4-Part Social-Emotional Learning Lesson Plan for Virtual Learning

It’s important for Physical Educators to lead the way teaching social-emotional learning in schools. Healthy minds are equally as important as healthy bodies. It’s the responsibility of educators to give students the tools they need to be successful in life and mental health is an extremely important tool.

Recently on SHAPE America’s TOY Talk Tuesday, LaDonda Porter (@lporterPE), a Middle School PE teacher in Kentucky, joined SHAPE America’s Michelle Carter to discuss a new way to teach social-emotional learning in a virtual setting.

Porter used SHAPE America’s free sneak peek health. moves. minds.™ SEL lesson plan and virtualized it for her students to provide a creative SEL lesson.

We encourage you to watch the full video below. If you’re in a time crunch, view the summary below:

Video Summary:

Lesson 1: Mindfulness and Myself:


1. Intro Activity: “Kind of a Warm Up”

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In “Kind of a Warm-Up”, Porter downloaded the SHAPE America kind message cards and added them to a randomizer video. She had students jog in place (or perform an exercise) with a cue and when the cue told them to rest, she presented them with a kind message card by playing the randomizer video and stopping the video to display a random card.

After the activity was over, Porter had students reflect on the kind messages by asking them the discussion questions below.

Porter explains “Kind of a Warm-Up”

Discussion Questions:

  • What were some of the messages that you read?
  • What was your first initial reaction/thought when you read the message?
  • How did it make you feel reading all of the messages?
  • How does it make you feel receiving kind messages from friends? Family? Teachers? Strangers?
  • How does it feel to give a kind message to someone else?

2. Fitness Focus: Kind vs. Negative

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In “Kind vs. Negative Fitness”, Porter used the same concept as “Kind of a Warm Up”, but she turned SHAPE America’s kind message cards and negative message cards into a randomizer video for a Tabata style fitness activity. When the Tabata recording counted down from “3-2-1”, Porter paused the randomizer video. If the message was a kind message, students had to perform jumping jacks. If the message was a negative card, students had to perform squats. You can challenge students even more by having them choose their own activity (cardiovascular exercise, muscular strength exercise, ect…)

Porter explains “Fitness Focus: Kind vs. Negative”

Discussion Questions/Topics:

  • When you read the first negative message, what was your reaction?
  • It was probably kind of surprising and imagine if someone you knew said that to you. What about someone you didn’t know? What about yourself?
  • We mostly talk to ourselves in our head; this is called self-talk. Just like we practice giving compliments or kind messages to other people, we should practice and make sure we talk positively to ourselves as well.

3. Lesson Focus: Build a Structure

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For the lesson focus, Porter was incredibly creative with her use of technology. Her goal was to have students build a structure using Google Slides. Here is a link to her Google Slide document. To use it with your students, simply go to (File>Make a Copy>Entire Presentation. After the structures were built, she had students share kind and specific messages to their classmates and reflect on the messages their classmates shared with them.

Technology Tip:
In order to create the structures, Porter created a Google Slide document and made a slide for each one of her students. She duplicated the pieces of the structure on each page and had students find their slide to build their structure.

Students could then share kind messages by adding a comment on each slide (Insert > Comment)

Porter explains “Lesson Focus: Build a Structure”

Discussion Topics:

  • I want you to take a few moments to reflect on the activity and think of one kind or positive message or compliment you can give each of your teammates.
  • The key thing to keep in mind when giving a compliment or a kind message is that it should be genuine and specific. So instead of saying ‘good job,’ describe what is the actual good job you think they did.
  • Take a minute to reflect on the kind messages you want to give to your teammates. Then we will share them with our teammates.

4. Closure: Mindful Minute

The purpose of the “Mindful Minute” is to give students the tools to focus and calm their minds when they are feeling mad, sad, stressed and overwhelmed. 

Have students to practice a mindful minute by encouraging them to:

  • Get into a position that is comfortable for them
  • Close their eyes
  • Clear their mind
  • Focus on breathing (it’s OK for their mind to wander. Encourage them to bring their focus back to their breathing when possible.)
  • Focus on what they hear and notice around them.

After one minute, have students begin to open their eyes and reflect on how it made them feel.

If you enjoyed this SEL lesson and would like more SEL lesson plans, materials, templates and calendars for K-12, we encourage you to register your school for health. moves. minds.™ Simply register for free to get complete access to all health. moves. minds.™ SEL resources!

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ToyTalk Tuesday is a biweekly series of interviews about topics in health and physical education from SHAPE America’s Teacher of the Year Partner Network. Each episode features tips and actionable resources from SHAPE America’s National and District Teachers of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year Program is made possible by the Teacher of the Year Partner Network. SPARK, Wellness Training Specialists (WellTrain), Gopher, and Goodheart-Willcox Publisher (G-W) are our 2020 partners in this program.

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