Teaching SEL Skills Through Stories and Poetry
When social and emotional learning is integrated into language arts, elementary students gain a deeper understanding of concepts like empathy and self-awareness. And they’re more engaged in reading and writing, to boot.
“When we first started coming up with the idea for Social-Emotional Learning Language Arts (SELLA),” says curriculum co-author Amanda Deeter of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center in Dayton, Ohio, “we knew that students were facing challenges that we’ve never seen before in schools, behaviors we’ve never seen before in schools. Administrators were reaching out, saying, ‘Help us’ and ‘We don’t have time to address all of these needs and we don’t know what to do.’ We knew that we needed to start integrating [SEL] into academic curriculum.”
But which academic curriculum? English language arts was the perfect fit.
New York City principal Jaynemarie Capetanakis was attending an online conference when she first heard about the new curriculum. “SELLA?” she remembers thinking. “SELLA me what? What are you selling me?” But after she learned that the curriculum combined social and emotional learning with language arts, she was sold. She thought it would be particularly helpful for her school, at the edge of Brooklyn’s Chinatown, which has a large population of English language learners. “Everything we do here at P.S. 69, everything touches upon those modalities of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Those are the modalities that English language learners need to build—really all learners need to build.”
For more information on the SELLA (Social-Emotional Learning Language Arts) K–6 reading and writing curriculum, visit their website.