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!

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