5 Ways to Use Google Tools for SEL

Patricia Umhafer
PD Specialist
News on September 14 2021

Toolbox on keyboard

Our job as educators is to educate the whole student, and this includes providing social and emotional support.  If a student does not feel safe and supported, they cannot learn.  Like anything else, successfully integrating social-emotional learning into curricula requires an extensive culture shift and considerable stakeholder backing. However in recent years, technological developments have made the integration of SEL into classroom environments easier than ever.   Here we will discuss some tools that you can use within the Google Workspace to help support students with social-emotional learning without having to take too much time out of your already busy day.

Google Forms for emotional check-ins

In an age when texting and email are often the preferred forms of communication, your students may feel more comfortable expressing their feelings anonymously or through an online medium. This is where Google Forms comes in handy. It gives you the ability to create a space for emotional check-ins with your students. You can make this feature anonymous or require students to add a name or email. The check-in can be as simple as having them choose an emoji to express their feelings or respond freely to short answer questions. By doing emotional check-ins with Google Forms, you are also able to track and document your students’ responses should you need to reach out regarding their feedback.

Calming spaces with Google Sites

Google Sites is a great option for creating virtual calming spaces.  Sites are great because they can be easily personalized for each class, school, or teacher. You can include anything that suits you or your students like coloring pages, interactive stress-reducing games, digital art tools, calming music and videos, and more. Check out our own Virtual Calming Room created by Christine Bell.  


Mindfulness playlist with YouTube

YouTube has an endless supply of meditation and mindfulness videos for students, whether it be for our youngest learners or curious adults. You can use the platform for watching individual videos or creating a playlist for students. This is a great solution for many occasions, whether it be rainy indoor recess, a day you’re out of the classroom, or anytime a student may need to refocus. You can create mini-playlists for each day of the week, the first of the month, or even personalized “sets” for each student.

Digital journals with Docs or Blogger

Journaling can be a great way for students to express themselves, their feelings, experiences, and opinions. Starting with a blank page can be very overwhelming for younger students or those who don’t have a lot of journaling experience. A great way to get their feet wet is with journal prompts. You can add prompts directly to the Google Doc or enter them in Google Classroom. If the students are comfortable, these platforms can also turn into a collaborative space or live journal for students to communicate their ideas with others. Another great suggestion to get students comfortable and engaged when journaling is to have them create “All About Me” books or time capsules. This gets the students thinking and talking about themselves while creating a really memorable keepsake in the process. This can also be done in Slides, or Google Drawings.

Vision boards in Google Drawings

Traditionally, vision boards are a collage of words and pictures that depict goals, dreams, or motivations. They are usually physical objects placed in a location that is visible to their creator on a daily basis, but they can also be done in Google Drawings or slides. If made to be a collaborative exercise, students can jointly determine class, school, or community goals through adding thoughts to a shared vision board. By using a digital platform like Slides or Drawings you can even align this project to ISTE standards for students. For more ideas, take a look at the “Creating Vision Boards Using Google Slides” course.

There are tons of tools out there that can help you seamlessly integrate powerful SEL into your classroom. If you have other ideas on how to use Google Workspace apps for SEL, please share them with us at otis@teq.com. If you want more SEL ideas, check out the social-emotional learning category of our course library.


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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