Developing Social Emotional Lessons: A Quick Guide

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Back to { Social Emotional Learning in the Secondary Classroom } { Unit 4: Creating Social Emotional Activities in the Classroom }

Step 1: Have a short "Do Now" that makes students really think.

  • Begin with a quote like this one, "When you are going down a curvy, dark, and foggy road, do not focus on the fog; always focus on the road."
  • Have students write either an Agree/Disagree and Why? response to the quote, or have students explain the quote.
  • There are some great quotes on this Quote of the Day website.

Step 2: Discuss a concept that will help give the lesson a specific focus.

  • In the case of the lesson for this unit's learning activity, two concepts were chosen to guide the lesson.
  • The terms Sympathy and Empathy are common topics in Social Emotional learning, and could jumpstart some interesting conversations.
  • If you are looking for SEL concepts to inspire your lessons, look here for assistance.

Step 3: Base your lesson on your students' interests

  • Perform a student interest survey to figure out what topics are important to students. Here are some suggestions to help you develop a student interest survey of your own.
  • Use popular movies, music, or celebrities to help shape your lessons. Take a look at the Billboard Top 100 charts to help you figure out what your students are potentially listening to.
  • Ask your students insightful questions to spark a discussion. Try to formulate questions that start with "Why," "What is the value of..." and "How," in order to inspire students to speak their mind.

Note: Sometimes, students may not feel like speaking about certain topics. Often, you will need to strengthen or build your classroom's culture, to make your SEL lessons engaging. For assistance with classroom culture, try watching this resource.

Still looking for Social Emotional Learning inspiration? Try these resources: