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How To Fit SEL Into Your School Day

January 10, 2023
teacher pointing at SEL material in class

By now, we all know that implementing SEL instruction into the school day is important. But, did you know that it is just as important to embed SEL teaching throughout the school day? The school environment, and most academic blocks, provide an important opportunity for students to practice and enhance their social and emotional skills. CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) encourages integrating SEL instruction throughout your school day to see the most benefit. 

While this may sound complicated, there are actually many opportunities within the school day that lend themselves to extending SEL learning and providing practice in real life scenarios. 

Practice Positive Mindsets During Academic Blocks 

Academic blocks provide opportunities for so much more than just the subject at hand. When thinking of the best places to embed SEL into academic instruction, focus not only on the content you are looking for students to master but the skills they should be able to use at the end of the lesson. 

  • Math LessonsNew math concepts provide the perfect opportunity to focus on growth mindset and problem-solving skills.
  • Science LessonsUtilize self-management strategies as students explore a hypothesis and set goals to plan and test their theories.
  • Social studies Embed social-awareness skills as students practice empathy. 
  • Language Arts – Use literature as a way to provide opportunities for discussion on perspective taking. 

Share SEL Keywords and Strategies With the Whole School  

At its core, a school is a community that functions best when everyone is on the same page. As you work through SEL lesson plans and teach your students varying social and emotional strategies, don’t forget to share and use the common language and skills with everyone in the building even outside of dedicated SEL time. Making sure that this language is woven throughout the entire school day supports students in the necessary and crucial SEL skill acquisition and application :

  • When students run into conflict during recess, educators can remind students of the problem-solving steps and/ or other keywords and concepts from SEL lessons. 
  • Place visual aids depicting SEL strategies in the cafeteria or hallways so that students are reminded of these skills while they work on their relationship skills in real time.

Build SEL Discussion and Cooperative Learning Into Your Lessons

Support students in making sense of the concepts and building meaningful connections to the SEL skills they are learning. Throughout these activities, focus on being the facilitator supporting students with reminders of helpful SEL strategies and thoughtful questions to extend their learning further:

  • Class discussions allow students the opportunity to practice and apply communication skills, understand other students’ perspectives, and be respectful of others’ thoughts and opinions. 
  • Working in groups provides similar opportunities for students to practice social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making as they work together to solve a common problem or goal. 

As you continue to weave SEL concepts and teaching throughout your school day, you will see how easy it can be and how beneficial it is in aiding your students’ growth academically and personally.

Related Blog Posts:

How do Everyday Speech Resources Support Social-Emotional Learning?

How to Teach SEL as a General Education Teacher

How to Cultivate an SEL Community at Your School


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