Using Pear Deck for Social-Emotional Learning

Caylie Gaccione
Curriculum Specialist
News on August 26 2021

We  frequently hear the term, “social and emotional learning,” but what does it really mean? Our goal as educators is to provide our students with opportunities for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making throughout daily instruction.   With a hectic workload both in and out of the classroom, the challenge can be finding the time for social and emotional learning (SEL) to occur in daily lessons. That’s where Pear Deck comes in. Let’s take a closer look at what this learning tool is all about!

What is Pear Deck?

Pear Deck is an “Add-On” for Google Slides that transforms your static slides into a dynamic and interactive presentation. Its features enhance student engagement and promote self-reflection. Teachers can add Pear Deck slides to blank or existing presentations, and  students can join by following a unique code or URL that allows them access to the lesson content. When using this powerful  tool you can insert questions for student responses while simultaneously receiving valuable student data. Once the Pear Deck “Add-On” is successfully added to Google Slides, you will see that Pear Deck appears on your screen as a side menu. On that side menu, you will see several options such as: Template Library, Ask Students a Question, Add Audio to Slides, Featured Content, and finally, a “How Pear Deck Works” video that will teach you all about what Pear Deck has to offer!

How can Pear Deck relate to SEL?

Now that we have an understanding of what Pear Deck is all about, we are ready to discuss how to utilize this learning tool to support the social and emotional well-being of our students. Successful promotion of students’ social and emotional development occurs when they are provided with tangible opportunities to apply learned skills. As teachers, our goal is to deliver explicit lessons that exercise these skills. 

Pear Deck is perfect for including quick check-ins throughout academic lessons. These can even be good for an impromptu brain break or of course, a social-emotional reflection. SEL opportunities can be added into Pear Deck using “Templates.” Templates are essentially grab-and-go prompts that you can ask your students. They can easily be customized to  the academic topic you are currently teaching. Under the Learning Development section within Templates, you will see the option to add in Social-Emotional Learning prompts. In this section you will see several slide options including: “Moment of Silence,”  “Bucket Filling,”  “Stress Check,”  “What do you Think?”, “Varying Perspectives,” “Active Listening,” “Opinion Variations,” “Self-Assessment,” and “Thank You.” As a functionality reminder, these prompts can be used independently or included within existing Slides presentations. You are able to preview each prompt on the side panel before adding it to your Slides presentations. 

Each of these SEL Pear Deck options will be a little different from one another. For example, the “Moment of Silence” slide will simply serve as instructional relief for students, while the “Bucket Filling” element will prompt students to create a drawing on the slide. Some of the other options to expect are “draggable” and “text” slides that provide helpful alternatives for student preferences. Another feature that we really like about Pear Deck is its slide customization component. Pear Deck provides the template, allows you to type in your own instructions for students, and supports any necessary edits to the images/text on the page. Pear Deck also provides helpful tips in the “Speaker Notes” section of the slides by offering further clarification on how to use the templates. This will be beneficial for you to quickly introduce SEL content to your students.

Tips and tricks

While we work to include SEL in our lessons, it’s important that we make sure that our actions, behaviors, and instructions truly benefit our students.

          1. Model the SEL prompts for students. When students see their educators as positive role models, they are likely to put observable concepts into practice themselves. For example, if we show our students that we are reflecting on our work and bringing awareness to our strengths and weaknesses, they will be likely to do the same.
          2. Utilize this new data and information to easily gain insights for understanding students’ feelings and emotions. If you are trying to determine how students are feeling about a particular lesson, try throwing in an SEL prompt to have them reflect in a fun, yet meaningful way. You’ll be amazed at what students share on a digital platform!
          3. Initiate meaningful discussions by sharing students’ responses. As the teacher, you will be able to view what students have completed on their SEL Pear Deck prompts. Use this as an opportunity to share what students have said (anonymously) to get discussion going amongst their peers.
          4. Determine if you would like your lesson to be student-paced or instructor-paced. Student-paced allows for students to complete the SEL lessons asynchronously, whereas instructor-paced allows you to connect with students in real-time and guide them through the SEL lessons synchronously. Either option is a great way to integrate social and emotional learning in your lessons.
          5. Utilize the Teacher Dashboard to view students’ responses (note that this is a Pear Deck Premium feature and will require payment after the 30 day free trial period). With the Teacher Dashboard you can see responses in real-time or view student’s answers at a later date.

We recommend taking the time to explore everything that Pear Deck has to offer on the Pear Deck site. Fully understanding its features will allow you to seamlessly integrate these ideas into lessons with your own students! Prepare to be impressed by the insights that you will gain by incorporating social and emotional learning into your curriculum using Pear Deck. To learn more about Pear Deck, check out our course, Using Pear Deck for Google Slides on the OTIS platform. Also, be sure to check out some of our other Pear Deck and SEL videos to learn more ways to enhance student engagement! Email us your classroom success stories and ideas at


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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