Social Emotional Learning Activities for Elementary Teachers in 2024

As elementary teachers, we know how important social emotional learning is. It impacts every aspect of our school day (as well as the rest of the day). In order to be happy and successful learners and members of society, we need to be able to problem solve, practice patience, resolve conflicts and more. That’s why it’s so important to spend the time to provide purposeful instruction surrounding social emotional learning. Our favorite way to deliver this instruction is through fun and engaging social emotional learning activities. Learn all about our SEL units and the social emotional learning activities included in them below!

Get All 30 Social Emotional Learning Units

Click the image below to learn more about this SEL Unit Bundle, which gives you access to a year’s worth of SEL curriculum resources.

Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle
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What are the Social Emotional Learning Units?

Our social emotional learning units include everything you need to teach a comprehensive unit or series of lessons on specific SEL skills. Each one is packed with detailed lesson plans, center games and activities, video lists, and much more. We currently offer SEL units for the following social emotional learning topics:

30 Social Emotional Learning Units

Click the images below to learn more about each of the individual SEL units.

Advocacy SEL UnitAnti-Bullying SEL UnitChoices SEL Unit
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Compassion SEL UnitCompromise SEL UnitConfidence SEL Unit
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Conflict Resolution SEL UnitEmotions SEL UnitEmpathy SEL Unit
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Friendship SEL UnitGoal Setting SEL UnitGratitude SEL Unit
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Growth Mindset SEL UnitHonesty SEL UnitImpulse Control SEL Unit
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Inclusion SEL UnitIndividuality SEL UnitKindness SEL Unit
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Mindfulness SEL UnitPatience SEL UnitPerseverance SEL Unit
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Perspective SEL UnitProblem Solving SEL UnitResiliency SEL Unit
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Respect SEL UnitSelf Regulation SEL UnitSportsmanship SEL Unit
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Strengths and Challenges SEL UnitTeamwork SEL UnitWorry SEL Unit
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Why Teachers Love these SEL Units

Below are 5 of the reasons why teachers love the social emotional learning activities included in our SEL units.

  1. Each unit is jam-packed with an abundance of resources to choose from so you can select which activities are best for your students.
  2. All of the activities are either low-prep (some quick cutting) or no prep (just print and go) which saves you tons of time while still offering engaging learning opportunities to your students.
  3. We’ve intentionally designed the resources to be open-ended and included differentiated versions to make it easy for you to meet the needs of all your students. This also means that if you change grade levels in the future, you will still be able to use them with minimal modification.
  4. All of the units follow the same format and include the same types of activities customized to each topic. This creates a cohesive, year-long routine where students know the expectations and are able to focus on the topic.
  5. The units integrate reading, writing, and speaking standards with important skills to support students social emotional development and mental health. These lessons will benefit them far beyond the school year.

20 Activities Included in the SEL Units

Below are 20 activities that are in included in each of the SEL units.

1. Anchor Posters

There are two mini-poster displays in each of the SEL units. One is blank for you to customize. The other showcases the learning goals the students will be working towards through their work in the unit. The benefit of having a poster with learning goals for the unit is students can refer back to the poster and remember why they are learning about the topic. 

2. Vocabulary Cards

There are ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear and use relevant vocabulary while learning. Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of the SEL topic and create connections through related words. 

3. Introductory Lesson

This is an introductory SEL lesson that uses a picture book that includes events in the story to demonstrate the social emotional learning topic you will be focusing on. This lesson introduces the SEL topic using a picture book related to the topic and class discussion. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge.

4. Choice Board

This is a choice board with 8 different activities students can pick from to further explore the SEL topic and extend learning. While each activity is aligned with the focus topic, the options allow for students to use different learning modalities. 

Using a choice board allows students to take control of their learning and make decisions about how they want to further learn about the SEL topic. The activity options are organized around different learning modalities to accommodate the needs of all learners.  Most students learn with all their modalities, but some students may have unusual strengths and weaknesses in particular modalities. Choice boards increase student engagement and allow for all children to be successful. 

5. Scenario Cards

Scenario cards give students different situations that involve the use of the SEL topic. Using scenario cards help students think about how they would act in a situation where they would need to use the SEL topic. Teaching students how to make choices about an SEL topic when they are not currently experiencing it is the best time to teach students about it. Students who are actually in the situation are not as responsive to support and instruction.  

6. Discussion Cards

There are five discussion prompts that are directly related to the SEL topic. These prompts were designed to have students further exploring the SEL topic. Discussion prompts get students thinking about the SEL topic in new ways. Students also get to hear their peers’ thoughts on the topic. Hearing different points of views allows them to make connections with their peers and develop skills in understanding someone else’s perspective. 

