Social and emotional learning (SEL) enhances students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges. Learn more at CASEL.

Please find SEL resources below based on the level of your student.

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

High School

Preschool

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Emotional Intelligence. Talk about your own emotions. Label your own emotions to the child throughout the day. Talk about why you feel that way. If you have negative emotions, talk about what would make you feel better.

The Feelings Song

Daniel Tiger’s Feeling Song

Self-Management

Freeze Dance! A good way to work on impulse control, Freeze Dance is a classic childhood favorite. Simply turn on some tunes and start dancing, but watch out! If the music stops, then you need to stop your body too.

Have your child a time they felt a big emotion like anger or fear. Spend time exploring how their body felt (i.e. my face grew hot, my hands made a fist, my mouth began to frown), how they behaved (i.e. they kicked & screamed, they cried, they ran from the room), and the consequence (I lost a privilege, I had to go to time out, etc.). Now talk to them about the importance of learning to manage our feelings. Watch the Belly Breathing Song video and practice belly breathing together.

Social-Awareness

Play social detective! With your child, identify the emotions of the characters in the books you read or the videos you watch.

Faces with Feelings

How Are They Feeling?

Relationship Skills

Cooperative Ball Game.  Ball passing games help kids successfully interact with each other in the name of a common goal. Without interruption or dropping a ball, kids hit, kick or toss a ball back and forth. To keep the ball moving back and forth, kids anticipate their partner's actions, and make accommodations based on those actions. You can kick the ball, toss the ball, or hit the ball back and forth (as in volleyball). But the basic idea is the same: Players move the ball back and forth without dropping it or interrupting the rally. Success depends on anticipating and accommodating each other’s actions. Encourage team spirit, supporting each other and achieving common goals, by being very clear about the goal of working together.

Daniel Tiger: Friends Help Each Other

Sesame Street: Taking Turns

Responsible Decision-Making

Would You Rather!  Ask the following questions and allow your student to explain their answer:

Would you rather.. Eat pizza or a hamburger?

Would you rather… have it been winter or summer all the time?

Would you rather...be a bird or a bat?

Would you rather… explore space or the ocean?

Would you rather… live on Mars or live on the moon?

Would you rather...go without TV or junk food the rest of your life?

Would you rather… be locked in an amusement park or at a library?

Teaching Kids to Make Decisions


Kindergarten

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Play Red Light, Green Light: You may not immediately think of this game being about self awareness, but it forces little ones to wait when all they want to do is run to the end.

Here are the rules:

One person (the teacher or parent) stands on one side of a field, room, gym.

The student is at the other end.  Explain that green means go, yellow means slow, and red means stop.  Try to wait a good bit after calling out red light; this helps build their anticipation and give them a chance to work on that self-control. It’s tough!  Be sure to praise rule following!  The student will be excited to get to you and give you hugs or high fives.

Feelings & Emotions for Kids

The Feelings Song

Self-Management

Play a Game of Simon Says. This classic childhood game is a fun way to practice listening skills and impulse control. The leader (aka Simon) calls out a movement or action for the others to perform, but the catch is, you should only do the action if the leader says, "Simon says..." first.

Social-Awareness

Play Social Detective! When watching a video or reading a book, ask your child to identify how the characters might be feeling.

Sesame Street: Empathy

Relationship Skills

Cooperative Ball Game.  Ball passing games help kids successfully interact with each other in the name of a common goal. Without interruption or dropping a ball, kids hit, kick or toss a ball back and forth. To keep the ball moving back and forth, kids anticipate their partner's actions, and make accommodations based on those actions. You can kick the ball, toss the ball, or hit the ball back and forth (as in volleyball). But the basic idea is the same: Players move the ball back and forth without dropping it or interrupting the rally. Success depends on anticipating and accommodating each other’s actions. Encourage team spirit, supporting each other and achieving common goals, by being very clear about the goal of working together.

Berenstain Bears: Please and Thank You

You Can Take a Turn, Then I’ll Get it Back

Responsible Decision-Making

Would You Rather!  Ask the following questions and allow your student to explain their answer:

Would you rather.. Eat pizza or a hamburger?

Would you rather… have it been winter or summer all the time?

Would you rather...be a bird or a bat?

Would you rather… explore space or the ocean?

Would you rather… live on Mars or live on the moon?

Would you rather...go without TV or junk food the rest of your life?

Would you rather… be locked in an amusement park or at a library?

