3 Fun and Effective SEL Strategies for Grades 4-8

Thats where the activity Introduce Your Selfie can assist.
Its easy.
Action 1: Students complete their design template (listed below) independently.
Step 2: Put students in sets. Motivate them to share some of their preferred things.
Step 3: Have trainees fulfill with several pairs to share their interests. This can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes– its entirely approximately you.

By Trisha DiFazio and Allison Roeser
10 years ago if an instructor got out of the room, students would immediately talk and turn to one another. Today, they instantly get on their phones or retreat into their hoodies. By and large, our trainees report feeling detached from their peers.
Lets face it. Teen and preteen years are fraught with strife. Throw a pandemic therein, and you have an ideal storm of stress, stress and anxiety and overwhelm.
Whats the remedy to disconnection? Connection.
The bright side is we, as humans, are psychological and social beings. By leveraging these inherent qualities through engagement, we can help cultivate a sense of connectedness and belonging for our trainees. For youths to link with each other, they need to engage with each other.
Spoiler alert: sitting passively listening to a lecture does not promote trainee interaction.

As facilitator, you can wander around the room and verify students for sharing their concepts and interests.
And remember, never yuck a kids yum.
If you dont know the game or influencer they are talking about, dont dismiss it. Rather ask students to discuss it to you. Trainees like feeling like theyre in the motorist seat and have something to teach you.

Schools are crucial locations that can help support the health and wellness of our youths. And while Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) isnt a brand-new principle, SEL abilities like handling stress, handling emotions and developing favorable relationships are more vital now than ever.
If these last few years have taught us anything its that connection fuels our knowing along with our overall well-being.
Bottom line: Emotion and cognition are connected.

Links are crucial. And no, we are not discussing some forced icebreakers (hint: if you dont like to do them, neither do students). Were discussing assisting students produce connections in a low-stakes setting.
Weve spent years surveying youths about their experience in school. And if we might boil down all their answers into one statement, it would be this:
” I wish to be seen and heard, but please do not put me on the area or humiliate me in front of my peers or my love interest!”
Here are 3 techniques from our book, Social Emotional Learning Starts With Us, that can be carried out in any middle grades content location to increase engagement and connection.
1. Battery Life
This strategy is a terrific method to determine overall energy levels of students. Merely ask students what their existing battery life is on a scale from 0 percent to 100 percent. Students can hold up an index card or send their answer electronically.
Whether they report being at 5 or 99 percent, it provides us valuable insight to notify interactions progressing. This check-in question reinforces self-awareness and assists us interact more authentically with others.
In some cases were at 99% and sometimes we are in a bowl of rice– and thats okay!
2. Present Your Selfie
Kids frantically wish to connect and know with their peers, but they typically do not have the social skills or self-confidence to do so. Can you think of walking up to the coolest kid in class and just asking who their preferred youtuber is? Probably not. Social scenarios can be directly up frightening.

3. Whos Your Crew
We cant assume that all students know where to go when they require assistance. Some trainees may not understand where the school psychologists workplace is located in the structure or where to go for translation services for their families. This activity helps students recognize who and where they can go when they need assistance.
Looking for help is a life ability rooted in social awareness that pays dividends for several years to come.
When they require assistance, the objective of this activity is to help students identify and locate individuals, groups, or companies they can go to. They can configure important numbers into their phones or store them on cards in their wallets or purses if students have cell phones.
Note: Encourage your trainees to identify grownups (e.g., therapist, coach, nurse, neighbor, caseworker/case supervisor, family members) or this activity can unintentionally degenerate into a popularity contest.
Create real-world connections by highlighting a school resource staff member and having them be a guest speaker in your class. Then, show a poster of that individual with their contact information.
At the end of the day, the methods that produce connections also boost class and school culture. Emotionally and academically when students feel safe to be seen and heard they flourish socially.

By leveraging these natural qualities through engagement, we can help promote a sense of connectedness and belonging for our trainees. Were talking about helping trainees produce connections in a low-stakes setting.
We cant assume that all students understand where to go when they need assistance. Some students may not know where the school psychologists workplace is located in the structure or where to go for translation services for their households. She has more than 20 years of experience working with students and educators as a former classroom instructor and an adjunct teacher in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

Trisha DiFazio, M.A.T., is an education expert, author, and speaker. She has more than 20 years of experience working with students and educators as a former class teacher and an adjunct professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Trisha is enthusiastic about empowering teachers and students through social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and equity. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, an ESL Endorsement, and International TEFL Certification.
Trisha and Allison are the authors of the brand-new book Social-Emotional Learning Starts With Us: Empowering Teachers to Support Students. that includes many more ideas like the 3 theyve shared above.
Allison Roeser, M.H.S., is an education author, expert, and management coach. She is passionate about kid welfare and social change and has nearly twenty years of experience dealing with leaders in education. Allison holds a Master of Health Science degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Professional Coach Certification and is an Academy Licensed Trainer with the Academy for Coaching Excellence. Previously, Allison served as Deputy Director at Westat, a research organization where she directed research studies focused on health and education.

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