Teaching SEL During the Pandemic

child meditating

Things in our world are certainly stressful, aren't they? And many of us are going to focus on teaching SEL during the pandemic. our students (and us teachers) need social emotional learning  more than ever. I decided to use this space today to talk about some tools, resources, and ideas to support you while you're trying to teach SEL.


Mindful Minute

One way you can incorporate SEL into lessons, whether digital or in person, is to start your lessons with a mindful minute.  Some suggestions for mindful minutes are using relaxing breathing techniques with children such as Figure 8 breathing, or rainbow breaths, doing  a yoga minute, a few stretches or anything similar. The Calm app is also great for these.

Dialogue with Students

Find a way to maintain a dialogue with students about their feelings. Some suggestions are:
  1.  Meet with students in person or virtual 1 on 1 once a week or every other week. 
  2. Use Google Classroom announcements for whole class chats
  3. Check in with small during during instruction
  4. Private messaging with students through classroom
  5. With younger students, connect with parents weekly
  6. Use Poetry and writing prompts for students to express themselves. See below for writing prompt ideas. 

Give Students Assignments Centering around SEL/ Mindfulness

Assign or give optional activities like:

  1. Coloring/drawing/Art
  2. Reading
  3. Spend time outside
  4. Go on a SEL/Mindful Scavenger Hunt
  5. Free journal writing
  6. Practicing breathing or meditation
  7. Listening to music


Class Dojo

Class Dojo has some wonderful SEL resources, including the mindfulness series with the cute monster, Mojo! Mojo learns about stress and tough feelings and how to manage them!


 Empatico is a terrific website  that connects classroom from all over the world with virtual meet ups. These meet ups foster empathy and building SEL skills. Their website has a lot of amazing resources for teachers and families, specifically during this pandemic.

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a website from Australia and has a  website and and an app! They offer relaxing body scans, meditations, relaxation videos and prompts and many things you can do at home and at school.  It is applicable for kids of all ages and adults, teachers and parents.

Writing Prompts

Let's talk writing prompts!  This summer, I created some writing prompts (digital and printable options) for students to help them identify feelings, process feelings, and develop empathy and problem solving skills. These images will give you a sneak peek and if you click on any they will go to the listing on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Digital SEL writing prompts coverPrintable SEL writing prompts cover
example of digital SEL writing promptexample of digital SEL writing promptexample of digital SEL writing prompt

printable examplesPrintable examples

You also might want to about some conversation starters that you can use to help students develop SEL skills online or in person Check out my blog about it here.

Also, you need to take care of yourself too. You can't pour from an empty cup! Check out my blog post with ideas on teacher self care here.

Did you find some ideas that will help you when teaching SEL during the pandemic? I hope so!

What are Boom Cards?

Boom Blog post cover image
With all of the digital learning and remote learning, you may have heard of BOOM cards or Boom Decks... and you might be wondering, what are Boom cards? Should I be using them? Are they user-friendly and will they help me? I have the answers to your questions here!



Boom takes traditional paper and pencil practice and brings it to a digital interface! Activities are gamified and kids don't usually know they are learning! My second graders used to beg for me to get more and more decks for them to try!

Boom example click and drag
On this type of card, students move a check mark, to their answer, click "submit" and get results immediately (along with a fun chime sound or "oops")! 
Boom example, click to get response
With this card, students simply click an answer to move on (no hitting submit)
Boom example sight words
One thing I like is kids don't have to move an object 100% into the "drop zone" to have it count. BoomLearning had said about 50% works!


Students get automatic feedback on how they did and a chance to try again!
  Boom example, student gets answer correct
Here the student sees they got the answer correct once they hit "submit"!
Boom example , student makes an error
On this card, the student made an error but can try again!
Boom example , student can try again

With this sight word practice card, she spelled use "ues" so Boom shows her the u is in the correct spot, but e and s were not, so she needs to try again.


You can get reports on all your students at once or just one or a few. You can look at reports on how they did on multiple decks. Boom also shows you how much time they spent on an activity , their score and how many times they have worked on that deck.
Teacher data on Boom

Here you see students on the left,  and the right column shows how they did on a specific deck. The blank columns are because they have not done the other decks on this report. You can remove decks from a report and focus on just one.


You can have kids go the website or download and use the app which is on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and the Kindle Fire! They can also be used on Google Classroom! See this video to learn how.


