Materials used in different school subjects (calculator, test tubes, books, globe, etc.)

Always feeling as if there is not enough time to get everything done? Trying to figure out how to fit 10 curriculum requirements into a single day? Wondering how to multitask without diminishing the learning experience for either task? The good news is that you can Integrate Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into what you already teach! Keep reading for a list of social emotional learning activities in any major school subject!

  1. Integrating SEL in Math

Math isn’t just about numbers and complex problems – SEL is actually already embedded whether you realize it or not. Students use perseverance to solve problems, teamwork during group work and a growth mindset to learn from their mistakes. 

A fun math activity to try with your students is ‘All About Me’ using numbers!  Students will practice teamwork skills by working in groups as well as perseverance skills by being persistent with solving the problem, not giving up if challenges arise while computing their answers or working in their group.

How to/ Teacher Instructions:

  1. Supply Scrap paper and encourage students to use a calculator to check their answers!
  2. Hand out and allow students to fill out an ‘All About Me’ page
  3. Give 5 minutes for them to walk around and find their groups
  4. Assign group numbers (group 1, group 2, group 3, etc.)
  5. Hand out and have groups fill out the ‘All About Us’ page
  6. Collect their work to check their answers. Ensure they showed their work!

2. Integrating SEL in Science

Deciding on your own adventure is always exciting because the ending can change depending on your decisions and you never know quite how it will end! Why not bring that excitement to your science class? In a day full of being told what to do, students will love the opportunity to decide for themselves. Students can practice decision-making and collaboration, while still exploring different substances and how they interact with each other! 

Allow students to decide their materials based on a handed-out list and allow them to use these materials to experiment. Observe how the materials interact with each other – Does color change? Do they dissolve together? Get students to write down their observations and see the exploration spark their scientific curiosity.

How to/ Teacher Instructions:

1) Put students into groups (recommended 3-4 people per group)

2) Provide a list of material options and have the group decide which material they prefer from each option

3) Provide the chosen materials to students with bowls or beakers and something to mix with.

4) Allow time for groups to use their chosen materials and experiment with them.

5) Get students to write down their observations and what they mixed.

6) Allow time for cleaning up!

Click below for the handout and don’t forget to write in the material options you will be providing!

(Student handout with instructions)

3. Integrating SEL in English

Nothing better than some good old-fashioned storytime! Why not make reading SEL focused by choosing a book with a social and emotional theme. To find the right book for your class, we recommend choosing a book with a theme that relates to the time of year (i.e. gratitude for November) or a book that may help students with problems that are happening during class time (i.e. respect).   

At Peekapak, we got you covered! With our original stories, Peekapak is ready to make any story time SEL-approved! Join the Peekapak Pals as they discover all about courage, honesty, friendship, imagination, self-regulation, and more! Peekapak even offers four reading level options, so the story is always at the student’s level (E/F, G/H, I/J, K/L). Try adding some SEL stories to your library!

4. Integrating in Physical Education

What better way to practice teamwork than a good old-fashioned team sport or game. Teams have to work together to achieve a shared goal, in this case winning the game! Students must work together, problem solve, respect each other and communicate with each other to have a successful team!

Team Game/Sport Ideas:

  1. Basketball
  2. Soccer
  3. Soccer-Baseball
  4. Volleyball
  5. Flag Football
  6. Relay Race
  7. Frisbee
  8. Capture the Flag
  9. Create Your Own Group Dances
  10. Dodgeball (and Dodgeball Variations)

5. Integrating SEL in Social Studies/Geography

People are different and so are cultures. Allow students to get to know another way of life. Assign each student a different culture to research. This could be the culture in another country, region or religious group. By researching a culture, students are able to understand things they would have previously considered ‘weird’ or ‘different’ and come to understand the significance of them and how they make people of that culture feel. 

Empathizing with their culture and practices to better understand another way of life than their own. Let students highlight differences and similarities between their culture and the culture they are researching. Differences should be things that make the culture unique and similarities should allow students to realize that while not the same, we are all human. Get students to present findings to the class, so everyone can learn about many cultures!

6. Integrating SEL in Music

Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do – Music to our ears! Assign or let your students decide an SEL topic they want to write a song or poem about. As an extra SEL add-in, make students write the song with partners to practice teamwork and collaboration. Allow students to share their creation with the class, either by hanging them up or allowing those who feel comfortable to present to the class.

7. Integrating SEL in 2nd Languages

Practice makes perfect! What better way to practice than in conversation? Get students into partners and encourage them to converse in the second language (Spanish, French, Mandarin,etc). This includes greetings as well as asking and answering questions. Not only do students get to practice their second language, but they also get to practice important SEL skills by doing so. Students are able to practice answering honestly, develop communication skills and foster relationship building with their partner. It is important to understand that this is not the students’ first language and so practicing to converse may make them anxious, so provide them encouragement and congratulate them on their courage for trying and conversing at the end of the task!

Conversation questions:

  • How are you?
  • What did you eat for breakfast?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • What is the date today?
  • What is the weather today?

8. Integrating SEL in Visual Art

Art is an expression of life! It is powerful and has the ability to share emotions, thoughts and feelings. Allow your students to express themselves through their art. Ask your students how they feel and prompt them to make a poster depicting that emotion. No restriction on how it should look, just that it must express how they feel today. 

This practices self-regulation and imagination. Students can identify their emotions and express them in a constructive way. Imagination allows students to create their emotion based on how it feels, rather than solely on how it stereotypically looks.

9. Prompting SEL with Icebreakers

With the new school year just around the corner, it is the perfect time to break the ice! Build relationship skills and communication with this list of five icebreakers for the first week of school.

Try integrating these activities into your everyday classes. It truly is this easy to incorporate social emotional learning in every subject. Wanting to incorporate more SEL in the classroom? See what Peekapak has to offer with its all-in-one program!

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