Teaching SEL virtually

Patty McLain
Teaching SEL virtually may look a little different, but the principles are still the same. Just remember that the fancy apps and tools may be nice, but you can still cover everything you need with your students with simple, easy to use tools and strategies. The key is to make sure that your students are still learning about themselves and others while they are in a virtual environment so keep intention and exposure as your goal more than perfection and that will ease some of the stress that comes with teaching this content in a new way.

Here are a few tips that have helped me teach SEL virtually.

First, I love to begin class with a quick calming strategy like deep breathing or starfish hand just to make sure everyone is feeling regulated before we begin. You can do this in live virtual classes and at the beginning of our recordings, too. You can also make a quick calming video and post it in your Google Classroom or on whatever platform your students access their assignments - that way they can use it whenever they need.

Next, don’t reinvent the wheel. There are tons of wonderful resources out there, including the Seltrove student planners, that have stellar SEL lessons and activities that can be easily modified for any virtual approach or platform.

Other wonderful resources, like all of the free Google tools, allow students to connect and collaborate. Be sure to use interactive tools that encourage connection, relationship building, and working together because those opportunities will allow students to use SEL skills in action.

Having a digital toolbox full of those calming strategies, resources, and tools in your online space will allow you to give some individual extension activities to students who need them the most and it will also make it easier for you so you’re not scrambling to find something to meet their needs at 9pm on a Sunday.

Last but not least, don’t forget to create an opportunity for students to check in with you directly. This could look like a virtual entrance or exit ticket in Google Forms or like virtual conferences where you check in about goals, projects, and/or assignments and assessments. Virtual learning is so hard for many students because they feel like they are isolated, but SEL and intentional check-ins can help!

What else helps you with SEL in your virtual classroom?

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