Teaching Kids to Make Decisions


1st Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Draw Your Day!  Help your student create a picture schedule or written schedule to describe what they would like to do for the day.  Help them see how they can have time to do both what they need to do and want to do by following a plan.  This simple exercise encourages them to focus on what they want most over what they want now (the epitome of impulse control!).

Sample worksheet for students to identify feelings 

Self-Management

Play a game of Red Light, Green Light. This game is great practice for listening, following directions, impulse control, and comprehension! Red means stop and green means go in this light, just like in real life. But you have to always be listening to the leader because if he or she catches you moving after they declare red light, then you have to go back to the start.

5-Finger Breathing

Social-Awareness

Acts of Kindness Think of several different scenarios that represent kindness or meanness. Examples include "A boy gives his mom a hug" or "A girl makes fun of her friend." Sit your student down and tell them a scenario, adding more details if you like. Ask the student whether the situation represents an act of kindness or an act of meanness.  Be sure to include discussion and encourage your student to come up with alternatives to the actions in the mean scenarios.

Watch this video: Kindness Rhyme for Kids - You Are Amazing!

Relationship Skills

Cooperative Ball Game.  Ball passing games help kids successfully interact with each other in the name of a common goal. Without interruption or dropping a ball, kids hit, kick or toss a ball back and forth. To keep the ball moving back and forth, kids anticipate their partner's actions, and make accommodations based on those actions. You can kick the ball, toss the ball, or hit the ball back and forth (as in volleyball). But the basic idea is the same: Players move the ball back and forth without dropping it or interrupting the rally. Success depends on anticipating and accommodating each other’s actions. Encourage team spirit, supporting each other and achieving common goals, by being very clear about the goal of working together.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along

Getting Along with Others Q &A with Howard B. Wigglebottom

Responsible Decision-Making

Would You Rather!  Ask the following questions and allow your student to explain their answer:

Would you rather.. Eat pizza or a hamburger?

Would you rather… have it been winter or summer all the time?

Would you rather...be a bird or a bat?

Would you rather… explore space or the ocean?

Would you rather… live on Mars or live on the moon?

Would you rather...go without TV or junk food the rest of your life?

Would you rather… be locked in an amusement park or at a library?

Teaching Kids to Make Decisions


2nd Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions

Self-Management

Deep Breathing for Self-Regulation

Teach your student how to effectively regulate their emotions using these fun Animal Breathing techniques. These deep-breathing techniques can be useful when feeling angry or stressed.

Or use this Belly Breathing Script.

Belly Breathing is a great way to calm down when you are upset.

Place your hands on your belly. Imagine that there is a balloon in your belly.

As you take a big breath in through your nose, try to fill up the balloon so that your belly puffs up.

Now breathe out through your mouth (like blowing a bubble) and let all of the air out of the balloon). Take slow breaths. Try to count to 4 as you breathe in and count to 4 as you breathe out. Inhale...2...3...4

Exhale...2...3...4

Repeat until you are calm.

Remember to practice everyday until it becomes easy to use when you need it.

The Mad Family

Hoberman Sphere Breathing

Social-Awareness

Acts of Kindness Think of several different scenarios that represent kindness or meanness. Examples include "A boy gives his mom a hug" or "A girl makes fun of her friend." Sit your student down and tell them a scenario, adding more details if you like. Ask the student whether the situation represents an act of kindness or an act of meanness.  Be sure to include discussion and encourage your student to come up with alternatives to the actions in the mean scenarios.

Empathy and Social Awareness Activities for Kids

Watch how Daniel Tiger uses his Words

Relationship Skills

This activity will help your student recognize similar likes and dislikes.  Explain: The phrase “having something in common” means that two people enjoy doing the same thing, or own something similar, or have a similar ability, and so on.  Allow the student to write 2 columns: things they like and things they dislike.  Make a list for yourself as well and compare answers.  Have the student identify the similarities between you and his/her paper.  Explain that even though there are differences, we should still treat each other with respect.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It’s OK to Back Away a story about anger management and backing away from conflict.

Responsible Decision-Making

Let your student be the boss for one hour.

Allowing your student to take charge of a limited amount of time per day and within your safety parameters, encourages him to feel empowered.  Children who have had earlier experiences of themselves as people whose choices are respected will be the ones who are able to say “no” when a peer encourages them to do something they may not want to do.”

I Make Smart Choices: Teaching Children the Importance of Making Smart Choices 


3rd Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness Strategies:  Have your student list their strengths of what they are good at.  Using these strengths, have the students compliment themselves.  (i.e. I am smart, I am kind, I make others laugh, etc).  Have your student write these down as well.  Discuss with your students emotions and how they each have different levels.  (i.e. slightly annoyed to angry).  HAve your student write down how they are feeling each morning to check in with themselves and then share how they are feeling.

What is Self-Awareness? video

Self-Management

Practice the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Calming Technique-- a great strategy to use when you’re feeling frustrated, worried, or angry.

To begin, take a deep belly breath in through your now and out through your mouth.

5 - LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I see the computer, I see the cup, I see the picture frame.

4 - FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I feel my feet warm in my socks, I feel the hair on the back of my neck, or I feel the pillow I am sitting on.

3 - LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds. It could be the sound of traffic outside, the sound of typing or the sound of your tummy rumbling. Say the three things out loud.

2 - SMELL: Say two things you can smell. If you’re allowed to, it’s okay to move to another spot and sniff something. If you can’t smell anything at the moment or you can’t move, then name your 2 favorite smells.

1 - TASTE: Say one thing you can taste. It may be the toothpaste from brushing your teeth, or a mint from after lunch. If you can’t taste anything, then say your favorite thing to taste.

Take another deep belly breath to end.

www.copingskillsforkids.com

Square Breathing

Social-Awareness

Empathy Busters

What’s the opposite of empathy? In this activity, your students will learn about common “empathy busters” so they can avoid them in the future.

First, introduce your students to these empathy busters using the mnemonic device S.U.D.S.:

Examples: “I’ll fix it.” “I’ll talk to her.” “I’ll get you a new one.”

Many people make this mistake when trying to comfort a friend. It’s common to think everything would be fine if we could just solve the problem! Problem solving is a useful skill, but the timing must be right. What is helpful initially when another person is upset is simply expressing empathy, validating the other person’s feelings, and inviting him or her to talk about his or her feelings. Rushing to solve the other person’s problems often makes the person feel as if his or her feelings are being dismissed or invalidated.

 Unsolicited advice

Examples: “Well, if I were you. . . .” “I think you should. . . .” “Why don’t you just. . .?”

Again, offering advice right off the bat is not usually helpful or welcomed by a friend who is hurting. Instead, wait for advice to be sought. In the meantime, express empathy and actively listen. Just be there.

 Dismissing feelings

Examples: “It’s not that big a deal.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Get over it.” “That’s no reason to be upset.”

This response makes it seem as though the person is wrong for feeling a certain way. Feelings aren’t right or wrong–they just are.

 Sarcasm

Examples: “That’s just such a tragedy!” “Oh, it’s just the end of the world…” “Boo hoo, what a shame.”

Sarcasm will make an upset friend feel put down and/or misunderstood.

Once you’ve introduced the empathy busters, ask each child to write a short story describing a situation or event during which he or she became upset. Then, have students tell their stories while a peer expresses either appropriate empathy or an empathy buster. Encourage the other students to compare the expression of empathy busters versus real empathy. Ask the students who tell their stories to discuss how it felt to receive empathy versus empathy busters.

Don’t Laugh At Me-- First, have your child listen to the audio without watching the video. Talk about what they heard and draw a picture of a child that stood out to them. Next, watch the video together to see if their first impressions matched the illustrations. Finally, talk about the importance of having empathy and respect. For others.

Relationship Skills

This activity will help your student recognize similar likes and dislikes.  Explain: The phrase “having something in common” means that two people enjoy doing the same thing, or own something similar, or have a similar ability, and so on.  Allow the student to write 2 columns: things they like and things they dislike.  Make a list for yourself as well and compare answers.  Have the student identify the similarities between you and his/her paper.  Explain that even though there are differences, we should still treat each other with respect.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It’s OK to Back Away a story about anger management and backing away from conflict.

Responsible Decision-Making

Let your student be the boss for one hour.

Allowing your student to take charge of a limited amount of time per day and within your safety parameters, encourages him to feel empowered.  Children who have had earlier experiences of themselves as people whose choices are respected will be the ones who are able to say “no” when a peer encourages them to do something they may not want to do.”

I Make Smart Choices: Teaching Children the Importance of Making Smart Choices 

4th Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness Strategies:  Have your student list their strengths of what they are good at.  Using these strengths, have the students compliment themselves.  (i.e. I am smart, I am kind, I make others laugh, etc).  Have your student write these down as well.  Discuss with your students emotions and how they each have different levels.  (i.e. slightly annoyed to angry).  HAve your student write down how they are feeling each morning to check in with themselves and then share how they are feeling.

