Building Relationship Skills to Support Social-Emotional Learning


There has been an increased focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in recent years, with teachers working to incorporate strategies to help students recognize and manage their feelings and emotions. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “SEL can help all young people and adults thrive personally and academically, develop and maintain positive relationships, become lifelong learners, and contribute to a more caring, just world.”

Essentially, SEL is a framework divided into five categories: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills. Students who are actively using relationship skills will be able to communicate effectively with others, seek or offer support (empathy), participate in collaborative problem-solving situations, and develop and maintain positive relationships.

What are some simple strategies that can be used right away to nurture relationship skills?

  • Implement regular class meetings to solve problems, plan class events or projects, and serve as a means to encourage one another.
  • Incorporate collaborative projects so students can practice respectful communication.
  • Talk about empathy and the importance of thinking about how another person feels or thinks so responses show compassion.
  • Express gratitude at the end of class periods/days, acknowledging something or someone that has made an impact that they are thankful for.
  • Have regular read-alouds, selecting books* where characters work through emotions and feelings.

For more ideas please join our Social-Emotional Learning Round Table Discussion on Tuesday December 7th at 4pm ET, hosted by Karleen Vaughn, an education expert. Educators, thought leaders, and decision makers will discuss how to support the inclusion of SEL curriculum in classrooms and schools, including innovative strategies that can be used right away. Register today!

If you would like to request a recording of our past SEL discussions. Go Here.

*Books to augment Social-Emotional Learning experiences in the classroom.

Elementary level

  • The Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton
  • The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  • My Mouth is a Volcano! by Julia Cook
  • Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank
  • Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
  • Don’t Think About Purple Elephants by Susanne Merritt
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio
  • What Were You Thinking? A Story About Learning to Control Your Impulses by Bryan Smith

Middle School/High School level

  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • Bird by Zeta Elliott
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Chess Rumble by G. Neri
  • The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez
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