Social Emotional Learning continues to be one of the most beneficial ways to teach our young students skills beyond standard core educational subjects. These specific SEL resources are partnered with children’s books about self-awareness that will help students identify emotions, practice valuable social skills, and grow in overall personal development.
Below are a few of my favorite social emotional learning lessons that are focused on skills around building self-awareness.
A book about teaching kindness and confronting bullying, Spaghetti in a Hot dog Bun, is the story of a girl named Lucy who shows how much courage she has to embrace her “weird-ness.”
The goal with this lesson is to enhance your classroom community by celebrating all of your unique qualities. Some people call our differences weird, and being weird is an awesome thing. The message is that if nobody were different in your class, it would be pretty boring!
There are other important lessons to touch on with this book like treating others the way you want to be treated and kindness – both great topics to also expand on with this read!
Funny, insightful, and colorful – Red: A Crayon’s Story, is the story about a little blue crayon having an identity crisis — he is labeled red, but he is blue! Everyone tries to help red, but no matter what happens, he feels discouraged. No matter what he does, he can’t seem to be RED. Finally, he realizes with a little help from a friend that he is blue – he sees that he needs to follow his own path, and stay true to himself.
Through this story, we can teach our students that despite what our outside looks like, we all have talents that make us special.
In Baditude! a boy named Noodle believes EVERYTHING stinks! Nothing is fun or cool and everything is lame or boring. His bad attitude is even effecting his friends and family!
Through this story, we can teach our students how to look at situations during their day in a positive way, and that a positive attitude can be contagious!
A seemingly Perfect Square, this book is the story of a square that becomes imperfect – he gets holes in him, he gets wrinkles… and with each imperfection, square figures out something he is now able to do that he wasn’t able to do before.
Through this story, we can show our students that being perfect is rigid, and that our imperfections are not only okay, but they make us who we are!
A bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude, The Bad Seed is the story about a “bad seed” that lies, cuts in line, never washes his hands, and is always late. The bad seed thinks that he can’t help it because he had a rough life!
One day, bad seed makes a choice that even though he had all kinds of bad things happen to him, he can still make a choice to be good. Bad seed may not be perfect, but he is making choices to be a good seed.
Through this story, we can show our students that no matter what the circumstances, everyone makes their own choices and we are all capable of “goodness.”
You Get What You Get – a book about Melvin who loves to have things go HIS way. He throws a fit every time he doesn’t get what he wants.
Throughout the story, Melvin learns to handle disappointment, and to be grateful for what he is given.
This book also helps spark a conversation about what is fair is not always equal – this concept is tricky for young children!
Through this story, our students can relate to Melvin and realize that disappointment can be overcome!
A relatable picture book, Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker is about a girl who talks non-stop and as a result, she isn’t really getting anything done (at home OR at school). This book shows that when you stop and listen to others, you can really learn so much and be super productive!
This lessons focus takes the concept of listening one step further to show kids a method of being a good listener instead of just being a great talker.
Effective listening focuses on 6 aspects of being a good listener, and throughout the lesson your students will get to see examples and non-examples of this, and they will understand WHY it is so important to be a good listener!
Teaching students through these unique and engaging SEL lessons will assist them in better understanding their actions, emotions and thoughts – creating a more calm and enjoyable classroom community.
Social emotional learning doesn’t have to be complicated! If you’re looking to add in these simple and short SEL lessons, or are interested in other SEL-related resources, be sure to check out the library HERE!
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