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Social and Emotional Learning

Social Studies in Nebraska committed to advancing social studies education at the highest level, but also developing the whole child. In utilizing the whole child approach, not only are we interested in academics, building the capacity of students to lead, ensuring a safe learning environment, and the physical health of all students, but also addressing the social and emotional  needs of students. Social studies and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) go hand-in-hand. The following are resources for social studies and other content area educators to access and use in the classroom.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision-making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others

Systemic Social and Emotional Learning

SEL can be more than just a 30-minute lesson. A systemic approach to SEL intentionally cultivates a caring, participatory, and equitable learning environment and evidence-based practices that actively involve all students in their social, emotional, and academic growth. This approach infuses social and emotional learning into every part of students’ daily lives—across all of their classrooms, during all times of the school day, and when they are in their homes and communities.

Examples of Social and Emotional Learning in Middle School Social Studies Instruction

The Compassion Project

The Compassion Project is a first-of-its-kind national initiative to provide compassion education to elementary school students across the US. Our mission is to ensure that every primary school student in the US understands what compassion is and how to demonstrate it in their lives.


Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills aren’t core content, but they’re the core of all content. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), these skills include how to “understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Implementing SEL and teaching character aren’t without challenges or debates. There’s a lack of consensus about how we measure SEL skills (and whether we should or even can), how technology fits into SEL instruction, and whether you can truly “teach” character. A few things are clear, however: SEL is important, teachers value it, and digital technology is part of our lives.

Explore the topics to learn more about character strengths like empathy, find actionable activities and edtech tools for the classroom, and discover ways to involve families in SEL learning.

Early Lessons From Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning

This report offers early lessons from an initiative focused on social and emotional learning (SEL) in elementary schools and out-of-school time (OST) programs. The lessons should be particularly valuable for leaders of school districts and OST intermediary organizations who are interested in implementing SEL programs in schools, OST programs, or both. The lessons are also relevant to leaders of individual schools and OST programs, technical assistance providers, funders, and researchers who are interested in understanding and supporting SEL.


Find and share resources for creating a healthy school culture by helping students develop skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, and make responsible decisions.


Supportive educators save students’ lives. Having just one visibly supportive educator in a school can ensure that LGBTQ students feel safe, welcomed, and encouraged to learn.

Teachers & Writers Magazine

Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) seeks to educate the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for students and teachers, and by providing a variety of publications and resources to support learning through the literary arts.

Wakelet @ ISTESEL Profile and Collections

This is a collection of resources curated by the ISTE COVID-19 SEL working group to assist students, parents, and educators in promoting students’ social, emotional, and cognitive development during remote learning.  #learningkeepsgoing

Updated February 2, 2023 11:46am