Social emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education today. I would say there is more need for SEL in all schools now than ever. If you aren't already familiar with social emotional learning, also known as SEL, think of it as relationship building 101. Social-emotional skills are not only needed for children but for adults as well. They include processes such as recognizing and managing emotions, learning to care for others, and demonstrating responsible decision-making.
Trying to fit “just one more thing” into your already overwhelming classroom schedule might just put you over the edge! But don't stress – take a deep breath because I'm here to share some ideas of social-emotional activities that you can incorporate today with things you are already doing in your classroom!
Start the Day with SEL
Stand outside your classroom door as students are filing in for the day and give them a HUGE smile and a personalized greeting! I love giving my students choices where they can choose how they want to be greeted. For example, you could have them opt for an air high five, an under-the-sea shimmy, or a twist and shout!
As teachers, we don't always know what students have encountered before arriving in our classroom. Sometimes it can be evident that a student had a rough morning, but other times they may do a good job hiding their feelings inside.
Doing a quick check-in with “Today I Feel” is a great way for you to know how to individualize your student approach. It doesn't require much time but is a simple act that shows you care. Grab the FREE poster & slide here!
Today I Feel Poster & SlideSign up below to get the FREE check in digital slide and poster straight to your inbox! The slide is perfect for a digital feelings check in and the poster works great on your whiteboard or in a calm down area!
You probably already do some sort of morning meeting, even if you don't realize it! Morning meetings do not have to take long and can look however you want them to. I love including quick “I can” statements from students to set the tone for the day!
Setting positive goals with students is a great way to encourage student achievement, academic success, and responsible decisions.
I have SO many morning meeting ideas already set up just for you! If you're a visual person, check out this Morning Meeting Ideas & Activities blog post! I dive into specific details of how long your meetings should be and share resources on incorporating goal setting with your students. If you're a podcast junkie, like me, add Episode 009: Morning Meetings to your playlist of things you don't want to miss!
Social Emotional Learning Activities
A huge part of SEL is working through emotions and learning how they directly impact our behaviors. Allowing students the opportunity to “brain dump” what they are feeling on the inside can be so therapeutic without them even realizing it.
Using a digital student check-in journal is one of my favorite ways to foster social-emotional learning! This digital journal includes slides on how to fill your cup, what it takes to develop a growth mindset, and learning how to control the controllables!
Distance Learning | Digital Student Check In Journal | Social Emotional Learning
This digital student check-in journal is perfect to have your students check-in and reflect. It can be used again and again. Assign it daily, weekly, monthly, whatever works best! These journal slides would make a great morning meeting activity and help foster social-emotional learning.
Read-alouds can teach so many important life lessons to students! They can be a great tool to build relationship skills, model social situations, and help students process challenging situations.
You can even have students vote on 3-4 book choices & let students choose which one they would like to read!
Here are some of my fav read-aloud books:
- 10 + Picture Books Perfect for Morning Meetings
- Perfect Read Aloud Books for November
- Holiday & Winter Read Alouds
Hold Class Meetings
Class meetings can differ from morning meetings. I would suggest having morning meetings more often & consistently vs. class meetings. Class meetings can happen once a month or anytime you have a class problem that needs to be worked through. Touch on conflict resolution, active listening, healthy relationships, and effective communication.
My students love when we use our digital spinners. It is a fun activity to start the day with or add to a class meeting. It is one of the most fun social-emotional activities we do. There's a spinner for social-emotional prompts, positive affirmations, morning meeting sharing prompts, and more!
Digital Spinners | Classroom Management | Reading | Morning Meeting
This interactive character traits resource is great to teach during morning meetings! Use the slides, discussion and writing prompts, read-aloud list, caught ya slips, and more to accompany your character education lessons in the classroom. Great for developing social skills & emotional learning!
Social emotional learning doesn't happen in one day with one lesson. It takes time and consistent work for students to begin implementing these strategies into their everyday lives! Character education lessons are great to include in your social-emotional development activities.
I suggest picking one character trait and spending the entire week learning and demonstrating that skill throughout different interactions. Teaching character education in the classroom is a fantastic way to begin your social and emotional learning journey!
Character Education Bundle | Morning Meeting | Character Traits
This interactive character traits resource is great to teach during morning meetings! Use the slides, discussion and writing prompts, read aloud list, caught ya slips, and more to accompany your character education lessons in the classroom. Great for social & emotional learning!
Hopefully, you've found different ways to add social-emotional learning activities to your lesson plans! Focusing on building positive relationships with students and providing a safe space to learn and grow is the best thing you can do for the students in your classroom community.
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