I am lucky to have partnered with Discovery Education for this post about their new, amazing, free SEL activities. All opinions are my own.
If you’re here, it’s because you know how important social-emotional learning is. You know that there’s significant evidence that SEL positively impacts students’ academic achievement and behavior. And, you know as a grownup, that we need social emotional skills to be successful in our day-to-day lives! When Discovery Education reached out to me about their new (free!) SEL activities, I was excited to share with you all what they have. It’s a ton of resources compiled from places like the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning, Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance), Everyday Speech, and the National Institute for Mental Health.
The Coalition has resources organized into five categories:
- Instructional Resources
- Professional Learning
It’s a lot! So, I took a little dive into four of them so I could share some of what you’ll find and what I think can be super helpful.
Are you ever responsible for delivering professional development trainings to your faculty? One way to use these materials is by having faculty and staff read one of the CASEL briefings that’s on there to share how that could be applied to their grade level or students.
One way I would use these materials is to have faculty and staff choose one of the CASEL briefings and discuss with their group how it applies to their grade level or students.
Some of the resources on here are like complete mini-trainings themselves, with videos and PDFs embedded in all around topics like trauma.
Side note: There’s also some things here that you can share with parents, like this Children and Mental Health guide.
This category is another place where you can find resources to share with families, including some activities related to body image from their Amazing Me program with the Dove Self-Esteem Project. There are also many lesson plans covering all five of CASEL’s core competencies, like this one for primary grades on self-awareness, plus other standards aligned SEL resources.
There’s also a section on instructional strategies that promote SEL. The idea here is that not only can we teach social emotional skills, but there’s also strategies we can use when teaching anything that promotes social emotional learning. “Conga line” is one of the strategies they include, as well as “Four Corners” (which is a personal favorite of mine).
K-2nd and 3rd-5th
This section is where you can find short videos and PDF printable activities designed specifically for students. It’s organized into Self-Awareness and Self-Care, Social Awareness and Responsibility, Confidence Building, Stress Management, and Mindfulness (with some natural overlap). I see a lot of these being helpful as hooks for your lessons, things to incorporate into morning meetings, or a way to fill the last few minutes of a lesson that went a bit quicker than planned.
Some of my favorites:
- What is Happiness? Video
- What Are We Good At? Video
- Got Empathy? Do Something. Video
- Recognize Negative Self-Talk Activity
There’s also a set of videos and companion guides of professional athletes talking about how they manage their stress which I imagine lots of our sports-focused students would be engaged with.
The internet is full of lots of free resources that counselors and teachers can use for SEL – what’s super helpful about the Social Emotional Learning Coalition Social-Emotional Learning Center from Discovery Education is that so many are compiled in one place, so there’s less searching and scrolling when you need a no-cost activity or tool. Take a look around and let me know which resources you discovered that would be helpful with your students!