Social-Emotional Learning

How do I incorporate SEL in my classroom?

With more and more being piled on the plates of teachers, it can be overwhelming to take on more. Teachers are already asked to design instruction, facilitate learning, analyze data, communicate effectively, and provide resources. On top of all this, many districts are requiring the implementation of social-emotional learning. Why is SEL so important?

Reasons why it is so important to teach social-emotional skills to children:

Social-emotional learning is vital to the success of today's children. Many young people have endured trauma without the coping skills necessary for recovery. In order to learn, students must be provided with strategies that promote healthy emotional development.

According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, students must have their basic human needs met before they are able to move forward with learning. In addition to physiological needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, these necessities include security, belonging, and self-esteem. Schools must be able to provide for these needs first.

Ways teachers can integrate social-emotional learning:

Still, you might be asking yourself: How am I supposed to teach SEL on top of everything else?

Adding social-emotional learning to your classroom should not be just another item of the to-do list. Contrastingly, SEL can be easily woven into your existing curriculum and subject matter. Instead of making social-emotional learning its own separate category of education, SEL should be interwoven between the layers of the existing lesson plans. It should become an underlying current that weaves its way throughout the classroom - both in how instruction is delivered and how the classroom operates on a daily basis.

These types of instructional strategies can be used to promote social-emotional learning in the classroom:

  • Provide opportunities for responsibility;

  • Allow students to self-evaluate;

  • Promote reflection;

  • Incorporate journaling;

  • Model emotional control;

  • Practice problem-solving; and

  • Create a safe space.

How do you implement SEL?

I have been asked on numerous occasions exactly how I implement social-emotional learning in my own classroom. Afterall, we want to provide SEL that is designed for students and easy to use!

I have witnessed first hand the power of social emotional learning. I had a student who was failing multiple classes. He had numerous past due assignments and refused to do his homework. After just a few months of working on improving his mindset, this young man was doing his work and giving his best effort. By the following semester, he was on the honor roll. He simply needed to see the potential in himself and the value of his education.

I implemented SEL in my classroom in a variety of ways. Here are some examples of SEL activities that I have been able to successfully infuse into my instruction:

The Power of Self-Talk

Promote emotional development in your classroom by helping students learn the power of self-talk. The Power of Self-Talk is a FREE resource to help you get started with social-emotional learning programs that work for you.

Overcoming Obstacles

Social-emotional learning activities should meet students where they are. Many times kids struggle to fight against opposition to achieve their dreams. Overcoming Obstacles is a FREE resource to help your students practice reflection and persistence.

Learning from Mistakes

A vital aspect of emotional wellbeing is the ability to accept and learn from mistakes. We all mess up! The sooner students can recognize mistakes as opportunities, the faster they can experience true success. Learning from Mistakes is another FREE resource to put your students on the path to strong emotional intelligence.

Dealing with Frustration

Do your students frustrate easily? Dealing with Frustration can help them learn how to handle vexation and use it for self-improvement. This google form can be used on its own. However, it works best when used in conjunction with Khan Academy's lessons on making mistakes and the lesson guide posted on my TPT store called "Making Mistakes Left & Right."

If these digital lessons are working to help your students build their life skills, check out these bundles on my TPT store.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) should be implemented as an integral part of everyday education and student development, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. The best thing you can to as a teacher to promote emotional health and maturity in your students is to be a genuine person who admits mistakes and learns from them yourself.

You are making the world a better place!

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