It is challenging for teachers to show students the best way to express their feelings and emotions. After the pandemic, it has become even harder to improve social skills among students. Therefore, social-emotional learning activities (SEL) are more critical now than ever.
SEL helps children and adults develop self-awareness and knowledge to express their emotions better. This learning method teaches students how to deal with different social situations and build a growth mindset.
Let’s learn about social-emotional learning activities and their benefits in detail.
What is Social-Emotional Learning?
Social-emotional learning helps students build social skills and relationships with their peers, teachers, and others. SEL teaches students and adults how to manage their emotions in unfavorable situations.
Through SEL, students learn to show empathy toward others and preserve their social relationships. Since students develop most of their relationships in schools; thus, teachers need to include SEL activities in their classrooms.
Social-emotional learning activities can stimulate students’ emotional senses and improve their academic skills. SEL activities revolve around five core elements:
SEL activities help students recognize their emotions and thoughts. They allow students to understand how their behavior will impact others and what they can do to control their emotions.
This segment focuses on controlling thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Students learn to set up rules and manage stress.
3. Social awareness
It is all about understanding the perspectives of other people. Learn to show empathy, support family, and connect with the community.
4. Relationship skills
It is essential to teach children how to build and manage relationships at a young age. SEL covers several relationship-building skills such as communication, cooperation, helping others, and more.
5. Responsible decision-making
SEL broadens students’ understanding and emotional spectrum so they can make responsible decisions in their lives.
Why Is Social-Emotional Learning Important Today?
Integrating SEL curriculum in your classroom can benefit your students in many ways, such as:
1. Improves Class Environment
SEL helps teachers to create a safe and positive environment in classrooms. A healthy classroom environment improves academic productivity and efficiency among students.
2. Boosts Motivation
Social-emotional learning activities make kids feel good about themselves. They will learn to accept their emotions, take risks and work hard to achieve their goals. In short, SEL motivates students to learn and perform better in class.
3. Cognitive Skill Development
Students need logical and problem-solving skills to achieve excellence in their lives. With SEL, they learn to control their emotions in the worst situations and solve problems using a calm mindset. Social-emotional learning helps students and adults solve problems with logic while controlling their emotions.
4. Controls Behavior Problems
When children know how to control their emotions and solve problems, they will feel less agitated. This, as a result, will reduce behavior problems among them. You have to deal with fewer tantrums in your class, thanks to SEL.
5. Improves Mental Health
Social-emotional learning activities will create a perfect platform to discuss mental health issues in your classroom. Students can better express their emotions, thoughts, and opinions when they get a creative outlay like SEL.
6. Encourages Empathy
Empathy is an essential foundation to build a strong tower of social skills. However, often children and adults don’t know how to show empathy toward others and how it is different from sympathy. Therefore, introducing SEL in your class curriculum will help you nurture empathy among your students and build a slightly better world.
How to Plan Social Emotional Learning Activities for Your Class?
Today, teachers have a wide range of social-emotional learning activities to select from and introduce them in their classrooms. But, you can get better leverage SEL activities if you consider the following factors while creating SEL strategies:
1. Observe Your Students
To figure out what social skills your students need, you first observe them. You have to conduct one-on-one interactions with your students to know how they feel. You need to understand their relationship with other students, what experiences they wish to change at home, and more.
Many students are not great with direct talks. They often feel shy to share their emotions with teachers. Therefore, you have to observe your students from the side and pick small cues like their mood, facial expressions, and performance to understand their mental state.
Once you know your students’ social struggles, you can better pick classroom social-emotional learning activities to help them.
2. Nurture Supportive Environment
Create a supportive environment in your classroom where everyone respects each other. This will give your students the courage to express themselves freely. They can better share their thoughts and feelings with teachers and classmates.
3. Share Your Story
You have to lead if you want your students to open up and talk about their feelings. You have to share your emotional struggles and traumas so your students can also get the courage to speak.
4. Motivate Discussions
Team discussions can build a positive environment to harness SEL. For example, make your class sit in a circle and give them a social topic to discuss. Meanwhile, you should play the role of observer and monitor points presented by each student.
5. Let Them Practice
Students will learn emotions better when they know how to implement them in real life. For instance, suppose you are teaching empathy in your classroom. In that case, pair students in groups of two and ask them to show compassion towards each other an entire day.
12 Interesting Social-Emotional Learning Activities
Here are a few engaging social-emotional learning activities that you can implement in your classroom:
Social Emotional Learning Activities for Preschoolers
1. Opening and Closing Notes
Start your day on a positive note and ask your students how they feel today. Similarly, at the end of the day, ask students what they learned today, do they need any help, etc.
2. Write Down Affirmations
To teach your preschoolers kindness, request them to write a kind message to their classmates, parents, and teachers.
3. Show and Tell
Young minds learn better when they see. So, ask your students to bring any item to the class representing their culture. This way, students can learn how they all are the same yet diverse.
Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Elementary Schoolers
4. Positive Self-talk
Ask your students to say one positive thing about themselves to stimulate self-awareness. For example, “I have completed my homework on time” or “I helped my mother clean dishes.”
5. Group Debates
You can divide your class into groups and give them a social topic to teach right and wrong emotions. Ask one group to list down all the right things to do in a situation and another to mention all the wrong things.
6. Hobby Bingo
This is a relationship-building SEL activity. Ask students to write their hobbies on different cue cards and raise them one after another to find classmates who have the same hobbies.
Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Middle Schoolers
7. Journal Writing
The best way to make middle schoolers understand their emotions is to give them pen and paper to journalize their thoughts.
8. Analyze Quotes
Give a new quote to your class every day and ask them to think about the speaker’s emotions to stimulate critical thinking.
9. Organize a Party
Let your students blow off some steam and organize a class party. This social activity teaches students to work as a team and socialize in a celebratory environment.
Social-Emotional Learning Activities for High Schoolers
Meditation is a perfect SEL activity for raging teenagers to relax and connect with a community. It is a non-traditional social activity for the social media generation.
11. Talk with Strangers
Talking to strangers helps students learn new opinions, cultures, and perspectives. So, ask your class to at least talk with a stranger every day.
12. Artistic Expression
Let your students be artists for the day and express their emotions through art. Since every art has its own emotions and expressions, ask students to use different art forms to show their feelings like sketching, painting, cooking, etc.
Let’s Embrace Social-Emotional Learning Today!
Social-emotional learning is vital for modern students and teachers to create a positive learning environment in the classroom. When students know their emotions and understand how to control them, they can become better learners and citizens.
We have already shared the best social-emotional learning activities for different classrooms. So, let’s not wait anymore and make your student a stable, passionate person today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are common social-emotional learning examples?
Social-emotional learning examples are everywhere around you, for instance:
- Showing affection to your parents or siblings.
- Aware of your own feelings like sad, happy, angry, etc.
- Demonstrating self-control.
- Managing your emotions.
- Paying attention to other people’s needs.
- Forming healthy friendships.
- Expressing feelings through words.
What are social activities?
Social activities are those activities that allow a person to communicate or interact with other people. Regularly, we perform several social activities in our lives, such as talking to friends, sharing meals, discussing the latest news and trends.
How do you develop social skills through social emotional learning activities?
One can develop social skills through small activities such as celebrating events with neighbors, sharing thoughts with friends, helping someone cross the road, etc.