Find great SEL resources from 2017–2018 award-winning teachers.
In early 2017, we launched the Social and Emotional Learning Fund to support teachers implementing social and emotional learning in their classrooms. We sought to support fresh ideas and projects that create places, environments and practices that value belonging, well-being, tolerance, compassion, listening, non-violence, inclusiveness, working productively together and looking out for one another both as distinct skills or integrated within academics.
Meet the 2017-2018 Teacher Innovation Awardees. We’re thrilled to put their innovative work on display through SEL in Action: The 2017-2018 Social and Emotional Learning Teacher Innovation Awards.
This book and website showcases the highlights, challenges, tips and tricks to include SEL in schools and classrooms. It’s full of pictures and ideas, obstacles overcome, and students learning and feeling and sharing. We hope that you’ll learn from their experience and adapt it into your own communities. We invite you to download a digital copy.
Page through the book to see SEL in action. Peruse the resources below to learn from the resources that have guided these innovative teachers each step along the way.
“The SEL Innovation Grant will allow me to implement new projects in my class through graphic novels and the use of technology in order to promote the overall theme of our class…tolerance! I plan to purchase a class set of Maus by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel of a non-fictional Holocaust survivor’s experience. I hope to purchase a class set of tablets to promote digital literacy as well language acquisition through the use of language apps and online tools. Finally, I hope to take my students on a field trip to New Orleans in order to experience the WWII Museum.”
“The Best Me I Can Be! at Kate Smith Elementary School will train teachers to teach social/emotional skills using the literature of children’s author Julia Cook. In addition to professional development, “Calm Down Corners” in each classroom will be created to encourage students to use these newly-acquired SEL skills to regulate their emotions and return to a state of calm. These skills will help create a school-wide environment of successful problem solvers. Author Julia Cook will also visit the school to expand students’, teachers’, and parents’ knowledge of SEL and how to apply it in their everyday live.”
“Anchorage’s East High is the most ethnically diverse school in the Nation, and 80% of the student body is or previously was classified as English Language Learners. This project aims to empower immigrant and refugee students to make short films on Social-Emotional Learning. Students can choose to create one film, or to engage in a semester-long curriculum that will enable them to receive credit, which is often a necessity for graduation. This program will provide SEL for participating students, the entire student body who will view the films, and community members in Anchorage through a public film screening.”
“The goal of the PS 232 Q initiative is to create and implement student-led SEL literature based lessons that develop the five core competencies of SEL for students in our school community. The first dimension of the initiative is to create two 5th grade model SEL classrooms (ICT and G&T). They will serve as model classrooms where SEL skills and strategies are embedded in daily and unit lessons. In the second dimension, heterogeneous student teams from the model classes will select literature, create SEL literature based activities, and implement their SEL lessons in all K-4 classrooms within the school.”
“Addressing a very critical question for adolescents in the process of forming their identity, our project will focus on the question "Who am I and where does my identity come from?" Through reading, discussion, writing, role playing, physical fitness, and art, students will understand what factors influence their identity and how their identities inform their values, ideas, and actions. Once our students better understand their own identities, they will be better equipped to understand and manage their emotional needs, show empathy for others, and have the ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with their peers, parents, and teachers.”
“Central High School will pilot a new social-emotional learning (SEL) mentoring and train-the-trainer initiative. Students will be at the forefront of these efforts by providing training, mentoring, and modelling to peers. The mentorship component will bridge positive peer relationships between upperclassmen who have demonstrated academic success and a high level of emotional intelligence with underclassmen who have struggled socially, emotionally, academically, and/or behaviorally. Train-the-trainer sessions will give eleventh grade students the opportunity to teach Yale University’s RULER curriculum to ninth graders. Equipping and empowering students with SEL competencies and leadership roles will help infuse SEL more deeply into our school culture.”
“The SEL Innovation Award for Teachers will fund the "Agents of Change" program (agentsofchange.online). “Agents of Change” are students who are offered opportunities to make contemporary art while defining their identity, participating in and developing community and promoting a sense belonging through building and sustaining social and emotional skills. The "Agents of Change" are empowered to promote initiatives they elect as important and significant to who they are in the world around them. The project instructors develop partnerships that facilitate collaborative lessons with artists, curators and art institutions to deepen curriculum and content knowledge to facilitate meaningful experiences.”
“Students at Anderson High School (Austin, TX) lead weekly homeroom lessons to increase community, inclusivity and safety on campus. Sub-groups of these student leaders design the lessons that teach specific SEL competencies and skills to address student concerns such as consent, acceptance, safety, and decision-making. We will hold two trainings for the student leaders to build their capacity to facilitate the lessons and conversations around these topics with their peers. The first will teach student leaders how to facilitate community building circle discussions and the second will be content specific based on student needs on campus.”
“The Inspiring Teens' Future is designed to equip teenagers with the life skills necessary to succeed academically, socially, emotionally, professionally and economically. The program is built on five essential components: Mindset Development, Vision Setting, Interpersonal Communications, Leadership, and Financial Management. By giving the students the space confidence through experiential learning, students are able to identify and manage their emotions, create a clear and compelling vision board, practice the art of communication, identify an issue in the community they would want to solve and create a financial portfolio plan.”