What is Self-Awareness? video

Self-Management

Mindfulness and self-regulation:

Being in the present moment provides clarity and focus for children, teens, and adults. We ask a lot of our kids on a typical day. Cognitive overload can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress causing students anxiety and making it challenging for them to focus. One of the ways we teach students how to manage their stress is through practicing mindfulness.

Three Minute Mindful Activity--”Let’s practice mindfulness through our sense of hearing. Close your eyes. Take 3 slow, deep breaths. Now, focus on what you hear outside.” (allow one minute to lapse). “Now, I want you to focus on what you hear in our home.” (allow one minute to lapse). “Now focus on what you hear in this room.” (allow one minute to lapse)
Process with your student-- do you ever slow down long enough to listen to the world around you. How might focusing on the sounds in the room help to calm your mind and body before a test?

Counting Breaths

Fading Tone

Social-Awareness

Perspective Taking

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs-- talk about how this different perspective of a familiar tale can change the way you view the characters in the story.

Relationship Skills

What makes a Friend:  Have your student complete the following sentence I like friends who are……  Have your student answer this question as many times as they can come up with different ideas.  Have your student answer the next question, I like to …………. with my friends.  Have your students complete the What Makes a Friend 

Discuss with your student that friendships are important and it is important to be mindful of the qualities we look for in a friend.  Also, discuss that it is fun to have friends who are both similar and different from us and that we can learn from friends who are different from us.  

Making Friends - website that has more ideas about making friends at school

Responsible Decision-Making

Types of Decision Making:  Discuss with your student the three common ways that people make decisions. They are:

No Decision.  This is when you let others make decisions for you and tell you what to do.

Snap Decision. This is when you don’t think before you act.  YOu don’t consider the consequences of your action and you simply react to the situation.

Responsible Decision. When you make responsible decisions, you think about the consequences of your actions and how it will affect you and the people around you.

Ask your student the following questions:

  1.  Which decision making process best describes how you make important decisions?
  2. Explain why you prefer to make decisions this way.  Give at least 3 reasons.

"Marshmellow Test" video - talk about the pros and cons  of each decision.  Discuss values and what is important when making decisions.


5th Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Emotional Awareness: Have your student draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Then, ask them to divide the circle into 8 pieces (like a pie). In each piece of the pie, prompt them to write a different emotion. Then, ask them to fill each emotion’s pie piece with a color or images reflecting what that feeling means to him/her. Next, ask the student to extend each pie piece to create a flower petal. Divide each petal into three sections (see image to the right). Use the inner section to identify situations or events that have caused you to feel that emotion. Use the middle section of the petal to describe how your body felt when you experienced that emotion. Use the tip of the petal to identify how you behaved when experiencing that emotion.

Grumpy Monkey

Self-Management

Mindfulness and self-regulation:

Being in the present moment provides clarity and focus for children, teens, and adults. We ask a lot of our kids on a typical day. Cognitive overload can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress causing students anxiety and making it challenging for them to focus. One of the ways we teach students how to manage their stress is through practicing mindfulness.

Three Minute Mindful Activity--”Let’s practice mindfulness through our sense of hearing. Close your eyes. Take 3 slow, deep breaths. Now, focus on what you hear outside.” (allow one minute to lapse). “Now, I want you to focus on what you hear in our home.” (allow one minute to lapse). “Now focus on what you hear in this room.” (allow one minute to lapse)
Process with your student-- do you ever slow down long enough to listen to the world around you. How might focusing on the sounds in the room help to calm your mind and body before a test?

Stress Relief for Kids

Social-Awareness

Empathy: the understanding of or the ability to identify with another person’s feelings or experiences.  Ask your student, can you think of a time - maybe during an argument with a friend or when the boy or girl you liked hurt your feelings - when you wished that someone understood how you felt?  When we try to relate to what another person is going through, we are being empathetic.  Open Someone Else's Shoes and read each scenario.  Ask your student to place themselves in that person’s shoes and how they would feel.  Practice being empathetic for each one.  

Discuss with your child what makes a good friend? Then, watch: Pixar’s For the Birds film.

Discussion: After watching the film, ask your student what they think the film was about. Ask them how they would feel if they were the larger bird. What would you do if you heard your friends complaining about other students? What would you do if your friends were making fun of other students? How would you handle two friends arguing with each other? How would you treat someone in your school that looked/acted different from you? What would you do if you hear students gossiping or spreading rumors?