7. Journal Pages

There are journal pages that have students using writing in three different ways. They are going to describe a word or phrase, create a list, and answer a prompt. There are three different options for students. These are a great practice for applying what students are learning about the SEL topic to their writing. Using three different types of writing per page allows students to practice different types of writing. 

8. Literature-Based Lessons

Each SEL unit includes three picture book companions that use characters and events in a story to deepen students’ understanding of the social emotional learning topic you are focusing on. Each of the three book companions include a teacher lesson plan, text-based discussion questions, role play scenarios that are specific to the story, a writing activity and a list and drawing activity page.

The selected books can be found at most libraries or purchased from a book retailer if you plan to read them aloud to your students.  Alternatively, ALL of the books we’ve selected are also available as online read alouds that you can stream for free.

This teaches the SEL topic through engaging students in a picture book. The discussion questions are made to connect students to how the SEL topic is portrayed in the book. Having students then role play what happened in the story and write about the SEL topic further creates new learning connections

9. Family Letter

This is a family letter that goes home with each student during each SEL unit. It explains the social emotional learning topic and why it is important. The letter provides parents with several discussion prompts they can use to initiate a conversation with their child. It also shares some ways families can support students at home and extend their learning and social development in this area outside of the classroom.

Family letters help create a home-to-school connection. They inform families what students are learning about the SEL concept and teach parents about the concept and how to support learning at home.

10. Word Search

This is a word search with ten words related to the SEL topic. The word search connects students to what they have been learning about the SEL topic in a relaxed style. It also reinforces important vocabulary words by providing an opportunity to focus on each word and its spelling.

11. Acrostic Poem

This is an acrostic poem using the SEL topic. The benefit of using the acrostic poem is that it has students create connections through writing. Students are applying what they know about the SEL topic and writing a poem that describes and teaches others about it. Acrostic poems also provide teachers with an informal assessment of each students’ understanding of the SEL topic.

12. “In-Action” Activity

This is an activity page that involves students drawing a picture of a situation that features the SEL topic in action and then writing sentences about the topic. This open ended activity allows students to apply what they have been learning about the SEL topic in a picture and with words. The activity leaves space for them to show what they know.  

13. Real World Situation Activities

Students will connect the SEL topic to events in the real world using a choice of two formats. The first is a flip book of ways to use the SEL topic in the classroom, at school, at home, and in their community. The second option has the same categories as the flip book but laid out in a one page document. 

These activities build understanding that the SEL topic that students are learning about can and should be used in all areas of their life. The topic isn’t only something they practice in their classroom or at home. 

14. Example and Non-Example Sort

This is a sorting page of different scenarios that are either examples of using the SEL concept or examples of not using the SEL concept. Students will evaluate a variety of scenarios and apply what they have learned about the SEL topic when determining if it is an example or not.

15. Coloring Page

This one-paper activity can be used as a simple coloring sheet, a journal cover or an additional activity page. This is a mindfulness activity for students to complete and provides them with an opportunity for creativity.

16. Looks Like and Sounds Like T-Chart

This is a sounds like and looks like brainstorm activity. Students can brainstorm how they know the SEL topic is being used. This is a great way to get students thinking about the application of the SEL topic.

17. Selfie Portrait

This “selfie” portrait paper has students demonstrating how they would use the SEL skill in four different ways. This has students draw a picture of themselves using the skill, describing the skill, and writing about how they would use the skill.

18. Writing Papers

This is a blank writing paper featuring clipart aligned to the SEL topic. There are 2 versions included. The first is primary-ruled with a headline, midline and baseline for students who need fine motor support. The second uses typical lines appropriate for elementary students. Both versions have space to illustrate. Students can journal about what they have been learning about the SEL topic and respond to different scenarios and discussion questions. 

19. Letter Cards

These are bulletin board and anchor chart letters. The smaller letters can be used for anchor charts and the larger letters can be used for bulletin boards. These can create engaging bulletin boards and anchor charts. These can also be laminated and used multiple times.  

20. SEL Game

This is an Uno-style card game that explores the SEL concept. Students can discuss the SEL topic with a small group or partner. They can have fun while learning more about the SEL concept. This is a highly engaging activity that will motivate students to learn more.

Get All 30 Social Emotional Learning Units

Click the image below to learn more about this SEL Unit Bundle, which gives you access to a year’s worth of SEL curriculum resources.

Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle
buy now button

In closing, we hope you found these social emotional learning activities interesting! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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