The concept of social emotional learning has been around for decades, but in recent years it has become even more widely embraced as curriculum planners recognize the need to address mental health. Since 70% of mental health issues emerge in childhood and adolescence, providing students with the skills to promote positive mental health is critical. Evidence shows that social emotional learning activities can boost academic performance and improve students’ overall wellbeing. That’s why provinces like Ontario are adding sections focused specifically on social emotional learning to their updated curriculum. Luckily, there are innovative new social emotional learning tools and apps that make it easy for educators to equip students with these important skills. Make learning even more fun with school giveaways.
What is social emotional learning?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a U.S.-based advocacy group focused on promoting social and emotional learning. CASEL defines social emotional learning as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
According to CASEL, social emotional learning activities can help students achieve the following five core competencies:
- Self-management, including the ability to regulate emotions
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
- Responsible decision-making
Put students in the driver’s seat
Aside from traditional social emotional learning exercises, there is a wealth of innovative new tools and apps emerging that can make it more fun than ever to integrate these lessons into students’ lives—both in and out of the classroom.
Apps like SuperBetter® and SmilingMind put exercises directly into students’ hands. SuperBetter takes a game-based approach toward encouraging students to meet goals like being more active or managing anxiety, while SmilingMind teaches mindfulness with guided meditations customized for different age groups.
Encourage students to use these apps (either on classroom tablets or on their own devices) by offering school giveaways for completing tasks on the apps. A Fidget Fun Block or an Eat Right, Eat Healthy Colouring Book would be a smart, fun choice.
Make it fun
Social emotional learning activities can become students’ favourite part of the week with fun educational classroom games, like Classcraft®. It takes a gamification approach that rewards positive behaviours, such as cooperation and communication, which contribute to a better classroom environment.
If you want to reinforce the game’s rewards system with your own “real-world” prizes, offer students giveaways, like a Pen-Buddy Notebookor a Bean Bag Buddy, when they earn specific achievements in the game.
These innovative social emotional learning activities make it easy to weave critical soft skills into students’ lives—in and out of the classroom. Have fun!