Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools


Teaching Social-Emotional Skills Amid COVID-19

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Summary:  This article is part of an Education Week project called “How We Go Back to School.”  This installment addresses various aspects of the importance of social-emotional learning skills (SEL) to help students address stress and anxiety and to help teachers discover strategies that will help to achieve this goal.

Source:  Editors and Contributors, Education Week, September 2, 2020

Why Students Need Social-Emotional Learning Now

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Summary:  This is a special report from Ed Week addressing the importance of social-emotional learning as schools re-open for the 2020-21 school year.  The report offers the results of two surveys which attest to the concerns of students as they contemplate going back for the 2020-21 school year.  Their levels of stress and anxiety are clearly a factor as the new year begins.  Social-emotional learning (SEL) offers a way to help students navigate these concerns and schools would be wise to attend to these needs by implementing SEL.

Source:  Arianna Prothero, Education Week, September 2, 2020

Supporting School Community Wellness with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) During and After a Pandemic

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Summary:  This research brief from Penn State, looks at the importance of social-emotional learning in supporting students, teachers, and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. High quality SEL implementation can help schools and communities to deal with the continued challenges presented by the pandemic. The article looks at how SEL can help promote wellness and the authors identify bright spots (best practices) and ripe spots (opportunities) associated with SEL implementation.

Source:  Cipriano, C., Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., & Brackett, M. A.(2020). Supporting school community wellness with social and emotional learning (SEL) during and after a pandemic. University Park, PA: Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University.

The Essential Teacher Trait That Has Emerged in the Pandemic

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Summary:  This article underscores the importance of the teacher-student connection and empathy as means to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic.  These traits, as well as other social-emotional skills and competencies, have helped teachers and students alike overcome some of the challenges presented by online learning.  

Source:  Elizabeth Heubeck, Ed Week – TopSchoolJobs, July 28, 2020

How to Create Community in a Virtual Classroom

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Summary:  This article provides some suggestions as to how to build community while learning remotely.  Some of the same activities that would be used in face-to-face learning can also be adapted to online learning.  Some examples include using cyber icebreakers, creating classroom rules and procedures, creating class traditions, doing collaborative projects, and  maintaining individual relationships.

Source:  Susan Yergler, Edutopia, August 17, 2020

The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged—Even From Home

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Summary:  This article talks about student engagement in online learning and the importance of the science of motivation.  The authors focus on creating a sense of belonging, connecting work to purpose and relevance, and hard work, failure, and mindset.

Source:  Ian Kelleher and Chris Hulleman, Edutopia, August 21, 2020

8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom

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Summary:  This article suggests both synchronous and asynchronous strategies that teachers can use to engage students during virtual learning.  These strategies include such ideas as using Zoom Chat for student responses, breakout rooms for small-group instruction, and other ideas for asynchronous instruction.

Source:  Emelino Minero, Edutopia, August 21, 2020

Lessons in Leadership: Principal Prioritizes Equity, Preparing Students for World Beyond West Philadelphia

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Summary:  This is an interview with Richard Gordon, a high school principal in West Philadelphia, who has won many accolades for his leadership.  He comments on the importance of community partnerships and involvement in helping schools meet the needs of its students. He goes on to comment on his focus on equity and how it is preparing students for life beyond schooling.

Source:  Roger Riddell, Education DIVE, August 25, 2020

7 Ways to Embed Character Development Virtually

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Summary:  This article from, provides several tips to help develop character while teaching virtually. These tips concern self-care, inspiration, goal setting, problem-based learning, journaling, involving parents and families, and leading peers and colleagues.

Source:  Arthur Schwartz, President,, August 27, 2020

Help Students Process COVID-19 Emotions With This Lesson Plan

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Summary:  Research has shown that one of the ways students can process their concerns and emotions over the COVID-19 Pandemic is through the arts.  This article suggests a lesson plan called “Turn Off the News” which is based on a song of the same name by Lukas Nelson, son of the legendary singer, Willie Nelson.  A set of questions will help students react to two different versions of this song,  Finally, students are encouraged to create their own version of the song.

Source:  Dr. Maurice Elias, Greater Good Magazine, August 14, 2020