Incorporating Social Emotional Learning into PE

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Episode Transcript:

Social emotional learning is the latest initiative my school district is wanting as teachers to incorporate into our existing curriculums – SEL, so how am I going to fit this into a PE curriculum?

I’ve been teaching for 25 years and I’ve seen many different initiatives come and go and threading these different initiatives into PE can sometimes be challenging at times, but I think it’s important to always give it a go and try because there is value in just about all of them that I’ve seen anyway. Some of the things my district has wanted us to put into our curriculum has been reading, writing, and math. I’ve had to teach Cornell note taking, character skills and building, and now social emotional learning. I’m actually really excited to have the opportunity to not only learn more about SEL, but to take a look at some of the activities that we’re going to be teaching to our students. Last school year, we were required to try a couple of these SEL lessons with our classes and at first, you know, a lot of teachers were apprehensive and I myself was thinking, how am I going to stick this into all the other things that I’m trying to teach in PE during the day, but once they gave us the activities and we sat down with the students and did them, I, I found how receptive the students were to them and how much benefit they got. They really shared and opened up and tapped into their mental wellness and, and thoughts and they discussed and they really do have some things that they wanted to get off their chest or off their mind and share, um, things that they’re stressed about, things that they’re concerned about, anxieties, pressures. So it was, it was actually kind of neat to be able to be the facilitator for that.

So this upcoming school year, I’m really going to challenge myself to try to incorporate SEL into my lessons at least a few times a week. And I’m thinking it can be, you know, really fast and, and really easy. Something as simple as maybe checking in with them before class starts after roll call.

Like, how’s everybody doing? Um, you know, I, I recognize the fact that people aren’t going to speak up there, but just let them know that I’m there for them and I value where they’re at as people and can recognize, uh, the fact that life can be hard sometimes. How are we doing, how are we doing with school and so on. And, and maybe one student will speak up and that can engage a discussion. Um, some other things I might do is just maybe read a quote, uh, maybe at the end of class or beginning of class and that might get them to kind of think about that quote. And they may interject, may not, or maybe I allow them to write down some the problems or areas of concern they’re having on a piece of paper. And I can, you know, just have them anonymous and then at the end of class or on a different day when there’s some downtime, maybe an assembly day, I can pull those out and read one and we can have some, you know, real in depth conversations about what’s going on in their world, in their life. Sometimes it’s, you know, bigger than PE, but you know, just knowing when to stick these little activities or lessons in is the key. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be very quick and simple, but I believe anyway, it will have tremendous benefits and value. Thanks so much for listening in and thank you for being open to get to know your students a little bit better. Take care.

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