Social Emotional Learning Lesson Plans K - 5

Social Emotional Learning Lesson Plans K - 5

Education has taken a huge swing in the direction of social emotional learning and emotional intelligence. Curriculum is not just about math, science, social studies and language arts anymore. Now the Mood Meter, RULER, and concepts of Social Emotional Learning have carved their way into our classrooms and I for one am here for it.

I can see it in my son, who is four, that he has a hard time not just regulating his emotions but also identifying how he's feeling and what is causing those feelings. He is a child that will benefit from the tools and concept brought forward with social emotional learning in the classroom.  Tools such as the Mood Meter can be a great way to help younger children identify their emotions and their feelings, and for the older children, it can be a fantastic check in on their feelings and levels of energy throughout the day. Along with that, the acronym RULER (Recognize, understand, label, express and regulate) is another facet of social emotional learning that helps students, through a series of activities, build essentially a toolbox of emotional understanding and regulation strategies.

Aside from understanding our own emotions and demonstrating self awareness, social emotional learning also focuses social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. In a world where technology is all consuming, texting has become a primary form of communication, and keyboard warriors are at large, having a solid foundation of social emotional learning is crucial.  I genuinely fear for the future of our children if this kind of learning isn't heavily engrained in their classroom culture and reinforced in their homes.

With this thinking in mind, I've created social emotional learning lessons that focus around self and social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Each lesson is specifically catered to target the students' developmental level with optional extension activities and discussion questions. 

While these lessons can easily stand alone and be worked into a social emotional curriculum, I firmly believe that for social emotional learning to have a real and lasting impact on our children, it should be woven into the fabric of academic curriculum. As such, I have crafted these lessons to work along side the reading curriculum rather than entirely separate from. The Common Core area of Key Ideas and Details as well as Integration of Knowledge and Ideas are also inadvertently addressed in these lessons through discussion questions and optional additional activities. 

Each lesson works within the CASEL 5 framework as well as the CSED (Character & Social - Emotional Development) National Guidelines and are designed to be used with my picture book, Gerald the Shaggy Unicorn. 

Kindergarten / Grade 1 Lesson

The K- 1 lesson focuses on kindness, including others, identifying emotions in others and recognizing their own emotions. The linked slideshow is customizable and there is an option for an extension activity around cause and effect. 

CASEL 5 + CSED alignment: Social Awareness, Self Awareness, Moral Character (B), and Social Awareness (A)

Grade 2 / Grade 3 Lesson

The grades 2 - 3 lesson focuses on friendship, relationships, perspective taking, empathy*, and how our actions and words can impact others in a positive or negative way. 


CASEL 5 + CSED alignment: Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Moral Character (B), Civic Character (A), and Social Awareness (A)

Grade 4 / Grade 5 Lesson

The grades 4 - 5 lesson focuses on friendships and understanding relationships, self reflection and self awareness, and works in character analysis as well. 

CASEL 5 + CSED alignment: Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision Making, Interpersonal / Relationship Skills (A), Moral Character (B) Social Awareness (A)

I welcome any and all feedback on how these lessons went in your classrooms! If you choose to download and use a lesson, please shoot me a message or leave a comment with how it went!

Feature Image: Creator: Yevhenii Dubinko Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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