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January 18, 2019

How to Promote SEL in the Elementary Classroom

By Michelle Gay

An Alabama Elementary Teacher Uses SuperScience to Introduce Simple SEL Strategies

Grades 3–5, 6–8

    At the beginning of the school year, many third-grade students are excited, nervous, anxious and afraid. This is especially true for gifted students, who tend to be highly sensitive and who get over-stimulated more easily than most students.

    Currently, I am the Gifted Specialist at Foley Elementary School in Foley, Alabama. I teach third- and fourth-grade gifted students various units in science, math, art, music and social sciences. Each year, I implement different social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies that will provide tools for my students to handle their feelings.

    So I was thrilled when I read the article “What a Feeling!” in the September 2018 issue of Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. In the article, psychologist Jamie Howard explains the science behind five common emotions and gives students a guide on how to handle them. This article was perfect for introducing SEL and growth-mindset lessons to my students.

    In my class, students read each section in pairs. Afterwards, they discussed the article as a whole group and role-played each emotion (happiness, anger, sadness, fear and disgust).

    I also used the article as an introduction to our classroom’s “Calm Down Spot.” The Calm Down Spot is a place where students can go to get a handle on their emotions. It has a comfortable chair, timers, stress balls and a chart for breathing. My students love this area and use these tools to gain control again.

    Implementing the Calm Down Spot this year has prevented major discipline problems in my classroom.

    The article also includes an emotions checklist that I review monthly with my students.

    Here are a few other ways to incorporate SEL into your classroom:

    • Graffiti SEL Wall: This a wall in my classroom painted with chalkboard paint. Students respond to a prompt or question and write their thoughts on the wall. After reading “What a Feeling!” students wrote how they were unique in one word.



    • Feelings Check: At the beginning of class I do a feelings check with the class. Sometimes it leads to a mini-lesson on emotions.
    • Read-Alouds: I love to read books related to SEL and growth mindset to my class to help students understand and deal with certain emotions and behaviors.

    Even though I teach gifted students, SEL strategies like these can be helpful for all students. I recommend determining your students’ needs and selecting one strategy that will benefit your class.

    Discover what SuperScience can do for your SEL curriculum!

     

    Michelle Gay has been an educator for more than 20 years. A lifelong lover of science, she serves as the Gifted Specialist at Foley Elementary School in Foley, Alabama. 

    At the beginning of the school year, many third-grade students are excited, nervous, anxious and afraid. This is especially true for gifted students, who tend to be highly sensitive and who get over-stimulated more easily than most students.

    Currently, I am the Gifted Specialist at Foley Elementary School in Foley, Alabama. I teach third- and fourth-grade gifted students various units in science, math, art, music and social sciences. Each year, I implement different social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies that will provide tools for my students to handle their feelings.

    So I was thrilled when I read the article “What a Feeling!” in the September 2018 issue of Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. In the article, psychologist Jamie Howard explains the science behind five common emotions and gives students a guide on how to handle them. This article was perfect for introducing SEL and growth-mindset lessons to my students.

    In my class, students read each section in pairs. Afterwards, they discussed the article as a whole group and role-played each emotion (happiness, anger, sadness, fear and disgust).

    I also used the article as an introduction to our classroom’s “Calm Down Spot.” The Calm Down Spot is a place where students can go to get a handle on their emotions. It has a comfortable chair, timers, stress balls and a chart for breathing. My students love this area and use these tools to gain control again.

    Implementing the Calm Down Spot this year has prevented major discipline problems in my classroom.

    The article also includes an emotions checklist that I review monthly with my students.

    Here are a few other ways to incorporate SEL into your classroom:

    • Graffiti SEL Wall: This a wall in my classroom painted with chalkboard paint. Students respond to a prompt or question and write their thoughts on the wall. After reading “What a Feeling!” students wrote how they were unique in one word.



    • Feelings Check: At the beginning of class I do a feelings check with the class. Sometimes it leads to a mini-lesson on emotions.
    • Read-Alouds: I love to read books related to SEL and growth mindset to my class to help students understand and deal with certain emotions and behaviors.

    Even though I teach gifted students, SEL strategies like these can be helpful for all students. I recommend determining your students’ needs and selecting one strategy that will benefit your class.

    Discover what SuperScience can do for your SEL curriculum!

     

    Michelle Gay has been an educator for more than 20 years. A lifelong lover of science, she serves as the Gifted Specialist at Foley Elementary School in Foley, Alabama. 

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