July Educator of the Month: Kendra Jordan’s Social Emotional Approach to Tutoring

July’s Ozobot Educator of the Month, Kendra Jordan, is one of those educators who gets creative in challenging times. She saw significant pain points with distance learning–particularly for students with special needs and different learning styles–and designed and launched a totally unique tutoring solution this summer with My S.E.A.T.–My Social Emotional Approach to Tutoring. 

After each summer break, educators expect a slight slide in students’ math and reading skills. Some parents with the means or access to community resources are able to counteract this summer slide with tutoring, virtual STEAM summer camps, or continuous homeschool schedules. Sarita Harbour and Dan Hosfeld keep their family’s homeschooling going through the summer, for example, as part of their approach to learning as a lifestyle.

In the wake of COVID-19, summer learning has felt more essential than ever, especially with a recent NWEA report showing that the math/reading summer slide has likely been exacerbated by school closures. Read on to learn how the global pandemic sparked Kendra’s idea behind My S.E.A.T., and discover how she uses Ozobot to incorporate coding into Math and other core subjects. 

Tell us about your background. How did you first get involved in education? What inspired you to create My S.E.A.T. LLC?

I first fell in love with education while pursuing my undergraduate degree in 2000.  I attended SUNY Oswego and did not choose a major right away. I then realized that I had a passion for helping people that were unable to help themselves.  In 2018, I received my Masters in Special Education from Ashford University. I was inspired to create My S.E.A.T. LLC by one of my students diagnosed with Autism. When remote learning first began, one of my students struggled immensely. She was unable to complete work and sign on to Zoom because she was unable to deal with this drastic change. We noticed that she may need some one-on-one time with teachers to get acclimated to this new learning experience. It was then that I decided to start my own tutoring business that would assist neurotypical and neurodiverse scholars. My S.E.A.T. stands for my social emotional approach to tutoring. 

Students and teachers everywhere are being affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What role can social emotional learning play during this time?

Social emotional learning can play a meaningful role at this time.  The students I work with during the school year are diagnosed with autism and rely on social interaction experiences to better assist them with social emotional learning skills that will help them with every day life.  This had been difficult because they were unable to have these interactions in a remote learning platform.  It made me realize that we had to start from scratch and build a classroom environment as if it were the first day of school.  My co-teacher and I decided to incorporate read alouds to assist us with rebuilding our classroom environment.  These read alouds focused on specific themes such as confidence, friendship, and determination just to name a few.  Scholars need social emotional education as well as academics.  Learning these skills will assist with their holistic development so that they can become great citizens of the world around us. 

Could you introduce your ‘Coordinate Planes and Coding’ session? How did you come up with the idea, and what tech tools do you use for it?

Coordinate Planes and Coding is a lesson that was created with my scholar’s interest in mind.  This particular My S.E.A.T. scholar was having a difficult time understanding the concept of a coordinate plane and the x and y axis.  This scholar is also interested in video games and is considered a “gamer”.  I informed him that video games are created by people who code.  This engaged the scholar! We then used OzoBlockly ShapeTracer 1 to reinforce that concept.  Turning a gamer into a game changer!

To learn more, follow Kendra and My S.E.A.T on Instagram at instagram.com/mys.e.a.t and her Facebook page My SEAT LLC or shoot Kendra an email at kjordan@myseat.biz. Educators and students anywhere can get started with Ozobot without any robots required. Use our OzoBlockly Games, including ShapeTracer 1, ShapeTracer 2, and OzoTown, to incorporate coding into math and more–in school or at home.

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