Relationship Skills

Talk it out: Have students write down the name of their closest friend.  Discuss why most boys listed boys as their friends and girls as their friends.  We don’t usually pick friends based on hair color or height, but we do seem to pick friends who are the same gender.  Click here for Talk it out Boys orTalk it Out Girls.  

Discussion:  Go over the answers that your student completed on the attached worksheet and how we develop strategies and suggest how you can implement them when you go back to the classroom.

Watch a reading of the book Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig. Discuss the power of words in relationships.

Responsible Decision-Making

Decision Making Wheel: Have your student draw a circle on a sheet of paper  and make a smaller circle in the middle.  Then separate the circle into 8 sections, like a pie from the center circle.  The center circle should be labeled as the problem.  Then label each pie piece with choices, consequences, values, feelings, more info, who can help, decision, assess decision.  Read the following scenario.

It is recess.  Everyone is out on the playing fields, including the teacher.  You have to go to the restroom, you pass your class and notice that there is someone in the room.  You stop and peek in out of curiosity.  Just as you do, you see one of your best friends reach into another person’s desk and take something out of it.  YOu quickly move past the door before you are seen.  Just before the lunch bell rings, the students whose desk you saw your friend reach into, walks up to the teacher.  A moment later the teacher announces that this student’s entire pencil case with pencils, pens and lunch money in it is missing.  What do you do?

Use the decision wheel to answer the following questions.

  1.  What is the problem?
  2. What are the choices you have?
  3. What do you think the consequences of these choices will be for yourself and others who are involved?
  4. What values do you need to consider?
  5. How do you feel about the situation?
  6. Is there anything else you need to learn about it?
  7. Do you need to ask for help?  Who will you ask?
  8. What is your decision?
  9. Do you think you made the right decision?  Why?

Watch ‘Making Tough Choices with Kid President

6th Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Who am I? This activity can be adapted to be a written exercise. It can be done with one student & parent or the whole family.

Write the following topics in large print on 6 pieces of paper-- 1) I am; 2) I can; 3) I believe that; 4) I am learning to; 5) I enjoy; 6) Places where I spend my time. Place the papers on the floor in a circle.

Now, the student (or each player) should stand behind one of the papers on the floor. The parent should start playing music and the student should walk around the circle (similar to the childhood game musical chairs). When the music stops, they will read the card next to which they’re standing. Then, they must complete the sentence with the first thing that comes to mind (i.e. I am learning to speak Spanish or I believe that everyone has good intentions). After everyone participating has had a chance to respond, the music resumes and the activity continues.

My Identity Activity is a video of the activity.

Attitude Latitudes

Self-Management

Goal Setting: This graphic organizer provides writing prompts that support students to reflect on what is going well in the classroom, and what they need to work on. Your students can use this organizer in order to develop a goal, and identify their plan for how they will achieve that goal. This process works well for both academic and work habits goals.

A Pep Talk from Kid President

Goal Setting for Students

Social-Awareness

A Poem About Me: Allow your student to compose and share a biological poem using descriptive language, sensory details, personality traits, emotions and actions.  Student should be able to identify and communicate their personal traits and develop a positive self-concept about unique traits, recognizing and accepting the diversity of others.

 Walk students through the following outline of the “I am’ poem”, asking them to write their own and encouraging their use of sensory details.

First Stanza

I am (2 special characteristics you have),

I wonder (something of curiosity),

I hear (an imaginary sound),

I see (an imaginary sight),

I want (a desire),

I am (the first line of the poem repeated).

Second Stanza

I pretend (something you pretend to do),

I feel (a feeling about something imaginary),

I touch (an imaginary touch),

I worry (something that bothers you),

I cry (something that makes you sad),

I am (the first line of the poem repeated).

Third Stanza

I understand (something that is true),

I say (something you believe in),

I dream (something you dream about),

I try (something you really make an effort about),

I hope (something you actually hope for),

I am (the first line of the poem repeated).

Allow student to read poem aloud, then ask these questions:

  • What is it like describing yourself and sharing with others?
  • How might this activity help your learning environment feel more safe and comfortable?

Boundaries in Relationships

Relationship Skills

Social Communication Skills: Assertiveness

Assertiveness, as a style of communication, is characterized by the ability to directly and confidently express our genuine opinion, feelings, or attitudes, such that the rights of others and social circumstances are respected.

Activity-- Frist, create a list of social challenges with your student. (Examples include: initiating a conversation with someone, telling a peer you disagree with them, give an honest compliment to someone, ask a teacher for clarification on a task you don’t understand completely, standing up for a classmate who is being bullied, etc.)

