Two tips for embedding social and emotional learning into everyday lessons

Authored by

Jean Gross

Tip 1 Change the way we ask questions, so as to foster a supportive classroom climate



“Do you have any questions?”

“Who has the first question?” or “Ask me two questions about…”

“What did you get/understand?”

“How did you start? Talk through your thinking.”

“What didn’t you get?”

“What do you know?” and “What do you wish you knew?”

“Where were you?”


“We missed you. Is everything OK?”

What do you want to talk about?”

“What’s on your mind?”

“How are you?”

 “What are your top three feelings today?”


Tip 2 Be explicit about how specific classroom activities help build social and emotional skills

Self-awareness: So when developing the SEL core competency of self-awareness by doing a check in say “We’re doing this check-in as a way for you and me to be aware of  whether you are feeling OK to learn before beginning today’s lesson.” Try these checking in starter screens from Desmos and SEL templates from Pear Deck

Self-management: “When you set a goal based on today’s target, we will be working on self-management to achieve it.”

Relationship/social skills: When pairing students, “I’m pairing you up so we can develop your communication, collaboration, and relationship skills.”

Social awareness/perspective taking: Next time you give a problem that can be solved in different ways, begin a class discussion by saying, “Someone might not have seen it the same way you did. When we talk about different strategies and perspectives, we’re working on social awareness.”