If you aren’t doing Social Emotional Learning activities in Elementary, you should be! Social-emotional learning is a key part of teaching nowadays, but it is also something that we don’t get a ton of education about when starting to become a teacher! Today, I am going to share some ways to incorporate SEL into your daily routine simply and with low prep. These Social Emotional Learning activities in elementary will help your students grow as humans, create a classroom community, and engage students!
What is Social Emotional Learning?
Social-emotional learning is an educational method that aims to foster social and emotional skills within the school day. SEL is a way to make sure kids are learning academics, but also social and emotional skills. This is needed now more than ever before as kids are dealing with more complex issues.
Morning Meeting for A Social Emotional Learning Activity in Elementary
This Social Emotional Activity for elementary is the easiest and most impactful way to add social emotional learning to each day. Start your day with a quick morning meeting. During this time you can build relationships and start the day off in a positive way.
What does a morning meeting look like?
- Greeting- a fun and different way to make sure each child gets a “good morning” each day
- Activity- a team-building activity that is fun and engaging, making kids laugh in the first few minutes of the day
- Discussion Question- this is where you get to learn more about students, but also a place where you can discuss large issues that relate to social and emotional skills
Want to read more about morning meetings and grab a free week? Head here!
Reading aloud is the easiest way to show students how to handle social and emotional issues. Reading aloud is the best Social Emotional Learning activity in elementary! There are so many fantastic read-alouds out there, both picture books and chapter books, that will help lead you in a discussion about SEL issues. The best part? You can also hit reading standards too.
Talk Time in the Morning
One of the biggest things that kids need in the SEL realm is a chance to talk. Honestly, they just need kids and adults that pay attention to them and give them time to chat. In the morning, walk around and talk to the kids. Take 10 minutes while students are doing their morning activities to just chat about their previous night or weekend, ask questions, and get to know them. This simple 10 minutes goes further than you can ever imagine.
Make sure you are also providing time for the kids to talk to each other in a laid-back fashion.
Doing morning tubs in the morning is a great way to get both of these tasks accomplished. Don’t know what morning tubs are? Read about them here!
Do you ever have an issue in the SEL category that keeps coming up in your classroom? The best way to help students is to role play it! Give students the language to solve these emotional issues.
Kids of all ages LOVE to role play. Seriously, they love it! Allow one set of students to show the wrong way to handle a situation and then one to show the correct way. Give them words to use and show them how to properly handle many of the social and emotional issues they are facing or will face. You can do this during morning meetings or just randomly throughout the day, but it is a powerful tool that takes 5 minutes to do!
Journal Writing for a Quick Social Emotional Learning Activity in Elementary
We spend so much time and energy thinking about how to teach writing, but do we ever just let our kids write? Not a personal narrative, not an essay, just write! Journal writing is such a powerful SEL tool because journaling is something that can help them throughout their entire lives.
You can add this into your day in many different ways, here are some ideas!
- Instead of teaching writing on Fridays, host a journal Friday where students get 20 minutes to write about anything and everything they want.
- Replace morning work with journaling without prompts.
- Teach students how to journal and write what they feel or think by writing with them and sharing your writing.
- If students get done early, let them journal!
Teaching Group Work is a Social Emotional Learning Activity in Elementary
We often want kids to work together on projects, but did we take the time to truly teach them how to? This is where role-playing can come in handy! Role play how to deal with common situations that happen in group work. Discuss how to each pick a role that they are good at. Show them how to discuss disputes in the group.
After each group work activity, discuss what they did well and what could be improved for next time.
Why is this SEL? Because for the rest of their lives they will have to work in groups. Teaching them the language and the behavior needed to do this successfully is important.
Word of the Week
This is my FAVORITE SEL activity. Each week you teach students a new word that is related to SEL learning. This word can be emotions, vocabulary needed for social-emotional issues, and more.
I love to pick a word for the week and spend about 3 minutes each day discussing the word. Here’s how it looks…
- Monday- Define the word
- Tuesday- Create examples where you would see the word in your life
- Wednesday- Draw pictures or create an art piece around the word
- Thursday- Do a game/role play activity with the word
- Friday- Journal prompt using the word
These simple activities can give students language and understanding of many complex words and feelings that they will face in the outside world (plus, you can just add it to your vocab list, so you are integrating).
Read more ideas about word of the week here!
My hope for you is that you pick one of the above items and add them to your daily routine. Just one simple change can make a world of difference in students learning and growth in social-emotional learning topics!