Role play with your student how to tackle each of these social challenges. What would they say? How would they behave?

After each role play, it’s important to discuss with the teen how the particular challenge made him feel. Did he find it easy, hard, awkward, or something else? What could be alternative ways to ask, to express? How did others react?

Conflict Resolution-- a video about effective communication skills.

Conflict Resolution Activity

Conflict Resolution Part 2

Responsible Decision-Making

Anonymous Compliment Board: Your student will use an anonymous compliment board to celebrate positive acts and statements they witness others performing and saying as well as positive acts and statements made by themselves.  

Prepare a poster board or sheet of paper and throughout the day/week/month, add a note each time the student says or hears someone else saying something positive.

Once the board/paper is filled, ask the student to share their feedback on the activity.

Modification: Make it a family compliment board and have everyone participate!

Watch ‘Making Tough Choices with Kid President

7th Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Write & Rip-- an exercise to learn how emotions affect our mind & bodies.

Read to your student: To begin, pause for a moment, close your eyes, & scan your body. Notice if there is any part of your body that may be holding stress, such as your shoulders or your stomach. Is there something stressful that is making your shoulders tight or your stomach hurt? Is there anything on your mind today that you need to let go of? Like something you are worried about or something makes you sad?

We’re going to practice write & rip by writing our  negative thoughts & worries on a piece of scratch paper, then ripping them up and tossing them into the trash. You have the length of one song to do it. No one will see what you write. (play a calming song).

After the activity, process how it felt to write about their stress and then destroy the stressors.

Emotions & The Brain

Self-Management

Positive Self-Talk: Here is a simple process to help students observe and choose their self-talk.

  • First, share this definition of self-talk: The act or practice of talking to oneself, either aloud or silently and mentally.
  • Talk to your student about how we all experience silent self-talk within our minds, unconsciously, during our everyday lives. They might even have some silent self-talk going on right now. They might be thinking, “I’m hungry.” Or, “What is self-talk?” Or, “Will I do okay on the test next period?”
  • Set a timer and tell your student that for the next minute, we’ll sit in silent meditation, with eyes closed, and observe our silent self-talk.
  • After the minute has passed, ask your student to open his/her eyes and share the self-talk that they observed inside their own minds. Let them know that there are no right or wrong answers. Write down their self-talk statements.Share your own self-talk and write those down as well.
  • Let your student know that some of our self-talk is positive or neutral, which usually makes us feel better, and some of it is negative, which usually makes us feel worse. See if you and the students can categorize the answers you recorded into those that might make the person feel better and those that might make the person feel worse.
  • Sometimes our thoughts are focused on a real mistake or problem that needs to be addressed. Negative self-talk about this might include berating ourselves over and over. Positive self-talk could include thinking about how we can address the problem and reminding ourselves that making mistakes is part of life and doesn’t make us “bad.”
  • Let students know that they have the power to change their self-talk if it is making them feel worse.  One way to do this is to shift their interpretation of a situation from negative to neutral or positive.
  • Review the following situations with your student. Prompt them to develop a neutral or positive self-talk message for each.

Situation #1 You are looking for a spot to sit in the lunch room and approach a table. The students sitting there are unwelcoming and one of them says, “We don’t have any room for you” – even though there is an empty seat.  Negative Self-Talk:  “No one likes me. I’ll never make any good friends.”  Positive Self-Talk: ____________________

Situation #2 You have an important question for the teacher, but the teacher tells you that he/she doesn’t have time to answer it.  Negative Self-Talk:  “I can’t figure this out by myself!”  Positive Self-Talk: _______________

Situation #3 You and your sister are fighting over the remote control. Your mom comes in and yells at you,  even though it was your sister who started the fight. Negative Self-Talk:  “My parents think my brother/sister is an angel! I get in trouble for everything!” Positive Self-Talk: ______________

Situation #4 You’ve just received your grade for the final math test.  You failed, even though you love math usually do well. Negative Self-Talk:  “I’m terrible at math. I’ll never go to college like I want to. Positive Self-Talk: ______

Resiliency: A Tennis Ball Analogy Discuss the importance of resilience in your own life. Ask your student to think of times in which he/she has been resilient. How did that change the outcome of a difficult situation for them?

5-Minute Mountain Meditation

Social-Awareness

Write & Rip-- an exercise to learn how emotions affect our mind & bodies.

