Need strategies and tools for teaching SEL online or in the classroom? Learn how to effectively use digital social-emotional learning activities to strengthen your virtual and in-person lessons with kids.
Your Guide to Teaching Social-Emotional Skills using Digital Activities
Every child needs to develop social and emotional skills, beyond academics. It is our responsibility as educators to ensure that children have opportunities to learn and practice these skills from us, whether remotely or in person.
When children have plenty of exposure to different types of lessons and learning formats, they grow. Teaching virtually doesn’t have to hinder a child’s development. We can create meaningful opportunities for children to learn no matter where teaching is occurring or the format we choose to teach with.
Social and emotional skills can be taught online or in the classroom. Children can grow and have success, whether inside or outside of the classroom. It really depends on what they are being taught and whether we are doing everything we can to facilitate that learning in ways they can be successful.
This post will teach you ways to incorporate digital lessons and activities into your virtual or in-person classrooms. You will learn how teaching social and emotional skills are vital no matter the location or format.
How to Teach Social and Emotional Skills in a Virtual Classroom
It is important to teach social and emotional skills in every classroom, but it is crucial when we are not together face-to-face. When children are apart from others, they lack opportunities to build relationships and make connections. But these important social skills can still develop, just in a different way.
If it’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is how to adapt and be flexible in teaching and delivering our lessons. Teaching social and emotional skills is the same. We need to get creative and develop ways to build SEL into our day so children develop these skills.
But how? By teaching SEL lessons virtually to our students, we can continue to support and encourage them. We can continue to have discussions, share ideas, read books, and participate in activities together online.
When children can develop social and emotional skills out of the classroom, they feel included and valued. Through opportunities to connect with peers online, they learn about one another and build friendships that last until they are together in person again.
Ways to teach social and emotional skills in a virtual classroom:
- Morning Meeting – Set the stage for the rest of your time together online in a positive way with a daily morning meeting. Start the meeting with a virtual greeting where everyone gets a turn. Then, have sharing time where you ask a question, and they respond in their own way. Wrap up with a quick activity that builds social or emotional skills, such as mindful breathing.
- Social-Emotional Learning Lessons – Plan a quick lesson on one social or emotional concept and teach that concept during your virtual time together. If you are introducing a new topic, start with a discussion where students take turns sharing thoughts, and you record ideas on a virtual anchor chart. Weave that lesson in with an academic skill you are teaching, such as writing a response.
- Read Books Together – Share picture books with children about social-emotional topics during your online time. Read books together or share a link to a virtual reading of the chosen book. Discuss the story and how a character exhibits an important skill.
- Virtual Activities – Assign a digital activity for children to complete after your virtual lesson together. The activities can consist of recording a response to a story, making a video, sorting phrases to show understanding, or reading scenarios and responding.
How to Use Digital Social-Emotional Learning Activities in the Classroom
When children are learning together under the same roof in the classroom, great things can happen. We see them grow and flourish as they learn in a group. They build relationships and connect with others face to face. We get to support them in real-time as they experience challenges and need help navigating difficult emotions.
The need to teach social and emotional skills exists, and we need to be creative on how to teach these skills every day. Yes, we need to teach academics, and often those come first, but we must also make time for SEL.
With the changing educational landscape, we are learning to use technology in new ways. When we teach using technology, we prepare our students for the future. By teaching lessons to the whole class and assigning digital activities afterward, we sharpen their skills and give them practice in beneficial ways.
How does this help us teach social and emotional skills? By assigning digital SEL activities to our students, we can encourage independence in their use of technology. This empowers them to build self-management skills.
How to use digital activities to teach social and emotional skills in the classroom:
- Partner Activities – Teach an SEL lesson to the whole group, then have students work in pairs to complete a digital activity. Students can sit together at a computer or with a tablet and work together to complete an activity that supports them and extends their learning. Working together and problem-solving helps them grow socially and emotionally.
- Whole-Group Digital Social-Emotional Learning Activities – In a classroom with a limited number of devices, the teacher can display the digital activity to the class on a projector screen while the class completes the activity together. This is an excellent way to keep the class focused on the same thing as you reinforce a concept.
- One-to-one Classrooms – In a classroom where each child has access to their own device, students can complete their own version of the digital SEL activity after a lesson and a demonstration of how to complete it.
Digital Social-Emotional Learning Lessons and Activities for K-5
If you are left wondering what digital SEL lessons and activities to use to teach your class, I have the answer for you!
The DIGITAL mind + heart Social Emotional Learning Curriculum for K-2 and 3-5 includes 8 units with 5+ detailed lessons filled with digital, interactive activities that encourage children to express themselves and build important social-emotional skills.
Why you should choose this digital SEL curriculum!
No more wondering what and how to teach important social and emotional skills. This mind+heart digital SEL curriculum includes detailed lessons that can be taught virtually or in person, with follow-up activities for students to complete. Just select the topic and lesson and start teaching.