Instead of using dollars to get a deck you use points. So for example, you load up your Boom account with $5 and get 400 points. Then, you can grab two 200 point decks or a 300 point deck and save your extra 100 points in your account for next time.


You can either purchase Boom Decks from Teachers Pay Teachers (you will get a code to use to redeem your deck) or right On BoomLearning. Your choice!


You can assign decks to your entire class. You can assign a deck to just a few students. I used this to assign challenges and reviews to some of my second graders.

Boom - assigning decks, changing password and more
Here you see that you can assign a deck to individual student, get a report on his work, change his password, and more!

You can find and grab free BOOM decks. Sorting your library into folders is a helpful option too. You can hide decks from students or have them visible. You can give them assignments or let them explore.
Boom deck view
You can also hide decks or cards from certain students or your whole class.

My Boom Decks:
(On Teachers Pay Teachers)

So know you know the answer to what are BOOM cards? With all of the options, there really is no reason not to try BOOM cards! What is your favorite thing about using them?

What are Boom Cards Pin

5 Tips to Kick Your Google Classroom Skills Up a Notch

Hey folks! Many of us are remote, so it's time to kick your Google Classroom skills up a notch! I have 5 easy tips for you today! You can read through this blog post for the tips, or if you prefer video, scroll down to the end and watch my three minute video!


Change the Stream Settings

Some teachers want students to be able to comment on the stream, some do not. Change the settings to whichever you prefer. Some teachers like the stream to be only for teacher announcements and others use the stream to check in with students and have a class conversation. It's up to you!

Change what is Shown in the Stream

The stream can look cluttered with both announcements and assignments. Many like to take the assignments out of the steam, so students have to go to Classwork to see them. To do so, click on the stream settings wheel and change it to what you want as shown in my picture!

Assignment Tips

Assign to Certain Students

You can differentiate with Google Classroom by assigning items to some students, but not all! To do so, go to the assignment and click where it says "For" and this drop-down menu comes up. Choose who you want to assign it to, check off their names, and you're good to go!

Add Rubrics to Assignments

You can also add a rubric to assignment! Click here, build a rubric right in classroom, or upload your own!

A Tip for Giving Student Feedback

Use Google Keep so you don't have to type 25 individual comments for every assignment! Here's where to find it when you are looking at a student's assignment).

You can create and save comments (kind of like sticky notes) either in Google Keep beforehand or right in this window. Then copy and paste into the comment for your student!
If you are using Google and Google Classroom and want some ideas for resources to use, check out my blog post here

If you want to watch me show you the tips in action, here is a quick 3 minute video! Which is your favorite of the 5 tips I have that will help you kick your Google Classroom skills up a notch? Comment and let me know!

Games for Virtual Meetings

Let's talk about fun games for virtual meetings, especially since many teachers and students are going to using remote learning this fall instead of going back to school in person!

There are so many fun games and activities, and they are great for keeping kids engaged and building classroom community!


That's Me!

That's Me is simple and will help students make connections and get to know their new peers. One student says a fact about themselves like "I have two sisters" and everyone who also does can shout out "That's me".

20 Questions

Easy! Just like in person! You can use a white board or virtual white board to keep track of the number of questions too.

Mystery Bag

Also simple and fun - bring a bag to the meeting with items and give your students clues or have them ask questions to guess what's in the bag!

Scavenger Hunts

These are fun and will keep kids very engaged and you'll have lots of laughter! Choose random items and give kids a time limit (30-60 seconds for ex.) to run off screen and find the items. Here are a few ideas:
  • Remote control
  • piece of fruit
  • pillow
  • blanket
  • something blue
  • spoon
  • a sock
  • hand sanitizer


I have mentioned before but Kahoot is fun online! You will need to have an account and find iyour Kahoot to host it.  Here is a post with more details on how to do it!

4 Corners 

Have kids get out their dry erase board or paper and marker. Students choose a number (you decide the range but for littles 1-6 or 1-4 is good) , write it on the board , hold it up for people to see,  and then the teacher rolls a real or virtual die (this online die is fun!) . The number you roll is out so if you roll a 3, everyone who is holding up a 3 is out. Continue until you only have one player left!

Simon Says 

Just play like you would in real life! You know how to do it! Great for a brain break or to get wiggles out!

Other fun Activities

Sing Alongs 

Not really a game but still fun! Sing alongs with famous songs (This post has 25 song ideas) ! Post the lyrics - you can search youtube for karaoke versions and let the fun start ( also you can use  Kidz bop or Disney songs too so you can be sure it's kid friendly)!

