Social Emotional Learning or SEL is something that we ALL need to embrace if we are going to make a difference in our students’ learning.  It’s one of those things that every teacher is learning how to incorporate into their everyday teaching.  In this article, I’m sharing 5 Tools to Help You Integrate the ARTs with SEL.  These are tools that I have used over and over again in my own classroom and are easy to use too.  Let’s take a look!


Make SEL Part of your Everyday Instruction!


The tools I’m going to share with you will help you to deliver great strategies, activities and lessons for students’ social-emotional development, while also integrating some creativity and artistic expression.

All of these 5 tools are will help you teach SEL and are an integral part of SEAL: Social-Emotional Artistic Learning.  I’ve been using and sharing these SEAL tools for years now and they have made a great difference other teacher’s teaching . . . and MINE!



Tool #1 – Music Speaker

speaker for SEL


Maybe you are fortunate and have a decent speaker set up in your classroom, but chances are you don’t.  When I first started teaching, I used my boom box from my college years set up in my room and set it up in my classroom.  (Mix tapes, anyone??)  Now, I have a small, hand-held speaker that I can set up anywhere inside my room.  It hooks up to my phone, iPod or computer.

Now, why is a speaker a tool for SEL?  To play music!  I love to soundtrack my classroom and play music throughout the day to help control the atmosphere for myself and my students.  Soundtracking is an amazing SEAL Strategy!  You can learn all about Soundtracking Your Classroom in this post and video here.


Tool #2 – Singing Bowl

singing bowl: tool for SEL

The next tool is a singing bowl. This beautiful instrument is something I use every day, many times a day.  It has a lovely sound that I use to get my students’ attention.

At the beginning of the year, I train my students to listen for the sound.  They then pause what they’re doing, look in my direction and listen for instructions.  The sound is gentle and breaks through the noise of any chatter in the room.  And let’s face it, it’s way better than me yelling to get their attention!


Tool #3 – Yoga Cards

YOga Cards: Tool for SEL

I love keeping my deck of yoga cards handy for a fresh idea on a stretch to use.  They often tell a little bit about the pose and have a great picture to serve as a model to show your students. The cards may also have instructions on the type of thing you can say while your students are creating the pose.

Yoga poses can work standing or sitting, whatever may be more comfortable for your students.  They can be used in transitions throughout your day or for motor breaks.  A quick 2 minutes using the yoga cards with your students can really help get them back on track for the next activity they need to do.


Tool #4 – Emotion Wheel

emotion Wheel: SEAL tool

I use an emotion wheel often with my students.  This is a great tool to have whenever you are talking about self-awareness or social-awareness.  The wheel has a lot of different types of emotions to aide in discussion.

Talking about nuances of emotions can happen in so many different contexts.  It can be done while completing character studies, practicing how to identify emotions, or using the words to identify the emotion in a piece of music.  It’s a great way to explore, discuss and discover.

Emotion Wheel

If you want your own copy of this SEAL Emotion Wheel, you can grab your own copy right here!  You can also visit where I have numerous SEAL resources to share with you!









Tool #5 – Situation Cards

Finally, I want to share my last SEAL Tool called Situation Cards.  These cards present different situations that your students can relate to!  These situations lead to meaningful discussions and you can integrate these situations into a drama lesson! 

For example, here’s a situation called A Classmate in Need.

You and a group of friends are hanging outside the school, waiting to be called inside. You hear some yelling close by and notice a classmate of yours is beginning to get surrounded by a group of older kids.

When your students are given the opportunity to act out a situation and figure out what to do IN that situation, they are working through their decision making process.

These situation cards help your students to work on responsible decision making while integrating drama techniques.  Feel free to start with my 8 Situation Cards.  From there, you can come up with your own situation cards for your students to work through.

Situation Cards

These cards are another SEAL Tool that you can download right here! 





How Are You Going to Use These SEAL Tools?

Do you think you might be able to use one of these SEAL tools with your class?  These tools work for classroom teachers, arts teacher, before and after school personnel, school counselors, and those who teach in a homeschool setting as well!


Comment below and let me know what your favorite SEAL tool is out of this list.