Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. – (CASEL 2019)
In summary the main premise of SEL is to bring awareness to both yourself, others around you and in turn how these interact. As educators, finding a balance in the classroom can be challenging. On one hand you want to prepare your students for their exams but you also want to make sure that they are prepared for life once they leave school. It’s just as important to know how to set goals and find their identity as it is to be able to solve a quadratic equation.
Below you will find 3 SEL Learning Activities that you can use in the classroom:
Class Meetings - Using these meetings as a regular classroom activity helps to build leadership skills and promotes an open space where you all work together as one. It is also a great way for students to know that they are heard. Knowing your opinions and concerns matter helps to promote a sense of belonging and acceptance. Make sure you add these meetings to your schedule on a regular basis. Let your students take the lead during the discussions, encourage open sharing and a diplomatic outlook where voting is used to make any decisions.
Reflective Writing - Using prompts to aid reflection in the classroom is a great way to give a voice to the students that don’t always feel comfortable to speak out. Give time to write freely using prompts such as these:
If I wrote the words I need to hear the most, what would they be?
Look back through the day. When was I at my best?
I was proud of myself today when…
Were there points in the day where I felt anxious/stressed?
Goal Setting - Setting goals and tracking progress encourages students to keep on top of their learning and also offers them the opportunity to take more responsibility for it. In addition, it allows them to see past today and look into the future, whether it’s a short term goal for tomorrow or a long term goal to focus on for the next year.
Are you using any SEL activities in your classroom? We’d love for you to share what has worked for you!