Take the guesswork out of what to teach when it comes to social and emotional concepts. This curriculum has it all and it is 100% digitally formatted for use online in virtual or in-person classrooms.
What does the mind+heart Digital Social-Emotional Learning curriculum include?
- This SEL curriculum includes a year’s worth of meaningful and engaging lessons and follow-up activities on the most important lessons in life with units and activities on self-awareness, self-management, growth mindset, empathy, social awareness, friendship, kindness, respect, and responsibility.
- The program provides teachers, counselors, and parents with lesson plans, instructions, videos, and activities to support social-emotional learning in digital format.
Some of the engaging & interactive SEL activities kids will enjoy!
- Thought starter questions, scenarios, & challenges
- Digital anchor charts
- Board & card games
- Scenario cards for role play
- Sorting activities
- Reflection Journals
- Daily & Weekly Check-In charts
- Idea cards
- Interactive activities
- Tons of Videos (safe links)
- Mentor texts & response activities
- & so much more!
How to Use the DIGITAL Social Emotional Learning curriculum:
- Kids can complete assignments digitally after a classroom, small group, or one-on-one lesson
- Beneficial for one-to-one classrooms
- It can be used to further a child’s independent practice of social-emotional skills: in the classroom, in a homeschool setting, or counseling sessions.
Comes with READY-FOR-YOU Google Slides, Seesaw, & Interactive PowerPoint Lessons.
- Comes with instructions for Google Classroom with Google Slides – You will receive a file with links to create copies of the Google Slides to use in your Google Classroom.
- You will also receive interactive PowerPoint files that can be added to your preferred online platform and used as you see fit.
- Pre-formatted Seesaw activities are ready to use in the K-2 curriculum.
- Assign the activities using your online classroom account and use with Chromebooks, computers, iPads, tablets, phones, or interactive whiteboards.
Benefits of Using DIGITAL Social-Emotional Resources:
- Learn to use different digital methods and devices
- Gain practice and skills working and interacting online
- Provides 1:1 classrooms with meaningful digital activities
- Supports school counselors and provides materials for sessions
- Provides families with additional tools to support their kids at home
- Works well in a homeschool setting
- Supports remote and distance learning
Frequently Asked Questions about our Digital SEL resources:
How easy are these lessons to teach? Do they require a lot of prep?
This program was made with the busy teacher in mind. The lessons and activities are done for you. Teach the lesson using the detailed lesson plan and instructions, then follow-up with engaging activities that are ready-to-use in Google, PowerPoint, or Seesaw (for K-2).
I struggle with finding time to teach SEL regularly. Can you provide some ideas of how to be more consistent?
This digital SEL curriculum fits easily into any busy teacher’s schedule with its short, actionable lessons that require only 15-20 minutes to teach. The activities are quick to complete yet incredibly effective and powerful in building social and emotional skills.
I am not teaching in the classroom right now. Will these lessons still work for me?
As indicated in this post, digital SEL lessons and activities can be taught in any teaching landscape, whether virtual or in person. The versatile lessons fit nicely into any K-2 or 3-5 classroom set-up.
I like to use a combination of digital activities, but also printable ones too. Can I print and use these digital activities in hands-on ways?
While you can easily adapt these digital activities for use in various online formats, they are not recommended for printable use. We have the same curriculum available in printable format and a combination bundle of both for those wanting printable and digital materials.
What educators are saying about the digital SEL resources:
Wow, this is exactly what I needed for my students! We are doing distance learning and have Mondays specifically dedicated to only social emotional learning. This is age appropriate for my first graders and I love how easily accessible and user friendly it is. ~ Danielle U.
I used this resource on my online learning platform. Parents and students loved these activities! It was especially helpful for parents who knew their children needed some additional social emotional learning, but were unsure how to approach it. I incorporated it into my literacy activities as there was usually a paired reading, writing, or listening activity. ~ Kelsey S.
My sons love doing these activities on the iPad and I love not having to print and prepare activities to only use them one time. This has been a great homeschool resource! Thanks for this digital version. The content, ideas, and organization of the units makes this very easy to use and it covers skills that my children need. ~ Tonya W.
FREE Wrinkled Heart Empathy Lesson and Activity
Give one of our engaging digital SEL activities a try! Get a FREE copy of the Wrinkled Heart activity. This activity includes a poem and online read-aloud formatted for Google Slides, plus a printable heart template for your empathy lesson.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Social Emotional Learning DIGITAL Curriculum
See the Digital SEL curriculum by Proud to be Primary in action.
Find the digital resources included mind+heart SEL K-2 Bundle HERE.
See all of the resources included in the DIGITAL mind+heart SEL 3-5 Bundle HERE.
Need digital and printable SEL lessons and activities?
Use both bundles together to offer a well-rounded SEL program in your classroom!
More SEL Activities
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FREE Social Emotional Learning Email Series
Sign up for the social emotional learning email course filled with tips to get you started, lesson and activity ideas, PLUS tons of FREE resources you can access right away. Everything you need to teach social skills and emotional literacy in the classroom!