Read to your student: To begin, pause for a moment, close your eyes, & scan your body. Notice if there is any part of your body that may be holding stress, such as your shoulders or your stomach. Is there something stressful that is making your shoulders tight or your stomach hurt? Is there anything on your mind today that you need to let go of? Like something you are worried about or something makes you sad?

We’re going to practice write & rip by writing our  negative thoughts & worries on a piece of scratch paper, then ripping them up and tossing them into the trash. You have the length of one song to do it. No one will see what you write. (play a calming song).

After the activity, process how it felt to write about their stress and then destroy the stressors.

Watch the video: Kindness Boomerang. Discuss with your student the ripple effect of kind gestures. Watch the video again. Discuss how the sequence of events might have been different if one individual had chosen to be unkind.

Relationship Skills

Developing Friendships: Understand the concept of what it means to approach a peer and initiate conversation.  Learn strategies on how to appropriately trade information with peers in order to find common interests.

Define and discuss the following “buzzwords”:

-relationship: a connection between two people

-peer: someone else your age, a friend, or a classmate

-peer relationship: a friendship with someone else your age, a friend, or a classmate

-strategy: a method used to achieve a goal

-trading information: communicating with another person by exchanging information (e.g., spoken words) back and forth

-common interests: interests, hobbies, or likes that you and your peer both share

Ask: why is it important to make eye contact when first approaching a peer? (so they will know you are about to talk to them; so they know you are interested in them)

Ask: what does it mean when people say a relationship is two-way? (talking back and forth to another person; everyone gets a turn to talk; a form of communication)

Ask: in what ways can we trade information with a peer? (speaking about our pets; writing letters to each other)

Responsible Decision-Making

Making Decisions: Have students create a chart for the 7 Step Decision-Making Process.

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Gathering information and resources
  3. Listing options
  4. Comparing options
  5. Making a decision
  6. Making a plan of action
  7. Evaluating the decision

Next, have them identify a problem they are currently experiencing (or have recently experienced) and take it through the decision-making process.

What Makes a Good Decision?

8th Grade

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Self-Reflection: Ask your student if they have ever done the following:

  • Given a compliment to someone
  • Learned new things about someone from your class
  • Shared with a friend what’s been on your mind
  • Called customer service at your favorite store and asked for information about a product you liked
  • Told your best friend what you liked about him/her
  • Asked a teacher/coach for clarification of a task you didn’t understand completely

Discuss with your student how each situation made them feel.  Were these things awkward, easy, hard? What could be some alternate ways you can do these things and how did others react?

Check out these worksheets for extra practice:

What’s Your Attitude Latitude?

Self-Management

Anxiety vs. Truth: Share the following with your student: Whenever you experience anxiety, your mind might begin to race with thoughts that aren’t always true. Anxious thoughts are often focused on the worst possible outcome. These thoughts can lead you to believe that things are worse than they actually are and that you are not capable of coping with it.

One a piece of paper, draw four clouds down the side. Next to each cloud, draw a box. Draw an arrow connecting the clouds to the boxes.

The clouds are “thought clouds”--in the thought clouds, write a few anxious thoughts that you are experiencing, then try to challenge those thoughts by identifying what is actually true about your situation. Write your truths in the boxes.

(from Myle Marks)

Blue Balloon Mindfulness Meditation

Social-Awareness

Perspective Taking: Being able to identify and respect the perspectives of others is a very important social skill.

Perspective Taking Activity: As a family, discuss the following questions.

-Should elementary kids have access to cell phones? Why or why not?

-Do you believe robots and computers be smarter than people? Why or why not?

-Should schools enforce a dress code? Why or why not?

-Should teachers assign homework? Why or why not?

-Do you believe kids should be able to watch R rated movies? Why or why not?

As you discuss each question, acknowledge the differences in perspective. Discuss why there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions. When we have different opinions it’s important to respect the ideas of others and try to see things from their point of view. Imagine what in their life experience helped shape their point of view.

Understanding Perception Differences

Perspective is everything. We can look at the same picture and see different things.

My wife and my mother-in-law Do you see a young woman or an older lady?

What animal do you see?

Relationship Skills

Discuss with your student the following ways to be a good friend:

• Good friends listen to each other.

• Good friends don’t put each other down or hurt each other’s feelings.

• Good friends try to understand each other’s feelings and moods.

• Good friends help each other solve problems.

• Good friends give each other compliments.

• Good friends can disagree without hurting each other.

• Good friends are dependable.

• Good friends respect each other.

• Good friends are trustworthy.

• Good friends give each other room to change.

