50 SEL Prompts for Middle and High School Students

Students don’t always trust their teachers, especially teenagers. There is an unseen barrier between the two, and you must understand that you need to earn their trust. That, however, doesn’t mean you should give up after one try. A good student-teacher relationship in the class can ensure a student succeeds in their education.

SEL (socio-emotional learning) prompts could get the student to think about themselves in a different light. If you can get through to a student, they can become more open to sharing their thoughts with you and others. So, how can you share SEL prompts with your students, and what prompts could you use?

How to Use SEL Prompts in the Classroom?

  • The Card Trick

Split the class into several small groups and write down suggestions on a pack of cards. Students pick one card, and they share and reflect on their thoughts with the group. The idea is to spark a discussion. 

  • Use an Online Form to Get Anonymous Student Responses

It’s difficult to get students to open up, even with the SEL prompts. So, instead of forcing them to discuss their feelings in front of the entire class, opt for a virtual alternative. For instance, create an online form and let the students complete their responses anonymously. It’s a great starting point and could help many students express their feelings in a healthy outlet. 

  • One-on-One Time 

Put aside 5-10 minutes for each student and get them to choose a card. Let them discuss their emotions without any consequence. It can be a useful way to connect to the student and connect with the child. 

  • A Class Lesson

Pair up students and get each to pick a card. Give them 5 minutes each to discuss their feelings; this teaches students how to appreciate and empathize with their classmates. It’s an important lesson for students to learn as they’ll use it throughout their life. 

Top 50 SEL Prompts

  1. When you get frustrated, how do you react?
  2. What is the first thing you do when you don’t know how to complete a homework assignment?
  3. What 5 phrases would describe you?
  4. What do you feel challenges you at home?
  5. What challenges you the most at school?
  6. If you were to become a celebrity, what would you be famous for?
  7. Which school year did you like best?
  8. What school assignment was the toughest for you and why?
  9. Think about a good friend you like. What makes them a good friend?
  10. When you hurt yourself, how did it make you feel?
  11. How did your favorite teacher make a difference in your life?
  12. What do you fear the most?
  13. Where is the one place you can express yourself without any barriers?
  14. If you could travel back in time, what would you tell yourself?
  15. If you were king or queen for a day, what three rules would you impose?
  16. Do you have restless nights or sleep soundly?
  17. What do you do if you fail a math test?
  18. What school rules would you create if you were principal and why?
  19. Which superpowers would you most like?
  20. Where do you like to spend most of your time and why?
  21. What is your typical morning routine like during school days?
  22. How do you spend your weekends?
  23. Do you feel close to a parent or guardian?
  24. Are you close to siblings or a close family relative?
  25. Where do you like to go to study?
  26. How do you prepare for a test?
  27. What do you do when you get a disappointing grade at school?
  28. What do you see yourself doing after high school?
  29. How do you shut out negative thoughts?
  30. What career or job interests you the most?
  31. Why do you use social media?
  32. When do you feel at your most creative?
  33. Who influences or inspires you in life?
  34. Who would you most like to be in three years?
  35. Are you a risk-taker or take a more cautious approach to life?
  36. What are your biggest fears in life, and why do you fear them?
  37. What makes you happy outside of school?
  38. Do you feel safe or happy at school?
  39. What trait bothers you the most about yourself?
  40. What qualities do you look for in a friend and why?
  41. Who would you trade places with if you could be that person for a day?
  42. You don’t hand your homework assignments in on time; what’s the reason for it?
  43. Do you feel safest at home or school?
  44. Your three closest friends aren’t speaking anymore; what do you do to help the situation improve?
  45. To consider yourself an adult, what age would you have to be?
  46. What three things would you take to a desert island and why?
  47. Do you prefer vacations close to home or overseas?
  48. Name your favorite movie and the top three reasons why you like it so much?
  49. Have you ever witnessed a bully, and how does it make you feel?
  50. If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, what would your chosen destination be and why?
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