Social-Emotional Learning While Teaching Remotely

Post in News by NinaSclafani on 27th April 2020

Transitioning to remote/distance learning is a major adjustment for students. The change of learning environment, interruption of schedule, and lack of in-person social interactions with their teachers and peers can take its toll. But social-emotional learning (or SEL) activities can help in such a transition and can be key to a successful educational experience, no matter the setting.

What is SEL?

Social-emotional learning is “is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success” (as defined by the Committee for Children). Having strong social-emotional skills allows students to process their feelings and emotions, resulting in better self-discipline, impulse control, and social intelligence.

We have rounded up some of our favorite SEL activities you can easily incorporate into your curriculum, even while you are teaching your students remotely.

Create a Vision Board Using Google Slides

A vision board is a collage of images and words that represent a person’s goals or dreams. It can represent things you want to learn, do, or accomplish during a short or long period of time.

The benefits of having your students specify their goals with a vision board include:

  • Goal setting
    • With excessive free time, it’s easy to waste hours watching TV or aimlessly searching the Internet. Goals help keep students on track by providing motivation and inspiration.
  • Personal reflection
    • Students can reflect on what they would like to improve, whether it’s learning about a new subject or meeting a challenge they would not have attempted before. They can also reflect on what is most important to them and see if they are channeling their energy into those subjects or not.
  • Student pride and ownership in work – bringing celebration into learning.
    • As tasks are completed, student can feel a sense of accomplishment

Using Google Slides, you can easily have your students create their own vision boards. These boards can represent the students’ goals for the remainder of the school year or represent what they would like to accomplish over the summer.

Using Google Slides, you can:
• Easily create and share templates with students
• Assign the project using Google Classroom
• Encourage student collaboration
• Easily provide feedback to students
• Have students share and present their work with their peers in a vision board gallery

Creating a vision board - example
Create your own vision board (as I did above) and share it with your students for inspiration.

For step-by-step instructions on how you can complete this project with your students, take a look at our OTIS for Educators course, “Creating Vision Boards Using Google Slides.”

Student-Peer Advice with Flipgrid

During times of stress, it is beneficial to encourage students to channel their energy into helping others. This practice is called “psychological distancing” and it encourages students to think about what strategies they would use to help others in need.

According to Yale professor Marc Brackett in his interview with Education Week, when psychological distancing, students “start thinking about all the strategies they would use to be compassionate to someone [else], that they may not use for themselves.” As they speak through issues, they not only help their peers, but themselves through these issues as well.

Using free and safe video recording platforms like Flipgrid, students can record video of themselves answering prompts provided by the teacher and share their answers with their classmates.

Using Flipgrid

  • Students and Teachers can access the platform for free
  • To record, you can use any camera-enabled device
  • It can be used by everyone from pre-k to adulthood
  • It can be used to teach digital citizenship by encouraging students to be respectful of others on a digital platform
  • Students can use this technology for creating and not just consuming
  • Students can share ideas and voices globally
  • Students can personalize their work by changing filters and adding emojis

Encourage students to record themselves using Flipgrid to answer SEL conversation prompts. Prompts can include questions like:

  • What advice would you give a friend who is currently feeling angry or disappointed? How would you suggest they manage their feelings in order to feel better?
  • If your friend is going through a recent change at home or school, what strategies would you suggest to them in order to best adapt to that change?
  • If one of your friends is not handling a problem well, what advice would you give them in order to help them through the issue? Have you ever experienced not handling a problem well? If so, what do you wish you had done better?

The above questions were found in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina resources page, and were modified to include a psychological distancing lens.

For an in-depth look at how you can use Flipgrid with your students, view “Creating Student Voice with Flipgrid,” available on Otis for Educators.

More Resources

For more tips and strategies on how to incorporate SEL into your curriculum, even while you are working remotely with your students, Teq’s team of PD Specialists have been busy creating content for our online PD platform, OTIS (which you can subscribe to for free for a limited time). Videos include:


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our schools and learning, Teq is making all of our PD courses on OTIS for educators FREE to help schools and districts implement distance learning. Sign up for a FREE Basic account!

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