Finding time to teach SEL doesn’t have to be difficult and time-consuming. Integrate social-emotional learning into your daily schedule by teaching it simultaneously as core subjects, such as reading, math, and writing. Find creative and simple solutions you can implement today in your classroom!
Ways to Integrate Social-Emotional Learning with Confidence
As teachers, we seek to become efficient in our occupation. This often means being crafty and creative about how we deliver lessons and weave subjects together to save time.
Teaching social-emotional learning in the classroom is important. Yet, we may find it is something that gets neglected due to time constraints and an already packed weekly schedule.
But what if I told you there was a way to bring SEL into the classroom while teaching core subjects?
There are clever ways to integrate social-emotional lessons into your ELA, math, and other subjects, which you may not even realize is possible. In this post, I will give you some simple ways to weave SEL into your existing lessons to save time, and rest assured that you are teaching essential concepts your students need.
Why should we teach integrated SEL?
While it’s wonderful to have dedicated time for social-emotional learning, it’s often not doable for those with a lot to cover regarding reading, math, etc.
Integrating SEL is a solution for you!
Also, if you have the opportunity to weave more SEL into your lesson plans, I strongly encourage it. Exposure to SEL language and content throughout the day when learning new concepts in math or ELA is beneficial.
The more students hear us talking about ways to manage our feelings at school, make good choices in the classroom, and build relationships with peers, the more they will succeed in school.
We all want that. Right?
Social-Emotional Skills Students Need for Success in Academics
Describe the skills students will need to develop to succeed in academic areas. Provide simple ways to encourage the skills they need to build.
Teaching kids that they are capable of learning is one of the most important tasks we have as teachers. Providing students with “I Can” strategies related to social-emotional learning will help them confidently face challenges and new knowledge.
Below are some of the skills we can teach our students with “I Can” statements.
- Learn – capable and confident with a growing sense of ownership
- Be Open-Minded – willing to learn new strategies and solutions
- Set Goals – sets a goal and works towards it
- Do Hard Things – motivated and perseveres through challenges, has a “growth mindset,” and learns from mistakes.
- Work With Others – works collaboratively and cooperatively with others on tasks and solves problems together.
How to Integrate Social-Emotional Learning Into Your Teaching
There are many natural ways to integrate social-emotional learning into ELA, math, and other subjects. Below you will find some simple ways to weave them together in your classroom.
#1 – English Language Arts
Integrating social-emotional learning into our ELA lessons means we essentially do double duty when teaching our students.
Speaking & Listening Strategies:
Have collaborative discussions as a group and encourage students to participate by sharing their thoughts and feelings. Have students work with partners in small and large groups where they can ask and answer questions. Also, have opportunities to express and clarify ideas and opinions. These types of discussions can occur anytime and should happen often.
Reading aloud children’s books with a social-emotional focus is a beautiful way to easily integrate SEL into your daily routine. Start by selecting a series of books focusing on the social-emotional skill you want to build with your students.
Then, pick your book for the day and discuss the book’s topic before and after reading. Ask questions throughout as they relate to the experiences, choices, and consequences facing the characters of the stories. Encourage kids to connect to the characters and share their connections.
Afterward, go deeper with a story by completing book companion activities with an SEL emphasis. Our SEL Book Companions offer a variety of tools to build reading, writing, and social-emotional skills through detailed lessons and engaging follow-up activities.
Many of us teach poems to our students throughout the year. Instead of picking seasonal topics for poetry, try selecting a social-emotional topic for a poem. Read the poem throughout the week and discuss that particular trait or topic and how it relates to students.
For example, this free empathy poem illustrates through words what empathy means and how they can show empathy. Both are important ideas for kids to learn, and through a weekly poem, this is achieved.
Our social-emotional learning poetry resource is an excellent option for those wanting to teach SEL and poetry together each week easily.
Writing is a wonderful way to integrate social-emotional learning. Have students write freely and often to share their feelings, opinions, and thoughts in words.
This can be accomplished in many simple ways!
- Quick writes & journals to share personal stories
- Draw to tell a story from their lives
- Story responses
- Question of the day
- Opinion writing
Our SEL Writing Mats resource features writing prompts on important social-emotional topics while supporting students with a picture-word list and conventions checklist. A teacher favorite!
#2 – Math
Students must develop and apply social-emotional skills to learn new math concepts and skills. Their ability to understand and use math strategies grows as they develop these skills. They are also better equipped to handle challenges and seek solutions when they have developed social-emotional skills.
Math strategies that will help students build social-emotional skills.
- Encourage exploration with open-ended math tasks.
- Ask students how they feel about math to understand their confidence level better and be prepared for possible challenges up-front.
- Ask students how they feel about a specific math task and ways we can encourage ourselves and our peers to persevere.
- Discuss challenges students may be experiencing and come up with solutions together.
- Spend time in small groups figuring out math problems together.
- Have students work independently to learn new math strategies.
#3 – Other Classroom Subjects
Social-emotional learning can be integrated into any subject you teach with a bit of creativity and inspiration. Think about how a child may feel about a particular topic or lesson, discuss it openly, and develop strategies to manage emotions and conflict positively.
Ideas of ways to integrate social-emotional learning with other subjects you teach.
- P.E. – Have students work together in inclusive teams toward a common goal. Encourage good sportsmanship and teamwork through positive gameplay.
- Music & Art – Encourage students to express themselves freely and creatively in the Arts. Ask students to share how art and music make them feel. Listen to music throughout the day to calm the class. Create art regularly while promoting non-judgment.
- Science – Here are some helpful strategies for integrating social and emotional learning in science class.
Social-Emotional Learning Resources
If you are ready to invest in your student’s social and emotional well-being, then the mind+heart Social-Emotional Learning curriculum is for you!
Check out the detailed preview in-store for the scope and sequence, lesson topics, see the activities included, and start imagining the positive change it can bring.
mind+heart Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum for K-2
The mind+heart Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum will help you build a productive and peaceful classroom filled with respectful, confident, and kind children! This SEL curriculum includes SEL lessons and hundreds of activities covering important social-emotional topics all young children need to learn and practice.
Free Social-Emotional Learning Ebook
Learn nine ways to transform your classroom with social-emotional learning in the FREE Guide for teachers! It is filled with actionable tips and strategies, insightful ideas to get you started, and free printable templates and activities you can use in your classroom immediately!
Simply click the image below to get your FREE copy.
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