How to Incorporate Social Emotional Learning in your Classroom

By Abby Phillips
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How to Incorporate Social Emotional Learning in Your Classroom

by Abby Phillips

According to the The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Here are ways to incorporate Social Emotional Learning in your classroom:


The ability to regulate your emotions and behaviors in different situations and to set and work toward goals. 

How to use this in the classroom: 

  • Set achievable goals for students in the classroom. This can vary from “Read silently for 15 minutes a day” to making sure you have proper supplies each day. 

  • Create daily checklists for students to mark off completed tasks and expectations. 

  • Use Management Report Cards to let students know where their behavior can improve while holding them accountable for their actions.



Understanding your emotions and thoughts and how they influence your behavior.

How to use this in the classroom: 

  • Have students journal their feelings and emotions in a notebook. They can share their entries with others or keep it between the two of you.

  • Practice positive affirmations at the beginning of each day to encourage students to be the best they can be!


Responsible Decision-Making

The ability to make positive choices and take responsibility for positive and negative outcomes.

How to use this in the classroom: 

  • Create a classroom contract with your students that outlines classroom expectations. Allow students to be active in creating the contract and have each sign it.  

  • Have students run for and choose a Class Council to speak on behalf of the classroom to bring any questions or concerns to the teacher or the school.


Relationship Skills

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and meaningful relationships with others.

How to use this in the classroom: 

  • “Learn About a Friend” activities encourages students to get to know their classmates on a deeper level. Activities like “Meet New Friends Bingo” and other fun icebreakers to get students engaged with one another. 

  • Partner work with a random classmate. This will encourage students to branch out and make new friends with other students in the classroom. 


Social Awareness

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others.

How to use this in the classroom: 

  • Service projects in the school and community. Community service allows students to see the bigger image and empathize with others. 

  • Listening Circles give students the opportunity to share with you and their fellow classmates how they are feeling in a group setting. Incorporate the “highs and lows” game and encourage students to share their highs and lows of the day or week. 


What ways do you use to incorporate SEL in your classroom? We would love to know! Comment your favorite practices to engage students with social emotional learning.