Supporting Social Emotional Learning in a Virtual Setting

Whether you are teaching in-person or virtually, SEL strategies can support the whole child and provide them with a sense of love and belonging. Virtual teaching can be daunting and stressful for many educators. Here’s the good news, virtual learning has been occurring for quite some time now and we took some of the best SEL practices being utilized by our most brilliant SEL champions! The areas below can help any classroom build community and provide a sense of love and belonging for all students.

Before the Start of Your Lesson (Relationships and Communication): Have a welcoming ritual. Get creative and have students decide how they will greet each other (e.g., thumbs up, dance move, smile etc.) Check-in with your students and ask them how they are feeling. They can answer by using the emoji feature on zoom, typing in a chat box or using a jamboard. For younger students, you can have an emotions poster to guide them. Don’t forget to share your own emotions with your students, this helps them see you as part of their “class family” and validates their own emotions. Your check-in can also include a scale (e.g., “On a scale of 1-5 today I feel like a _ because _”). Affirmations are also a great tool to get the day started. As a class you can have students create a list of positive affirmations and recite them before the start of the lesson. Mindful breathing exercises are also a great way to get students to focus and be present (you can find videos on GoNoodle or cosmic kids). Lastly, don’t forget student celebrations! You can create pre-recorded videos to highlight a student or give birthday shout-outs.

During Your Lesson (Emotions and Self-Regulation): Use teachable moments during your day to infuse thoughts, feelings and emotions (e.g., “Okay class, I’m going to pause the story right here, let’s talk about the characters, Stella just died, how do you think Ivan feels? What can someone do or say to make him feel better?). If you have a “Feelings Poster” use it as a guide to have students respond and tie character feelings/emotions.

After Your Lesson (Celebrations/Reflection Zone): Ask students to reflect on the lesson for the day and or set goals for the next day. Use flipgrid to have students record weekly goals. Gratitude is a great way to to get students to focus on the positive things happening in their life. Provide them with prompts to end their day (this can also include a shout-out to someone in the classroom or share an A-Ha moment). Create a challenge for your class before the end of the day. This will keep them engaged and excited for the following day. Challenges can include: Doing something kind for someone in their family, giving someone a compliment or looking for a show-and tell item to share the next day. Regardless of which areas you focus on, the key is ‘connection.’ Build connections and create an environment where students feel like they are safe and they belong.

If you would like to learn more from Liz Toruno and the members of the EQ by Design team, be sure to check out a sneak preview of our upcoming conference below:

Want to learn more about the EQ by Design Fall Institute or attend the event on October 9th and October 16th?

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