Social Emotional Learning and Student Engagement

April 26, 2017

We had a full house in the Chicago Literacy Alliance’s “Roombinson Crusoe” and “Swiss Family Roombinson” conference rooms for the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Student Engagement training, led by Caryn Curry. Participants learned how social and emotional learning is not only a list of skills but a process, and they experienced SEL “in action” when two community partners presented examples of how they integrate SEL into their own curricula.

Full Presentation Here: SEL PowerPoint


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What is SEL?


Climate. Behavior. Skill.

Climate: How do you CREATE a climate that is safe for learning?


  • Begin with a quote for students to reflect on. This allows for a transition into your program.
  • Create “Shared Agreements” for the group and refer back to them as needed.
  • Conclude the lesson with students sharing what stood out to them, what they want to share with others, or a short-term goal.

Behavior: How do you MODEL the behavior you want students to learn?


  • Greet the students. Provide full attention when talking to them; use their names, if possible.
  • Allow students to hear you express emotions and share examples of how you control impulses.
  • Communicate respectfully to the students and the other adults in the room.
  • Ask students for help.
  • If you make an error, take responsibility.

Skills: What are examples of how to teach skills/competencies to students?


  • Allow time for personal reflection
  • Provide time for students to talk with each other without interrupting.
  • Plan activities for students to build empathy by working to understand how others feel in different situations.


Reflection. Reflection. Reflection.

A key component of SEL is reflection and goal setting. Participants ended the morning reflecting on how they already address standards, ways they can more intentionally integrate other standards, and writing concrete steps to reach their new goals.

SEL reflection resources for your program:



  1. Visit our previous SEL Training blog posts for more resources.
  2. Social and Emotional Learning Practices (2015)
  3. and search “SEL” or “Social and Emotional Learning”

Additional Websites

Additional Articles/Blogs


  • Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators. Elias et al, 1997
  • Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom. Merrell and Gueldner, 2010
  • The Lesson Planning Handbook: Essential Strategies That Inspire Student Thinking and Learning. Peter Brunn, 2010



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