What are your favorite  games for virtual meetings? Comment and let us know!

Back to School Math Review - Digital!

Back to school math review 3rd grade cover
I don't usually do this... but I think a lot of your students might need a digital back to school math review! This summer I got worried about those kiddos who have been out of the school buildings since March and that they may have more "learning loss or "summer slide" then usual. So I decided to create a resource for second grade and third grade! they would help you with in class math centers, or hybrid or remote learning /distance learning!

The second grade resources review important first grade math skills and concepts, and includes activities, games, review videos from yours truly, and how to videos for kids on how to complete the activity. The third grade math review reviews second grade math skills but is similar. I wanted to give you a walk through of the third grade resources so you can see if it would help your students.

Second grade teachers, you can see yours here and get details to determine that it would indeed help!


This reviews important second grade math skills!

word problems
If you're not sure what interactive slides means, check out my Facebook video!
measurement word problems
money word problems
Adding numbers game
add 10 and add 100 game
Games will keep students super engaged and not realize they are working!
place value up to 999
video review lessons
counting within 1,000place value
arrays and repeated addition
Hundreds grid
This will really help students, especially if they are at home and don't have a hundreds chart on hand.

They love the interactive dice and spinners too, and you can play these/complete these during virtual meetings or as instructional tools in your lesson! Use the back to school math review however it helps your students! And if you need tips on how to Navigate Google Classroom and assign it/share it, click here.

Resources for Digital Seat Work

Digital seat work on a computer

This year, many of us are going to either be in school, with 1-1 devices, or  hybrid or remote, but regardless you might be looking for great resources for digital seat work! Now in the past, seat work might remind you of Ramona the Pest by Beverly Clearly (the kindergartener was fascinated with seat work) or something that kept students at desks... well, students have to be at their desk or area because of the pandemic, so we might as well find some quality options, right? Let's explore!


Spelling City

Let's start with Spelling City! I used Spelling City a ton with second graders and it also has vocabulary options. In fact I even wrote a blog post about the 6 best Spelling City activities , since not all the activities are great for helping kids learn how to spell (but these 6 are). You can input your own lists, use lists provided, assign lists to certain students, and even assign certain activities to some or all of your class. It is great for differentiation! There is a free basic account and a paid premium account, which our lovely PTA paid for.
Spelling city website image

Raz Kids /Learning A-Z

Raz Kids has been a life saver during the pandemic. It allowed me to do reading lessons with my intervention groups through Google Meet. Leveled books are available (by GR level and lexile) in fiction and non fiction. You can display books during online lessons, or students can read themselves on a device. I also love that there are fluency passages, readers' theaters and more! You can also see what students have been doing on the website. Our school does have a Raz-Plus account fyi.


Epic right now is having a free 30 day trial! Students can read trade books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, A Bad Case of the Stripes, Clifford, and much more. They have suggestions for educators and other resources.

Read Works

Read Works is known for their online reading comprehension activities and is popular, reaching more than 1 million educators and their classes. They have a whole section to support educators that are going remote and even a free webinar.  Note, you do need to score the comprehension activities yourself as far as I understand.


BoomLearning is super fun! My second graders loved using it and would beg for more Boom cards. Boom decks tend to be easy for kids to use, and are self-checking. Teachers also get data on how their students are doing! I noticed they can now login with their Google accounts which makes it even easier.
I have a small amount of Boom Decks - check them out:


Google Slides

Slides are an interactive option. Students usually move letters, moveable objects and/or type on the screen to complete the activities! Check out these images from two Google Slides activities for second and third grade (both are available at second and third grade levels).
Third Grade Back to School Math Review

Second Grade Back to School Starter Kit for the first week of school 

image from 2nd grade back to school starter kitimage from second grade back to school starter kit - writing prompt

Google Forms  

Using Google forms is another way to incorporate paperless seat work. They are multiple choice (usually) , self checking, and provide teachers with a lot of data for teachers. Here are two examples of Google Forms I used with my own students and have on TPT.

A video peek at the Self-Grading Main Idea resource

A Google form that is a mixed practice found in my 2nd Grade Back to School Starter Kit
Google Form from Back to School Starter Kit
What is your favorite of all the resources for digital seat work? Or did I miss a great option? Let us know!! 
computer with digital seat work