SEL is important, but how do we make sure it’s not just another thing for educators to check off? Many educators understand the importance of developing students’ SEL skills, but don’t have the time or resources in their classrooms to devote full lessons to it. One of the best ways to overcome this barrier is to find quick and easy ways to incorporate SEL instruction into everyday classroom activities. Here are some minimal-time ideas for how you can do this.
Activities that Support SEL Growth
Holding morning meetings with your class is a great way to get a feel for the room. Maybe you notice a lot of students are feeling down. A morning meeting provides a great opportunity to introduce and practice new ways to cope with these feelings. It is also a great way to provide structure to students’ school days.
Greeting students at the door each morning creates a welcoming environment and lets students know that you are excited to be with them for the day. It can help them feel appreciated and ready to learn. When greeting students, you can give them a handshake or high-five. Be sure to give them your undivided attention by looking them in the eye and greeting them by their name. Change it up a bit and assign a student greeter to teach responsibility and to encourage positive interactions and empathy between students!
Reading and Books
Picture books and novels offer great opportunities to teach students what not to do as they see characters make poor choices and decisions. Books also help teach students to think empathetically as they can easily put themselves in the characters place. If you’re wondering where to start, check out our recommendations for Children’s Books that Teach SEL.
Create a Peace Corner in you classroom as an area for students to go to when they feel angry, down, or just need a moment to themselves. Include “calming” elements like noise-cancelling headphones, music, and books. This is a great and easy way to encourage students to practice self-regulation and calming techniques.
Having emotional check-ins with students is a quick SEL activity that can help them practice identifying their emotions and learning how to manage them. This could be a great activity to include in morning meetings. It can also give educators a better understanding of how students are feeling and can help them identify potential issues.
Looking for a technology-based program to teach empathy and other social-emotional skills to elementary aged children? Look no further than Peekapak! Peekapak is an award-winning, social-emotional learning (SEL) platform that uses engaging lessons, stories, and digital games in the classroom and at home. Developed by education experts, Peekapak’s innovative curriculum teaches skills like gratitude, empathy, and self-regulation using literacy, reading, and writing based learning curriculum.