9 social-emotional teaching ideas to use in your classroom right now

Emotions can control people. When people can control their emotions, however, they are more satisfied with themselves. They’re happy. They’re even better learners, and that’s why you should include social-emotional teaching ideas in your classroom.

Learning how to master emotions is no easy task, especially for children. Younger children are new to recognizing and understanding their emotions. Teenagers experience their emotions in overwhelming surges.

Your students can learn techniques for improved social-emotional awareness if you’ll take the time to teach them. The benefit is that students will develop and maintain positive relationships, which results in responsible behavior.

Doing so takes skill, which you’ll need to teach. Fortunately, the strategies are inclusive. You can teach them alongside your regular lesson.

Try these social-emotional teaching ideas in your classroom:

Look for role-playing opportunities. One of the most authentic ways to teach awareness is through role-playing through literature and history. Don’t stop there, though. Look for ways to get kids talking about perceptions in other fields like math and science. For example, how might Madame Currie have felt when she was recognized as a premier scientist?

Take it outside. Recess provides an excellent opportunity to practice social-emotional skills. Assign a task kids that can do while they are playing. Ask them to notice how many other kids are sitting on the sidelines or to recognize the feeling of making a hoop in basketball. Discuss the findings when everyone returns from recess.

Use teachable moments in the classroom to show how people feel. These moments may come from the stories you read together, or they may be short anecdotes from real life. For example, if you had a flat tire on the way to work, explain how frustrated you felt and yet came to school anyway.

Incorporate emoticons and memes. Some children have a difficult time explaining what they’re feeling. A picture can be worth a thousand words.

Define classroom roles. Many teachers assign classroom helpers. Teach students what you want them to do by showing what their job looks like and what it doesn’t look like.

Create a peace place where students can take a timeout. Set aside a small area where a student can sit on comfortable furniture and listen to music to read for a bit. Keep it calm and relaxing, but include a timer that the student can set to know when to return to the group

Let your students figure it out. It’s often easier to do it yourself but to teach social-emotional learning, give your students an opportunity to figure it out before you jump in to help.

Encourage self-reflection. Part of learning how to increase social-emotional skill comes from reflection. Encourage journal writing with sentence stems and poetry prompts that get students thinking about themselves and their reactions.

Try visualization techniques with older students. Ask them to imagine themselves making an A on an assignment or remaining calm when someone disagrees with them. By visualizing their reactions to situations, the students prepare themselves to handle possibilities that induce emotional responses.

Social-emotional activities help your students become better members of the school community. Perhaps more importantly, they become better learners as well.

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