3 Signature SEL Practices for the Classroom
1. WELCOMING RITUAL
Time: 1-10 minutes
Activities for Inclusion
Establish safety and predictability. Support contribution by all voices. Set norms for respectful listening. Encourage students to connect with one another.
- Express joy in seeing students
- Focus on community building
- Integrate student culture and background
- Integrate social justice principles
- Promote interpersonal interactions
- Include student voice in announcements and leadership
- Act as “warm demanders” (warm affect, plus rigor and high expectations)
- Hold class circles and morning meetings
- Check in with RULER Mood Meter and charter
- Start with positive expectations, feedback and/or celebrations
- Play name games to develop relationships
- Welcome students warmly in all settings, on time or late
- Make breakfast/snacks easily accessible.
- This translates to “glad to see you!”
2. ENGAGING COMMUNICATION PRACTICES
Time: 1-15 minutes
Sense-Making and “Brain Breaks
Intentionally build SEL skills. Foster relationships, cultural humility and cultural responsiveness. Promote empowerment and collaboration.
- Use empowering teacher language
- Plan and reflect based on student work
- Encourage problem-solving among students
- Develop ethnic and racial identity
- Analyze opportunity gaps and stereotype threats
- Engage with service learning and community
- Utilize student and community funds of knowledge
- Instruct on standards-based SEL skills
- Model and practice classroom routines
- Give turn-and-talk time to practice sharing and listening
- Give brain breaks and let students stand/stretch
- Give opportunities for participatory student interaction
- Use RULER Mood Meter strategy lessons, Meta-Moments, Blueprints, restorative conferences, Second Step Lessons
- Provide inquiry - and project-based learning
3. OPTIMISTIC CLOSURE
Time: 3-5 minutes
Reflections and Looking Forward
End the day with reflection. Have students name something that helps them leave on an optimistic note. Create a moment that makes students look forward to returning tomorrow.
- Give an lesson overview
- Use prompts such as:
- What worked today? This week?
- What is right with our students...our class...our school... our community?
- What problems did I help fix or repair today?
- What did I learn about my identity that makes me proud?
- Identify RULER charter champions
- Have students consider:
- What is something I learned today?
- Who is someone I was able to help?
- Who helped or was kind to me?
- What is something I want to share with my family?
- What is something I’m looking forward to doing tomorrow?
- What is something I enjoyed about the day?
Signature practices modified by Highline Public Schools (2019) based on: “Three Signature SEL Practices.” Oakland Unified School District, 2016, and; “Three Signature SEL Practices for the Classroom,” Washoe County School District, 2017
Further reading on "Culturally-responsive commitments and examples" Ginwright (2018), The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement ; Hammond (2015), Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain; Jagers, Rivas-Drake, & Borowski (2018), Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis.