Social Emotional Learning Activities are becoming more and more important in today’s climate of depression, and anxiety. For a full, engaging, challenging lesson on social emotional learning check out this full lesson plan: Social Emotional Learning activities-(Teachers Pay Teachers)
Social Emotional Learning Activities what is social emotional learning?
Social emotional learning activities and overview is a critical component in today’s classroom. The definition of social emotional learning is (SEL) the process through which children and adults:
1.Understand and manage emotions
2.Set and achieve positive goals
3.Feel and show empathy for others
4.Establish and maintain positive relationships
5.Make responsible decisions
The SEL social emotional learning model must include a healthy adult who works consistently to keep themselves healthy. The work for the student is half the piece of the puzzle. Casel is a social emotional learning theory. The Casel social emotional learning in the classroom focuses on three primary topics, which will be the focus for this post. The social emotional learning standards we will focus on are: guided breathing, trauma informed practices, and setting goals for both students and teachers. Research shows that positive student experiences include, community, family, and school partnerships. The social emotional standards are a requirement and our goal is to begin setting a standard for a social emotional learning classroom. Social emotional learning activities and overview are below.
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Tackling Your Fear
Teach students that we all have feelings. Emotions and feelings are an important part of life, and crucial to our survival. As people are designed to feel a wide range of emotions, some of which can be very uncomfortable for us. No one likes feeling uncomfortable. There are many different ways that we can physically be uncomfortable . We can be hot, cold, tired, in pain, hungry, sick. However our feelings are unavoidable so what do we do with them? We practice distress tolerance.
What is distress intolerance?
Distress tolerance is a perceived inability to experience uncomfortable feelings and is paired with a need to escape those uncomfortable feelings. Distress intolerance is often linked to fear of experiencing negative emotion .Think about a time when the idea of a painful experience was worse than the actual experience. Talk to students about this and have them do a social emotional learning activities such as journaling for 10 minutes.
3 types of emotions in response to distress intolerance
There are three types of emotions when it comes to responding as a distress intolerant person. Teach students what they are so they can identify themselves and learn what to do about it in the next section. Awareness goes a long way when it comes to keeping our minds healthy.
- The sad – this group includes emotions that reflect sadness at different degrees this would include feelings of disappointment, hurt, despair, guilt, shame, sadness, depression, grief, misery. This group has feelings of hopelessness, loss , and regret
- The mad – this group includes feelings that reflect anger at different degrees: irritation, agitation, frustration, disgust , jealousy, anger , rage, and hatred. This group typically has thoughts of unfairness and wrongdoing and may lash out
- The scared – this group includes feelings that reflect fear at different degrees of intensity. This would include nervousness, anxiety, dread, fear, panic, and terror. This group wants to avoid others
None of these reactions are a healthy way to respond to stress. In order to change them, we must first identify them.
Social Emotional Activities: Trauma Informed Practices
When we are distress intolerant, and tend to run from our problems, the problems get worse.
Can you think of a time you avoided an issue that made you feel uncomfortable and the problem got worse? The longer the problem continued the worse it got and the harder it was to deal with.
Let’s say there’s a small leak in your ceiling, that only drips. You don’t want to deal with it, so you ignore it and leave out a bucket. What happens when winter comes?
This is a paradox. Fear and avoidance make the problem bigger and bigger until our original fear actualizes.
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Healthy Distress Tolerance
Tally how many statements are true for you-above. If a lot of these apply to you this could mean you are having difficulty dealing with emotions. It’s ok! There are many healthy practices to try, to help you cope with negative feelings in a positive way. The social emotional learning activities and overview will guide to inform you on what you can do in your own classroom.
Respond to the questions below: What are 5 things you’re most afraid of?
2. List some major challenges you have overcome
3. Does knowing you’ve been able to get through hard times give you confidence about facing future challenges?
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Breathing Practices
Observing is bringing your mind back to the sensations of your body and mind. Observe your breath: Breathe evenly and gently, focusing your attention on:
1. The movement of your stomach.
a. As you begin to breathe in, allow your belly to rise in order to bring air into the lower half of your lungs.
b. As the upper halves of your lungs begin to fill with air, your chest begins to rise.
c. As you breathe out, notice your belly, then notice your chest. Don’t tire yourself.
2. The pauses in your breathing.
a. As you breathe in, notice the brief pause when your lungs have filled with air.
b. As you breathe out, notice the brief pause when your lungs have expelled air.
3. The sensations in your nose as you breathe in and as you breathe out.
a. as you breathe, close your mouth and breathe in through your nose, noticing the sensations traveling up and down your nostrils.
4. Your breath while walking slowly. Breathe normally.
a. Determine the length of your breath-the exhalation and the inhalation by the number of your footsteps. Continue for a few minutes.
b. Watch to see whether the inhalation also lengthens by one step or not after 20 breaths return your breathing to normal.
5. Your breath while listening to a piece of music.
a. Breathe long, light, and even breaths.
b. Follow your breath; be master of it, while remaining aware of the movement and sentiments of the music.
c. Do not get lost in the music but continue to be master of your breath and yourself.
6. Your breath while listening to a friend’s words and your own replies. Continue as with music.
Examples of Breathing Exercises For Kids
•Tape a piece of paper to the wall at eye level •Draw upward on it as you breathe in, and downward on it as you breathe out
OR… •Count in 1-2-3, and out 1-2-3-4-5-6 •When you have tense shoulders or butterflies in your stomach, rather than try to push it away, use the breathing exercises to feel better. The social emotional learning activities and overview above should provide a start for your classroom practice.
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Building Confidence Through Gratitude
- 30 seconds. Thank a loved one each day. Someone important to you- friend, sibling, your parents . It can even be a four-legged friend. Take a moment to give them a hug and acknowledge them
- One minute. Jot down three things you’re appreciative of and write them on pieces of paper that you place into a gratitude jar or box. When you feel down open your notes
- 2 minutes. Write a thank-you-note. It only takes a couple of minutes. They can inspire intense feelings of thankfulness in both you and the recipient
- 5 minutes. Keep a gratitude journal. There’s no need to write in it more than once a week . Research has found that people who wrote in gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Ways to Self-Soothe
Ideas for self-soothing through sight: pictures, art, star gazing, etc.
- Ideas for self-soothing through sound: music, nature sounds, etc.
- Ideas for self-soothing through smells fragrance: food aromas, etc.
- Ideas for self-soothing through touch: fabric, rocks, hands, pets, etc.
- Ideas for self-soothing through taste: sweet, sour, chewy foods, etc.
Trauma Informed Practices
One practice that can be used follows the acronym: IMPROVE
Imagery: Use visualization and imagery to take a break
Meaning: Identify meaning and purpose in your life
Personal: Use formal or informal inner voice to ask yourself for help or feel connected to your inner self. You are stronger than you think
Relaxation: Remember to breathe. Do things that are relaxing and enjoyable
One mindfully: Focus on just one thing at a time
Vacation: Take time for yourself. It can be a few minutes or for much longer
Encouragement: Positive self talk and support from others can be useful
Social Emotional Learning Activities: Set Goals To Address the Following Practices and Policies
Core Practices and policies:
*Facilitate community building, routines, and rituals that reduce stress, address trauma, promote healing and belonging, and prepare the brain for learning
*Demonstrate care and commitment by opening and closing lessons
*Use collaborative structures and activities in the classroom
*Use materials that are culturally responsive
*Engage students in a value affirmation activity
*Provide guided breathing and moving breaks
*Engage in trauma informed practices
If you Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do you serve? Age, grade, subject, type of school, topics of interest, lifestyle?
- How do you serve them?
- How do you want those people to feel? What colors represent this feeling? What words come with this feeling? What lessons and practices will generate this feeling?
- What kind of problems do these people struggle with? (the more specific, the better)
- What do they need help with?
- What are ways you can help them? Write all potential ideas and narrow it down to three.
When you don’t know where to start, think, what is one thing that I can do today that will propel me forward? Keep your 3 answers in mind from question 6 above while completing the task of answering the questions below.
How can I…?
1. Demonstrate care and commitment by opening and closing lessons
2. Use collaborative structures and activities in the classroom
3. Use materials that are culturally responsive
4. Engage students in a value affirmation activity
5. Provide guided breathing and moving breaks
6. Engage in trauma informed practices
Congratulations! Now that you have read social emotional learning activities and overview, you’re on your way to creating a social-emotional-learning environment for yourself and your students and making our world a better place! How do you use Social Emotional Learning in your classroom? Please share in the comments below.
Click HERE for a blog post that is about a social emotional learning environment
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