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Social-Emotional Learning Examples

Both young adults and kids need to have social skills in order to enjoy school, get good grades, and become successful in their adult lives. These skills that are not traditionally taught help children to build confidence, understand the environment around them, their own strengths and weaknesses, and how they can collaborate with others. 

Along with that, social-emotional learning helps kids navigate social situations, develop better relationships with others and become better at decision-making. There’s no doubt that these skills matter even more now and are crucial for the development of every child. However, most teachers just don’t have enough time or enough knowledge on how to do social and emotional learning in the realms of the classroom, and so it often remains an untouched subject as the focus shifts on to more traditional school subjects such as math, English, history, and science. And while we agree that learning those is also vital, it shouldn’t come at the expense of developing social-emotional skills. 

That’s why in this article, we will focus on social-emotional learning examples that will help teachers incorporate such activities inside their classrooms. Social-emotional learning doesn’t take forever and can be thought of with the help of interesting, short games or with daily activities that provoke thought and self-awareness. Of course, on the Internet, you can find plenty of free social-emotional learning worksheets to download, but our advice will be a little bit more extensive than just providing you with a list of activities. 

So let’s buckle up and discuss some social-emotional learning examples in the classroom and in school as a whole. 

Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

The past year has shown us all that social-emotional learning in the classroom is vital for students. That’s why it’s essential that we engage students in social-emotional learning activities as much as we can. We have to remember that kids need support and instruction to be successful both in school and in real life, so teaching them how to recognize and deal with emotions and control their impulses and communicate effectively will be instrumental for their further education development. 

Here are some social-emotional learning questions for students, as well as some activities applicable for any classroom: 

• Start the day with a check-in.
It’s an excellent way to establish a personal connection with students, as well as get them to become more in touch with their emotions.
Do more partner activities.
Whenever you give children homework or any other assignment, encourage them to collaborate by making them work in pairs. That way, they will be able to learn how to work with each other and communicate more effectively.
Practice reflective writing.
Give your students time to write and journal - you can do it at the end of English class, for around 10 minutes every day.

Along with doing some social-emotional learning activities, you should set students' goals. Here are some social-emotional learning goals examples: 

• Learn to express emotions through words, not actions.
• Resolve conflicts without physical force or foul language.
• Be able to point out your own strengths and weaknesses

Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Elementary

Students in middle school and in high school understand the concept of social-emotional learning a lot better than, say, students in elementary school. And that’s not surprising, given the age difference. However, it poses a difficult task for teachers that deal with more minor children, and that is how you can teach them social-emotional learning without it being boring or hard for them.

That’s why we’re going to look into some social-learning activities for kindergarten, as well as social-emotional topics for elementary students:

• Art activities.
For smaller kids making art is a great way to express emotions and deal with them while being a fun thing to do in their free time.
• Play games.
Board games and other types of classroom activities make it fun for kids to learn about emotions and social situations. Allow them to play in teams so that they practice collaboration.
• Do sports.
Playing any kind of sport is a terrific way for kids to have fun while learning how to deal with different emotions - happiness, sadness, anger, and how to be competitive in a healthy way.

When it comes to finding fun SEL activities for smaller children, Six in Schools can be a very helpful resource filled with tons of novel ideas, including social emotional learning questions for elementary students.

Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Middle School Students

There are a lot more social-emotional learning topics for middle school students than there are options. However, middle school is a transitional time - for many children, it means moving to a different school, having a new schedule, and transitioning into adolescence. That’s why middle schoolers need support from their teachers. By incorporating social-emotional learning, kids will be able to build self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of knowledge on how to deal with personal matters. 

That being said, here are some examples of social-emotional learning topics for middle school students: 

• Do emotional check-ins.
Students have to use the mnemonic PASTA to describe their emotions (P: Pause and breathe for a moment, A: Ask yourself how you feel, S: Say the emotion word out loud or write it on a piece of paper, T: Think about your feelings, let them be, A: Ask yourself what you need or what might help you).
• Journal writing.
Middle schoolers can practice journal writing very well, and it’s a powerful tool for understanding and assessing emotions, as well as reflecting on times that have already passed.
• Have group competitions.
Whether those are quizzes, sports games, or art competitions, they are a good way to build partnerships and compassion.

Social-Emotional Learning Activities at Home

Social-emotional learning for teachers and students alike has become harder with the pandemic and online school. It’s vital for social-emotional learning because it’s hard to understand other people’s emotions without interacting with them in real life. However, it’s possible to get kids to do some SEL activities at home. They may not be as effective, but they will help the child progress.

Some examples of social-emotional learning activities at home include: 

• Write in a gratitude journal.
Saying thanks for the good things in your life will make you more grateful for them and will allow you to reflect on the positive sides of life, which helps develop an optimistic mindset.
• Write a letter to a loved one.
Thinking about someone you have a deep connection with and saying thanks to them for being a part of your life is an excellent way to appreciate the people who support you in daily life.
• Have a daily to-do list.
Knowing their daily tasks and what they have to do allows children to practice responsible decision-making and self-management.

Social-Emotional Learning Activities Virtual

Social-emotional learning activities virtual are getting more and more popular the longer the pandemic goes on. People have now realized how important understanding emotions is and want to use the time spent at home on improving themselves. That’s why on the Internet, you will see tons of virtual SEL activities for adults and even virtual SEL activities for high school students, which can be very helpful in social-emotional learning while remaining safely home. Let’s take a look at some examples: 

• Meditation.
There are plenty of great meditation apps that allow you to learn how to meditate with fun tasks such as mindful minutes and more.
• Do online art.
Online art classes are a terrific way for adults and high schoolers to express their emotions through paintings and other types of art.
• Read books and analyze them.
Literature is the most incredible way to put yourself in another person’s shoes and understand their feelings, which is what makes reading one of the best social-emotional learning activities.

Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Staff

We’ve talked about social-emotional learning topics for kids and students. However, we haven’t really discussed social-emotional learning activities for teachers. And it’s essential that we do since you can’t teach someone something that you yourself don’t know or practice. That’s why teachers have to do social-emotional learning activities for adults that will help them get more in touch with their own emotions and thus help them be better educators to younger children. 

When it comes to SEL for adults, it’s often considered to be more about becoming more self-aware and learning how to manage yourself and your time better. Oftentimes, you will see adult SEL described as the process of helping educators build the necessary skills to lead social and emotional learning initiatives. It involves a ton of specific adult self-care practices that aim to help teachers cope with stress and manage their emotions. Some of these activities include: 

• Have a reflection diary, where one can discuss feelings, memories, and events.
• Give each other feedback on regular staff meetings.
• Discuss emotions and reflect on them with other teachers
• Do shared staff assignments that allow you to collaborate with each other

More about adult SEL activities, including social-emotional learning activities for staff and learning how to practice social-emotional learning, can be found on the Six in Schools website. 

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