Finding ways to incorporate Social and Emotional Learning into the classroom is important, but it can be challenging. I personally find it meaningful to cover SEL topics through a literacy task.
SEL teaches students to recognize and manage emotions, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. As educators, we should prioritize SEL instruction to help build healthy habits and practices and support our students’ overall well-being.
SEL During Morning Meetings
Students should feel comfortable and secure discussing their emotions. Creating a class routine and carving out time dedicated to talking about feelings can be an effective practice. Many teachers choose to hold “morning meetings” with their classes. Using the first 15-20 minutes of each day to interact and engage in open discussion with your students can help to build psychological safety and trust.
Morning meetings can be an effective way to prompt discussion of “big feelings” amongst students in your classroom. Within this meeting time, you can encourage students to share thoughts and feelings and set intentions for the day. The “safe space” established through morning meeting allows students to build relationships with other students, practice active listening, build a sense of empathy, and self-regulate.
SEL During the Literacy Block
Sometimes, finding the time for morning meetings can be tricky! An alternative approach is to incorporate SEL topics and conversations into your reading or literacy block.
This can be done through comprehension or close reading. Using comprehension passages that allow students to explore themes related to emotions, relationships, and decision-making can elicit discussion that provides students with an opportunity to reflect on and connect to their own experiences and lives. Students can express and relate to complex emotions as they connect to characters and their actions within a text. Using text evidence to analyze feelings, body language, and tone can create opportunities for discussions that incorporate both SEL and literacy skills.
SEL Literacy Comprehension Passages
We have developed a set of 18 Social + Emotional Learning Close Reading Passages that will allow you to integrate SEL into your literacy block! Each passage depicts a scene with characters experiencing complex emotions. They are perfect for guiding students through discussions that connect to “big feelings” while empathizing. They are also covering a variety of literacy skills such as:
- using text evidence to answer comprehension questions about the passage
- analyzing character emotions and body language
- analyzing character motives and consequences
Whether you choose to approach SEL through morning meetings or your literacy block, prioritizing SEL is crucial in helping our students develop skills that will help them to be successful academically and socially. Hopefully, these tips and resources have been helpful to you!
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