Ask your student the following questions:

1. What qualities do you look for in a friend?

2. Are friends more important to you now than they were in elementary school? Why?

3. There’s an old saying that goes “in order to have good friends you have to be a good friend.” What does that mean? Do you think it’s true?

4. What’s the difference between a friend and an acquaintance?

5. How do you tell the difference between true friends and false friends?

6. What is a “best friend?” Is it possible to have more than one “best friend” at the same time?

7. In what ways does friendship change as you get older?

Watch the video: The Kindness Scientist. Discuss how kindness & generosity can positively impact our brain and our overall health and well-being.

Responsible Decision-Making

Steps to Reach the Best Decision: Ask your student ‘what makes a good decision’? Review the following 6 ideas of how to make a good decision:

1 - I am clear on the problem that I am solving

2 - I have identified what I truly want

3 - I have generated a good set of alternatives

4 - I have gathered the relevant information needed

5 - I have evaluated the alternatives in light of the information to find the one that gets me the most of what I truly want

6 - And I am committed to follow through on my choice

Ask your student for an example of an important decision they have had to make.  Allow them to go through steps 1-6 and determine if the decision was the correct one.

What Makes a Good Decision? 

High School

Social-Emotional Competency

Suggested Activities

Additional On-line Resources

Self-Awareness

Gratitude Journal-- Rather than focusing on what we wish for or the difficulties in our life, it can be helpful to begin each day with a shift in perspective. Grab a notebook for journaling (or start a digital journal). Each day, write the date and 3 things for which you’re thankful.

Some days this will be easier than others. Sometimes you’ll have to stretch your mind to identify things for which you have gratitude. But focusing on those things can set the tone for your day.

Ex: March 15, 2010

Today I am thankful…

  1. That I have the ability to see to read this paper.
  2. That I have a friend like Jay.
  3. That I have food in my fridge.

Emotional Intelligence from a Teen’s Perspective

Basketball Self-Awareness & Perseverance

Self-Management

What is Self-Regulation? Talk with your student about the definition of self-regulation (a proactive self-directed process for attaining goals, learning skills, and accomplishing tasks).  Have your  student write a brief definition in their own words.  Share the examples below with your student and ask them if it is an example of self-regulation and why or why not.

Ex. 1: You realize that you forgot to study for your test so you cram five minutes before it starts (no, missing the proactive and process parts of the definition).  

Ex. 2: Your mom sets a timer and tells you to work on your homework until the timer goes off (No, missing the self-directed part of the definition).

Ex. 3: You write down all of the homework that you need to complete and check it off your list as you finish it (Yes, this is proactive, self-directed, and a process for accomplishing tasks).  

Meet Devon

Meet Vy

Social-Awareness

Perspective Taking: Talk with your student about cultural impacts on behavior. Discuss how different cultures or upbringings may impact a person’s behavior.

Talk openly about differences among cultural groups but avoid making over-generalized statements that may be taken as racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory.

Discuss: How can our own life experiences impact the way we view the world, shape their personality, and interact with the people around us? Why is it important to have the skills to identify and respect the perspective of others-- even when their ideas or beliefs are different from our own?

Perspective Taking Activity

Relationship Skills

What Makes a Good Friend? Learn what characteristics are and are not wanted in a peer relationship.  This lesson will help your student understand how they can bring unique qualities to a peer relationship as well.  

- Write down 4 characteristics you can bring to a peer relationship (what characteristics would a peer be interested in).  

- Write down 4 characteristics they would want in a peer when looking to form a relationship

- Write down 4 characteristics they DO NOT want a peer to possess when looking to form a peer relationship

Allow your student to discuss the answers.

Watch: Take a Seat, Make a Friend. Discuss how being respectful and an active listener gives you the opportunity to connect with others.

Brene Brown on Empathy-- how to have a genuine connection with others.

Responsible Decision-Making

6-Steps to Making Strong Decisions: Ask your student ‘what makes a good decision’? Review the following 6 ideas of how to make a good decision:

1 - I am clear on the problem that I am solving

2 - I have identified what I truly want

3 - I have generated a good set of alternatives

4 - I have gathered the relevant information needed

5 - I have evaluated the alternatives in light of the information to find the one that gets me the most of what I truly want

6 - And I am committed to follow through on my choice

Ask your student for an example of an important decision they have had to make.  Allow them to go through steps 1-6 and determine if the decision was the correct one.

What Makes a Good Decision? 

Download this free booklet for more skills:

The Fundamentals of Making Good Decisions