Free SEL Activities Guide to Build Community in Class


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a crucial aspect of education that focuses on the development of students’ emotional intelligence, sense of community, and interpersonal skills. Building a strong community within the classroom not only promotes a positive learning environment but also leads to increased academic success. This article presents a free guide of SEL activities to help educators foster an engaging, supportive, and connected classroom community.

The Importance of SEL and Community Building in Class

Integrating SEL strategies into lesson plans allows learners to develop essential life skills such as empathy, self-awareness, decision-making, problem-solving, and healthy communication techniques. These capabilities are significant contributors to personal growth and positive relationships with others. Creating an inclusive atmosphere empowers students from diverse backgrounds to collaborate effectively, appreciate different perspectives, and understand the value of respect and kindness.

Free SEL Activities for Building Community in Class

1. Sharing Circles: Organize weekly sharing circles where students form a circle and take turns discussing a topic or responding to a prompt for a few minutes each. This activity fosters active listening, empathy, and authentic expression while giving every student the opportunity to be heard.

2. Gratitude Practice: Encourage students to share what they are grateful for at the beginning or end of each class. Gratitude practice strengthens bonds among classmates by acknowledging positive experiences and expressing appreciation for one another.

3. Team-building Games: Conduct team-building games that require collaboration and cooperation within small groups. These activities can include puzzle-solving, charades or even physical exercises that involve teamwork. Such activities promote trust-building among peers.

4.Classroom Agreements: Collaboratively develop classroom agreements with your students at the start of the school year. Work together to establish guidelines around communication, respect, behaviour, accountability, and handling conflict in class. Let everyone present their ideas and finalize the agreements together so that everyone feels heard.

5. Discuss Inspirational Stories: Share and discuss stories of individuals who have triumphed over adversity, shown kindness, or achieved significant accomplishments. Teach students to analyze the characters’ actions, emotions and motivations, exploring what they can learn from their experiences.

6. Encourage Group Work: Assign group projects to foster collaboration, negotiation, and communication skills among peers. Allowing students to share ideas and work together nurtures a sense of belonging and trust in class.

7. Cultivate a Safe Space: Ensure that your classroom is a safe space where every student feels comfortable expressing their feelings, opinions, or concerns without fear of criticism. Establish norms around respectful communication, kindness and empathy.


Incorporating SEL activities into your teaching practices equips students with essential skills for their academic and personal journeys. By building a strong community in class through these free SEL activities, educators can enhance students’ emotional intelligence, interpersonal relationships, and overall well-being. As you strive to create an inclusive and supportive classroom environment, you are fostering lifelong learners who will be better equipped for success both inside and outside the classroom.

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