Social emotional learning or SEL has become a huge topic of discussion among educators over the past several years and it’s a necessity in any classroom. I get the time aspect to a degree but it’s not excuse to not teach them in your setting. I have an opportunity to make an impact every day. Social emotional learning is much more than just social skills and sets the tone for managing emotions, setting goals, and building relationships daily.
CASEL is a great resource that breaks down SEL competencies and gives ideas and resources you can use in your setting. Edutopia has some great SEL topics and ideas as well. Education Week‘s How Teacher’s can build Social Emotional Learning is a great wealth of knowledge too. If you look, there are lots of ways to incorporate SEL in any setting.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate SEL is to have a circle up or morning meeting with classes. Checking in with student’s to check their emotional pulse will speak volumes about a student before the day gets too far in. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process but it’s vital for teachers to check that pulse and it tells a lot. You can tie in a social skill or two during this time. It is imperative for students to learn how to listen to one another, to take turns, and to be able to listen intently. Sure it takes time but why not start now?Read alouds are a huge part of my classroom and students love them. My students love being read to and, when they can relate to a lesson and activity, they can grasp skills that are talked about in books. Julia Cook’s books tackle issues kids deal with daily and make it meaningful for kids. There are even books read aloud online if you don’t have a particular book. From lying to the sound of no, there’s something for everyone.
Lately, my students have loved these books and will bring up the theme or what we discussed. When students can relate to a book and talk about it after, they’re hooked.
+ The Color Monster
+ In my Heart: a book about feelings
+ The Bad Seed
+ I am Human: a book about Empathy
+ My Magic Breath
+ Seeds and Trees
There are many more. However, these are the few my students ask for by name and are great review for any age. If you’re a middle or high school teacher, students still love to be read to. It’s a great hook and conversation starter for any age.
Recognizing feelings and being able to identify them as well as note how students feel is imperative in the early years. In my social emotional classroom, I use My Feelings workbook that I found and from young to older, students can identify their feelings and how it makes them feel. It’s a free resource and is so powerful.
Encouraging kindness at any time can be powerful and meaningful. Students need to know how to be kind and how to show kindness to others. Random acts of kindness can be powerful as well as Thankful Thursday. Incorporate kindness in your read alouds, morning meeting, or in a different activity. Encouraging and promoting kindness can change the tone in your classroom today.
Incorporating Social Emotional Learning in your classroom takes planning and follow through. However, it truly makes a difference and the ideas are endless.