citizenship and Safe Learning Spaces)
- Watch a video webinar on Fostering Digital Citizenship through Safe and Responsible Internet Use from DQInstitute on YouTube (E)
- Small group discussion: Why is digital citizenship important in trauma informed instruction? How can digital citizenship be applied in the creation of a trauma-informed pedagogy to build an equitable classroom? (W, H, R)
- Students will present their findings on who they will interview for their final paper (R, O)
- Students will create a FlipGrid video answering the question: What constitutes a safe virtual space for student learning? Students will be required to provide feedback on posted videos.
Day 4/5 of Week 1: (Peer Review Session 4/5: Building A Virtual Trauma Informed Classroom)
- Watch a video webinar on Trauma-Informed Teaching in a Modern Classroom from The Modern Classrooms Project on YouTube (E)
- Small group discussion: How can the modern classroom be constructed in a virtual environment? (W, H, R)
- Students will construct their own virtual, trauma-informed classroom through Bitmoji, applying the knowledge they gained from the webinars, peer review discussions, and their research. (R, T, O)
Developing this project through the backward design process was valuable in assessing how students can be trained on the sensitivities of trauma – especially within the classroom – and how to incorporate that training into their classroom. The inclusion of exercises to involve digital tools allows for a focus on not only accessibility into a virtual space, but also contributes to enhanced training of child protection professionals, as well as consideration of trauma that these future teachers may bring into their classroom as it relates to trauma they may have experienced. Furthermore, the use of e-tools allows students to understand the value that digital tools can bring into relationship building between students and teachers, and students to students, while also addressing the importance around digital citizenship. Ultimately, my hope is that this approach to curriculum will promote better understanding, consideration, training and implementation of trauma in the development and enhancement of trauma informed learning.