Your guide to Social-Emotional Learning resources to help you teach SEL with ease! Find book recommendations, tools, and resources to help you support your students’ social and emotional development in the elementary classroom.
Social-Emotional Learning Resources for Teachers and Counselors
As teachers, we spend a lot of time working on strategies for teaching students about important academic topics that are required to succeed. We teach them reading, math, science, and social studies skills. And we are continually learning about strategies that are effective and considered “best practice” and incorporating them into our school day.
However, if we focus ONLY on the important academic subjects, we may be missing a crucial part of a well-rounded education: the social and emotional development of our students.
In fact, without healthy social-emotional skills in place, academic learning would likely be ineffective.
This is why teachers, counselors, and volunteers who work daily with students are tuned into the emotional health of students and are able to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) in the curriculum.
SEL Instruction is Critical.
We can be helping build these skills. We can help students develop character traits that will help them become productive members of the community. Not only will these traits help them down the road, but they will also help create a safe, productive environment for learning at school.
We, as teachers, have the opportunity and duty to foster social and emotional skills in our students.
Fortunately, there are many quality resources available to help! These tools will make planning and teaching easier. Let’s take a look!
Books are always a wonderful way to teach SEL concepts to young children. They are relatable and provide a visual for abstract ideas.
Check out these:
- How Are You Feeling Today? by Molly Potter – This book teaches about emotions, which we all have, and then what we should do with them.
- Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Anne Miranda – A fun book about feelings. Kids will love it!
- Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis – This book helps kids to identify and explore their moods.
- Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems – A favorite book of kids, this one explores patience and self-control.
- The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee – Great for helping kids who are dealing with extreme emotions.
- What Should Danny Do? The School Day by Adir Levy – This is an interactive book that lets students help Danny make decisions! It is one in a series.
- Grumpy Dinosaur by Michael Gordon – This is a good book for teaching about anger management.
Find a great list of books that address social-emotional topics here.
Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Lessons
- Teacher Vision – Find printables, lesson plans, and discussion guides on SEL topics.
- Journals – Have students keep a feelings journal. This gives them a chance to write and reflect.
- Express Through Art – To build self-awareness, pick a piece of music or a poem to have the students listen to. Then, using art supplies, have them create something that shows how the music makes them feel. Ask, “Is this music happy or sad?” or “What colors does this music make you think of?”
- Respect Activity Pack – Get a FREE set of activities geared at teaching kids respect.
- SEL Units – Find hands-on activities and printables for each of the following subjects: Responsibility, Emotions, Self-Regulation, Growth Mindset, Kindness, Friendship, Self-Awareness, Mindfulness, Social Awareness
There are helpful websites that provide articles, activities, and resources for teaching SEL concepts. Bookmark the different topics or find creative ideas for incorporating SEL into your classroom.
- Edutopia – Get lots of resources about social-emotional learning.
- CASEL – This organization supports the teaching of SEL in schools. A good place to get information for the classroom.
- Common Sense Education – Provides an SEL educator toolkit, with many classroom-ready resources.
Printable Social-Emotional Learning Resources
Below are printable resources to use in your classroom. These activities will help you foster SEL in your classroom.
- Emotions Book Companions – Guide students through SEL activities based on 5 popular books that build emotional awareness.
- FREE Balloon Breathing Poster – Use this poster to help students learn self-regulation skills.
- Calm Classroom Tools – Create a calming space in your classroom using these recommendations. Grab the free Calm Corner Kit!
- SEL Curriculum for K-2 – Get a year’s worth of SEL lessons, including activities to print and use in your classroom.
- SEL Curriculum for 3-5 – Tons of helpful SEL lessons and printable resources for teaching older kids!
Digital Activities for Teaching SEL
In need of digital tools you can use in your 1:1 classroom or online: Try these activities to make presenting SEL topics a breeze no matter your teaching format!
- Digital SEL program for K-2 – This curriculum contains 8 units, with detailed lesson plans, activities, and more. Make sure you are covering all of your bases with this program!
- Digital SEL program for 3-5 – Same as above but for older kids.
- Morning Meeting Slides – Use the morning meeting slides to guide your classroom meetings and teach valuable skills, in-class or online!
Online Social-Emotional Learning Apps
There are apps out there that are designed to help kids learn important SEL skills. Most are free or low-cost.
Check out these links and then find more ideas here!
- GoNoodle – This app has a lot of fun, engaging videos. It includes movement and mindfulness-based videos.
- Smiling Mind – Helps kids with meditation.
Hands-On SEL Materials
There are products that can help you teach SEL to children. Use these tools to reinforce important SEL concepts.
- Emotions Jenga – Write emotions on random Jenga blocks. Each child pulls out an emotion (for example excitement). They must then define what that emotion means and what makes them feel that way.
- Gifted Learning Flashcards – These interactive flashcards help kids explore abstract concepts associated with SEL.
- Feelings Game – This board game helps kids to express their emotions and learn self-regulation.
- Emoji Stories – These cubes express emotion, build self-esteem, improve verbal communication, and develop creativity and storytelling.
Check out this list of calming tools to support your student’s self-management and social-emotional development.
Free Social-Emotional Learning Ebook
Learn 9 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 right away!
Simply click the image below to get your FREE copy.
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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!