Interactive Social Emotional Learning Activities for the Classroom

Nearly 70% of educators believe student behavior problems in school have increased since COVID. Teaching social-emotional skills in the classroom can help. When you have a classroom full of students, how do you do that?

The key is to implement social-emotional learning activities that meet your students where they are. Social-emotional learning (SEL) can help teach your students the soft skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in life.

Keep reading for interactive ideas to use in your classroom.

Daily Greetings

Daily greetings provide an opportunity for students to connect and start their day on a positive note. This simple yet powerful social-emotional learning activity sets the tone for the rest of the day.

During daily greetings, students have the chance to greet one another using various methods. This allows them to practice empathy by acknowledging each other’s presence and showing respect. Greetings can be personalized based on individual preferences or cultural traditions, promoting inclusivity in the classroom.

Not only do daily greetings foster a sense of belonging among students, but they also help develop communication skills. By greeting their peers every morning, children learn how to make eye contact, use appropriate body language, and engage in respectful conversation.

Greetings also allow you to engage with your students. Studies have shown that how a teacher greets their students can impact their engagement and learning.

Emotions Check-In

Emotion check-ins create a safe space for students to express themselves and promote emotional awareness. During this interactive exercise, students are encouraged to identify and share how they are feeling at that moment.

The emotional check-in can be conducted in various ways depending on the teacher’s preference. One approach is using an emotion wheel or chart where students can point to the emotion they are experiencing. Another option is having a designated area in the classroom where students can write down their emotions on sticky notes and place them on a wall display.

Make sure you choose a method that’s developmentally appropriate for your students. For students who struggle to identify emotions, use relatable check-ins.

Regular emotional check-ins empower students with self-awareness skills while promoting a positive classroom environment centered around emotional well-being.

Gratitude List

gratitude list encourages students to reflect on and appreciate the positives in their lives, promoting empathy and a positive mindset.

To implement this activity, start by discussing gratitude with your students. You can work with them to create a journal. Take five minutes each day to have students write down what they’re grateful for.

You can also make a list on paper or your chalkboard with students.

Mindful Morning Check-In

Starting the day off on the right foot is essential for a productive and positive classroom environment. A mindful morning check-in activity can help students set their intentions, focus their minds, and cultivate a sense of calm before diving into the day’s tasks.

During this activity, students are encouraged to close their eyes, take deep breaths, and bring awareness to their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. They might be asked questions like “How do you feel today?” or “What are you grateful for?”

“What Would You Do?” Scenarios

Another interactive social-emotional learning activity that can engage students is the use of “What Would You Do?” scenarios. These hypothetical situations allow students to think critically, problem-solve, and consider the impact of their choices on themselves and others.

In these scenarios, students are presented with a dilemma or challenging situation and asked to brainstorm possible solutions or responses. For example, they might be asked how they would handle witnessing bullying or what they would do if someone was feeling lonely.

ABA Social Emotional Learning Activities and Techniques

In addition to the interactive activities mentioned above, another effective approach for promoting SEL in the classroom is through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques. ABA is a research-based methodology that focuses on understanding and modifying behavior.

By incorporating ABA principles into social-emotional learning, teachers can help students develop important skills such as:

  • Self-regulation
  • Problem-solving
  • Empathy

Here are a few ABA techniques that can be applied in the classroom:

Visual Supports

Using visual aids like schedules, charts, and task lists can help students understand expectations. It can also help them manage their emotions more effectively.

Token Systems

In token economies, students can earn rewards or privileges for displaying desired behaviors. This can foster positive reinforcement and teach self-control.

Social Stories and Structured Playtime

Creating personalized narratives that describe specific social situations helps children understand appropriate behavior management, emotions, and responses. This can help when you implement strategies like structured playtime.

During structured playtime, you can teach your students the following skills and more:

  • Turn-taking
  • Sharing
  • Listening actively
  • Resolving conflicts

End-of-the-Day Reflection

As the day comes to a close, taking a few moments for reflection can be incredibly beneficial for both students and teachers alike. This activity encourages self-awareness and helps everyone process their experiences before heading home.

During this reflection time, ask your students to think about three things they learned or accomplished throughout the day. It could be a new concept they grasped in math class, a project they completed with pride or even an act of kindness they witnessed from a classmate. By focusing on positive moments, students can build confidence and cultivate gratitude.

Additionally, encourage students to consider any challenges they face during the day. Did something frustrate them? Did they make any mistakes?

Use these reflections as opportunities for growth and learning. Discussing strategies for overcoming obstacles can help develop resilience and problem-solving skills.

Incorporating end-of-the-day reflection into your classroom routine creates space for introspection and growth. Encourage open conversations where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings from the school day. This practice supports social-emotional development and fosters connection within your classroom community.

Implement Social and Emotional Learning in Your Classroom

Teachers can create a positive and supportive environment where students feel valued and understood by incorporating interactive social-emotional learning activities into daily routines.

Insights to Behavior provides the training and tools you need to teach SEL in your school. Over 3,800 schools across five countries use our tools and software. Sign up for our free monthly managing student behaviors series here.

Modernize your District's Behavior Management with research-based best-practices.

Easily create comprehensive Individual Behavior Intervention Plans for K-12 students in one hour or less with Insights to Behavior.

Related Posts