“Glover CLC’s project, “The Big 3”, is an expansion of the school’s positive behavior and restorative behavior management systems. The project, visually depicted with three apples, and the motto, “An apple a day will help you find your way,” will help students build resilience through three focused goals: Treat Others Right, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Smart Decisions. This all-inclusive project will engage students, staff, families, and community members with professional development that will support social and emotional learning for our students by valuing and using pro-active ways to maintain a positive classroom community.”
“The Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentoring project at Cumberland Regional High School will support the transition to high school for academically at-risk ninth-graders. The project will expand and enhance the Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentoring program at CRHS, which partners freshmen with role model Senior Mentors to work together on character and leadership development, the promotion of positive school culture, and setting and progressing toward goals for academic success. The innovative program facilitates positive outcomes by supporting student development of social and emotional learning skills and competencies as well as effective strategies that promote positive behaviors, academic success, improved school attendance, and on-time graduation.”
“The South Anchorage High School Peer Mentorship team is proud to provide support for incoming and current freshman students to help ease their transition and create a pathway for success in high school. The mentorship program is self-funded through donations and fundraising efforts. The grant award will provide needed support for the desire to reach out to our minority and underserved populations, and any freshman student who demonstrates intensive disconnect, socially, emotionally and academically, from our school environment. The grant funds will be used to purchase incentives for participation in our gathering activities and in school-wide activities, for mentor training and education materials, and for program materials to use to work with the students.”
“Our goal is to further explore and plan for the integration of SEL across all academic disciplines, through participation at the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute for High School Educators. Subsequent to our attendance at the Institute, our team of educators (2 Administrators, 2 Humanities Teachers, 2 STEM Teachers, a Counselor and Special Educator) plans to share the RULER resources, tools, and training that we acquire with colleagues who advise ninth grade students. Our plan is to develop four SEL advisory lessons (one per quarter) and then train the ninth grade advisors to implement them during the 2017-2018 school year.”
“The JMS Mindful Kitchen: Savoring Being Fully Present in the Kitchen and at the Table. Beyond getting families back to the table to learn basic SEL competencies, the program will showcase the kitchen as a meditative practice space with formalized opportunities to practice ‘paying attention’. The JMS Mindful Kitchen will capitalize on food’s innate social and emotional power and its ability to connect the mind and body. Program components such as guided cooking meditations, mindful tasting parties, and an edible school herb garden will teach participants to be mindful, to be intentionally aware of all five senses, and to be fully immersed in each delicious moment which will cultivate healthy, life-long relationships with REAL food.”
“This project will expand upon the foundation Glendale Elementary school has built around social emotional learning. Our plan is to strengthen teachers’ capacities to support students’ sensory and emotional regulation. This grant will allow our multi-disciplinary team to strengthen universal practices around sensory regulation using Zones of Regulation curriculum and mindfulness lessons in conjunction with continued development and implementation of our Tiger’s Den, a sensory regulation room. The Tiger's Den is a short-term intervention with the goal of students becoming more aware of their sensory needs and solutions and to carry that awareness back into the classroom and other school environments.”
“Succeed Boston will educate, empower and support middle school students who are suspended in Boston Public Schools through targeted SEL curriculum, Restorative Justice, and ongoing school-based support. 12 school-based staff will be provided with training and tools necessary to facilitate a Restorative Reentry process and increase the SEL capacity of students’ home-schools. Our aim is to build a bridge between our short-term intervention program and students’ home-schools to create a model for a supportive, restorative and successful reentry for suspended students. This bridge will utilize school-based relationships to increase students’ sense of self-efficacy, school-connectedness, and resilience.”
“Amphitheater High School has a high population of English language learner and refugee students who often come to our school with limited language and math ability. We've developed a program that meets students at their level, differentiating all the way down to a kindergarten level if necessary. The keys to our success are: recruiting tutors to reduce the student-teacher ratio as low as possible, using hands-on manipulatives, and differentiating instruction through the ST Math software program which is entirely visual based. This creates a robust, inclusive environment where success is possible without the barriers of language.”
“Ridgedale Middle School’s project, “Prosthetic Hands for Change” uses 3D printers to design and create prosthetic hands for children who lost their hands. Special education students have the opportunity to work together on digital printing software on their computers to design hands for individual children using suggestions from the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge. From there, the individual pieces of the hands are put together. The finished products are shipped to the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge where they are given to children in need. This project allows students to work as a team to create a product that will benefit someone whose needs are greater than their own.”
“The NoVo Foundation’s SEL Innovation fund grant will allow the implementation of flexible seating into Amber Chandler’s Project Based classroom. The flexible seating will include standing desks, bean bag chairs, ergonomic designs, as well as a couch to create a space that matches the creative work being done in room 255. Students’ social, emotional, and academic needs are being met as they collaborate in a safe environment. This grant is allowing the physical atmosphere of the room to meet the academic expectations of innovation.”
“Grammar in the Greenhouse: Amphitheater High School English language learners engage in Project-Based activities in the school greenhouse and garden. Newcomers from every corner of the world develop expertise in growing their own food and sharing it with the community. They build up confidence and emotional intelligence, connect with one another, gain relief from past traumatic experiences, and acquire collaboration skills in a new environment. English language development teachers serve as students’ advocates, as they teach students to communicate effectively in English within the context of real-world application of urban gardening, sustainability, and financial literacy.”