Implementing Social Emotional Learning


  • School: Chappell Elementary
  • Text: Everyday SEL in Middle School by Carla Tantillo Philbert 
  • Group Members: Catherine Garber, Lauren Gillis, Michelle Glick, Anna Kim, Anne Merrick, Victoria Smith, Margot Taylor, Study Group Leader
  • Goal: To implement one social emotional learning strategy in our classroom practice. 

Rating and effectiveness of the professional text

The book was well written and well organized. It provided a reasonable amount of educational theory to explain the need for SEL and was accessible to a wide range of educators. It was full of practical examples, exercises, and activities. Chapter content built upon each other taking the reader through a realistic process of introducing formalized SEL to his/her classroom or school. We liked the text and overall thought it was very useful. At times, there were elements that weren’t applicable or needed to be modified before using in our classrooms, but they were absolutely a great jumping off point. Plus, many aligned with Calm Classroom and some other elements we were already doing. I liked that there were books (primary and middle) and we could notably see the differences in certain activities based on the age group. This is important because different ages require different SEL activities and I thought having two books catered nicely to that.

Implementation in the classroom and reflection

Considering the SEL topics and activities in this book often made us reexamine our current SEL practices… Are they being implemented?…Are they being implemented with fidelity?… Are they benefiting students?… Are they benefitting ALL students?… Are multiple practices complementary or contradictory to each other?

I can see using several of the exercises in my own practice as a counselor when providing individual or small group support. 

There were elements of the books we really wanted to try, but never quite got around to with all the craziness that happened this year. For example, we liked the POPchart and wanted to do a version of that in our classes – whether it was  POPchart or a more anonymous Google Form. There also were elements that we did try, like the talking circle.  For some, it changed our practice a lot, but also not as much as would have been possible without the the strike/closure. We learned a lot and found great resources to implement in the future.  Some members did not feel very strong in SEL, so having some resources in our back pocket was extremely useful and will be even more so in the future.

How the larger school community and other RLTA study groups will benefit from your work

Chappell will hopefully benefit from a more formalized implementation and management of the current SEL curricula as a result of this study group. We hope this team can continue to function beyond the scope of this book study to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on future SEL matters. Making select content from this book available to all staff will strengthen the menu of SEL strategies that our teachers (new and seniored) can access when wanting to improve the SEL culture of their classroom.

We think Chappell, and other RTLA groups, could benefit from others having a ‘back pocket full of resources’. Our conversation during our last meeting emphasized that the entire staff needs to be aware of SEL language and needs to be SEL knowledgeable, but not everyone in that building needs or may benefit from being forced to use specific strategies – some teachers are already successful with how they are implementing SEL in their classroom. We like the idea of coming up with some beneficial strategies/resources and creating a folder where anyone can access if desired.

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