How to Provide Tier 1 Instruction for Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom

If you are a teacher or counselor providing “SEL”, or Social-Emotional Learning, to audiences of 10 or more children at a time, then you have quite an interesting challenge ahead of you this school year. Providing SEL is so important these days, as students have been significantly impacted by the past few years of additional stress, isolation, and trauma that are a consequence of the pandemic. So, I’d like to start this article by saying, “THANNK YOU!” Yes, thank you for caring about the mental health of your students, even if directed by your district, because you are reading this and making an effort to make a difference in their lives.

If you are reading this article, however, I suspect it is because you were tasked with providing SEL, but not given much guidance, curriculum, materials, or tools. I also work in education as a school psychologist, so I am very familiar with this issue unfortunately! It’s the… do this additional new magical support, but squeeze it into your already jam-packed schedule and try to do it with little to no money given to your efforts. Education can be so fulfilling, but so stressful all at once!

Here’s My Resources for Making SEL a Breeze for You and Your Students All School Year

SEL 3-5 Book

I’ve created two grade-based SEL programs (Tk-2nd & 3-5) that are super easy to provide and are a great value, as they are enough activities to average between 15-45 minutes per week of SEL in your classroom. In my programs, I use videos on SEL Topics (YouTube links to mine and other great videos), and include tons of my games, restorative circle prompts, worksheet activities, and other engaging activities for the classroom from my store.

The packet essentially organizes each month by topic and has a collection of 6-8 videos for you to show. It also has corresponding activities to each monthly topic. The majority of the activities in each packet are for whole group instruction and practice. However, there are also some games included for small group rotation times in your classroom. Below is the index page with topics indicated for you to see. These topics include a focus on social skills, emotional regulation, and behavior, as improvements in these areas will help with both individual learning and classroom management. Yes, SEL is a great way to support students and whole classrooms with behavioral issues!

A Quick Overview of the Types of Activities Included

Daily Emotions Check-In

Emotions Check-In

In the Tk-2nd grade packet you will find an Emotions Check-In. This Check-In system is an easy way to help students learn to pause and identify their own feelings during the school day. Check-Ins are generally used in the morning, but can be used at any time in the day when you want students to practice self-reflection. Emotional Check-ins are a great tool and can really help incorporate SEL into your class’ daily routine.

Emotions Check-In

Check-ins are also a helpful tool for teachers because it is a non-verbal way for children to communicate when they might be feeling sad, tired, or grumpy by moving their name or clip to the emotion they are feeling. This way, their teacher can know to have a personal check-in discussion with them to help the student. As teachers, you are the first line of identification for mental health or family issues because you see your students daily. If there is a bigger concern or need for intervention beyond SEL, you are the person to likely make that referral.

SEL with Weekly Restorative Circles

Restorative Circles

These Restorative Circles activity cards are in both the Tk-2nd and 3-5th grade packets. Circles are a way for students to regularly interact with one another in a way that is respectful, supportive, and fosters a sense of community within a classroom. Circles can be used to build rapport amongst your students, teach them turn taking and listening skills, and help them to learn conflict resolution skills when there are incidents that can be addressed within the circle.

This is when the SEL Circle becomes the restorative Circle, as students learn to restore balance, fairness, and relationships when issues can be addressed as a class. Circles can address incidents of bullying, disputes between peers, and with making class choices.

Worksheets

Worksheets are an easy activity to do in combination with a related video. For example, this worksheet should be assigned during the month of February, and pairs well with one or more of the videos included for instruction that month.

Coping Skills Worksheet
Learning About Emotions Sesame Street

Social Emotional Learning GAMES!!!

Coping Skills Game

Games are another great way to support your students with their Social and Emotional Learning. Some games, such as Anger BINGO can be done whole class. Most games, however, are best done in a small group setting and can be incorporated during small group rotations. SEL games aren’t just regular old Candy Land. They are games that are designed to teach SEL skills, provide practice of skills, and/or facilitate discussion of a topic.

Social Stories can be great for individual students with SEL needs

Social Story

The goal of this social story to share information in a way that makes sense to children in order to help them understand their own experiences. Stories are often is in first person, which encourages the development of empathy and understanding of how their behaviors make others (teacher included) feel.

Social stories can be for students who have specific issues or concerns, but some may also work for the whole class. Some stories that are available in my TpT store address SEL areas, such as controlling anger, personal space, making friends, and sharing. They are all coloring books, so they can be a fun and easy activity that can be personalized for each individual student that is struggling in a specific area of social skills or behavior.

Where to Start

Social-Emotional Learning does not have to be some rigid program. It is about giving children information and providing opportunities for growth and practice throughout the school year. With the variety of activities provided in either the Tk-2nd or 3-5th grade SEL Made Easy Packets, you will have plenty of activities to chose from. You can do some, or all. You can move around the month order as well, based on your needs. The months are just recommended and provide you with some structure, but I’m a big believer in flexibility when it comes to mental health. Provide first what your students need to be successful, and the rest is just gravy.

If you’d like to check out more of my SEL and Counseling books, social stories, and games, please visit my Teachers pay Teachers store, Counseling Fanny Pack of Fun! Just search the type of activity or SEL topic and hopefully I will have something for you at a great price. Most of my individual products are under $5 and there are new products every week…or month, depending on my hectic school psych schedule.

If you are a teacher or counselor providing “SEL”, or Social-Emotional Learning, to audiences of 10 or more children at a time, then you have quite an interesting challenge ahead of you this school year. Providing SEL is so important these days, as students have been significantly impacted by the past few years of additional…

If you are a teacher or counselor providing “SEL”, or Social-Emotional Learning, to audiences of 10 or more children at a time, then you have quite an interesting challenge ahead of you this school year. Providing SEL is so important these days, as students have been significantly impacted by the past few years of additional…