Kits to help integrate SEL in the classroom
SEL

5 kits to help integrate SEL in the classroom

Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps students develop healthy identities, manage emotions, and have increased empathy towards others. This probably comes as no surprise to you as an educator, but did you also know that students who experience SEL in the classroom show improved academic scores of 11 percent or more?

With statistics like this, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of SEL, but with tight budgets and a multitude of solutions to choose from, you might find yourself unsure where to start. To help, we’ve pulled together a list of the top SEL kits that teachers are using to form connections and build skills in their classrooms. 

Whether you’re integrating SEL in your classroom for the first time, or looking for ways to enhance your current program, these time-saving kits can help students build important skills while lowering their stress level (and maybe yours, too).

1. Nasco Reflections Journal Kit 

Nasco Reflections Journal Kit can help integrate SEL in the classroom through visual or written journaling

How it helps promote SEL in the classroom:

Sometimes the trickiest part to incorporating SEL into the school day is simply getting students started with an effective practice. Though some students might grumble at the thought of self-reflection through journaling, they might just be surprised by how much they enjoy it, and the Nasco Reflections Journal Kit can help them do just that.

This popular kit can be used as a journaling project inside or outside the classroom or as an art project in the art room. The included prompts are built around CASEL’s five core competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making and include topics such as “what are some of your best memories” or “describe your best friend.” 

The idea behind the prompts is to help students explore who they are, and where they fit in the world. Students are free to include their own thoughts and ideas through writing or visual journaling by drawing or adding other materials, such as magazine or newspaper clippings, that help them represent their emotions.

You can learn more about the Nasco Reflections Journal Kit in the video below, or visit this post for more ways to boost students’ SEL skills through journaling.

2. Nasco Managing Our Emotions at Home SEL Student/Family Kit

The Nasco Managing Our Emotions at Home Kit kit includes 50 different emotion activity cards that kids can use with teachers, parents, or other adults

How it helps promote SEL in the classroom:

It’s difficult even for adults to manage tough emotions sometimes, so it can also be especially tricky for young children. In order to understand how to interpret and appropriately respond to emotions, kids must first learn how to identify them, and that’s where the Nasco Managing Our Emotions at Home Kit can help. 

The kit includes 50 different emotion activity cards that kids can use with teachers, parents, or other adults. Each card displays a different expression or emotion that can be interpreted as happy, sad, scared, etc. Once students understand the situation being posed, they can quickly identify the feelings being expressed, as well as learn how to develop appropriate responses of their own. 

3. Nasco First Aid Classroom Kit: Student Mental Health

The Nasco First Aid Classroom Kit: Student Mental Health can help integrate SEL in the classroom by helping students be more mindful of how they might be feeling

How it helps promote SEL in the classroom: 

Given the state of the world today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes, and we all could use a little extra help managing our emotions. With this new and popular set, students have access to an “SEL first aid kit” that can help them recognize stressful moments and then practice the calming activities included in the kit. 

For younger students, the super-hero themed classroom kit includes 30 mental health first aid kits, sensory items, and a lesson plan that provides walkthroughs, discussion topics, and extension ideas that can be used in the classroom or at home. And, for teens and tweens, the kit also includes activities and sensory objects, such as a scented eraser, seashell, and plastic mirror, as well as a booklet that walks them through six different reflective and calming activities designed to help them become more emotionally and self-aware.

Find out how to make the most of your SEL funding

Find out how to make the most of your SEL funding

Get tips and recommendations for effective mental health and SEL supports in this comprehensive guide. 

4. Sew Your Stress Away Classroom Kit

Sewing can be a great activity for relieving stress.

How it helps promote SEL in the classroom:

When stress runs high it’s nice to have a task that helps refocus our attention. Activities like these allow us to take a step back, gain a little distance from the problem at hand, and then formulate a more appropriate response. Sewing can be a great activity for accomplishing this, and it’s one of the easier ways to integrate SEL in the classroom.

In this activity, students can discuss the effects of stress before they begin sewing, which helps them determine the tools or techniques they might need to help manage that stress. Then, by stitching together a fidget maze project using marbles and a pattern, students are able to learn important self-management tools to practice in other ways and with other activities.

5. Nasco Calming Corner Standard Kit 

Having a calming corner in your classroom can be especially helpful for children with behavioral or emotional issues.

How it helps promote SEL in the classroom: 

Having a calming corner in your classroom is beneficial for many reasons, but it can be especially helpful for children with behavioral or emotional issues. By using comfortable furnishings and tools to help students identify and manage their emotions, students are able to strengthen important SEL skills, redirect their attention, and return to learning faster. 

If you’re looking to incorporate a calming corner in your classroom, the Nasco Calming Corner Standard Kit is an easy and cost-effective way to get started, and it can also be a good way to include materials in your existing corner that you might not have already. The supplies included in the kit assist students in building self-management skills with soothing tactile manipulatives, wiggle cushions, a weighted pillow, and art supplies. 

Though there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to SEL, these kits are a great way to help students build stronger emotional and intellectual foundations that last a lifetime. 

If you’re looking for more ways to strengthen your SEL toolkit in the classroom, click here for more inspiration.

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