Teaching with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Awareness


Social and emotional learning (SEL) is “the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success” (Committee for Children). Research shows that SEL can lead to increased academic achievement, improved behavior, and a host of other benefits. Therefore, by bringing SEL awareness to the classroom, educators are helping students better prepare for their future. With social and emotional skills, students will be able to cope better during difficult times.


There are many digital resources available for educators who are considering teaching with social and emotional learning (SEL) awareness in their classroom. Helping your students build social and emotional skills may seem like a daunting task, but the resources below will help you to start this new journey!

Lesson Plans

  1. 21 Simple Ways to Integrate Social-Emotional Learning Throughout the Day: We Are Teachers has put together a list of ways to integrate social-emotional learning throughout the school-day. Suggestions include starting the day with a check-in, using story time for teachable moments, working in partnerships, teaching kids how to work in a group, nurturing a culture of kindness, and more. Under each suggestion is an explanation of how educators should go about integrating these practices into their class curriculums. Take a look through this list and find some suggestions that you would be interested in trying in your classroom!
  2. 13 Powerful SEL Activities: edutopia provides educators with thirteen different SEL activities which will help students build social and emotional skills. Students will be able to practice mindfulness, name the emotion they’re bringing to class, have a class discussion on a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, write a poem from someone else’s perspective, and more. These activities will allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in a more creative and fun way.
  3. Lessons on Social-Emotional Learning With ELA: Scholastic provides educators with a handful of different SEL lessons, which will help students reflect on emotions, build emotional vocabulary with feelings words, build empathy through perspective-taking, identify and manage emotions, strategize and act with empathy, use positive self-talk personal affirmations, etc. Each lesson will give students the opportunity to understand their emotions and build empathy for others while educators try to create a supportive classroom environment.


  1. Teaching Social and Emotional Skills All Day: This article advises educators on how to infuse social and emotional skills throughout the day. Tatter recommends that educators be intentional, create a warm class culture, focus on relationships, make discipline more inclusive, broaden the definition of student success, and advocate for change on the school and system level. Taking a look at this piece will help you embed social-emotional learning into your daily classroom routine!
  2. Self-Awareness in the Classroom: Teaching Tolerance has published an article on self-awareness in the classroom. In this piece, an educator explains how she helps her students develop self-awareness, which is one of the five core competencies of SEL. She says that because we differentiate our lesson plans to fit the needs of each learner, we should do the same when we are teaching social emotional skills. Not only does this educator describe how she developed a practice called a “take a break” station in order to help her students become more self-aware, but she also discusses how the practice has benefited kindergarten students in her classroom. Educators will be able to learn a lot from this teacher and her method of giving students the space they need while keeping them engaged in school!
  3. Why Social and Emotional Learning Is Essential for Students: edutopia provides an article explaining why social and emotional learning is essential for students. Included in this piece are the five keys to successful SEL, the short-term and long-term benefits of SEL, tips on how to build SEL skills in the classroom, recommendations on how schools can support SEL, and an explanation on how family and community partnerships can strengthen the impact of SEL.

Informational Sites

  1. Teaching Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the Classroom: Here, educators and students will be able to find some basic information on social and emotional learning, including the five key skills of SEL, the effects of SEL beyond the classroom, and how educators should go about bringing SEL into the classroom. For educators who want their students to have an understanding of what social and emotional learning before building the necessary skills, check this site out!
  2. What is Social Emotional Learning?: Aperture Education provides information on social emotional learning. Educators will learn the statistics on SEL and its benefits along with the reasons why schools should assess social emotional skills. Aperture Education’s DESSA System offers educators many useful resources that will come in handy when trying to implement SEL into the classroom!


Teaching with SEL awareness in your classroom won’t be a breeze, but it is a very important task for the wellbeing of your students. The resources above will help you to integrate SEL smoothly into your class curriculum! When they graduate from high school, your students may not remember how to do long division by hand or the name of the 32nd President of the United States, but ideally, they will have the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making which will help them thrive in all future endeavors.

Additional Resources

  1. Integrating SEL in the Classroom: edutopia has published an article advising educators on how to best integrate SEL into their classrooms. According to the author, there are three steps: review, reflection, recognition. First, educators should give their students the opportunity to reconnect to the lesson’s learning targets before reflecting on how SEL skills play a role in their learning. Lastly, educators should have their students recognize each other, specifically the SEL skills everyone is demonstrating. This article will prove to be a great source when you are figuring out how to bring SEL to your classroom!
  2. Teachers Share What SEL Actually Looks Like in Today’s Connected Classroom: Education dive provides educators with some information from teachers on what SEL actually looks like in modern-day classrooms. Overall, it seems as if teachers are on board with social and emotional learning and see its benefits but wish their schools were doing more and more training and support was available.