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Daily Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Check-ins

Gauging each day where students are in terms of their emotions


Just like adults, students’ emotions, mood, and energy can fluctuate day-to-day based on their personal and academic lives. In a physical classroom, teachers can usually sense how a student is feeling based on their body language and engagement; however, in a virtual classroom, this may be harder to assess, especially if students’ cameras are off. Incorporating daily SEL check-ins and activities is vital to better understanding students’ feelings and being able to offer additional support to students who may need it.


Setting aside 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of class for a brief SEL check-in with students can set the tone for the rest of the day. Here are some unique ideas that teachers can use when incorporating SEL activities:

  • Have students lead daily check-ins. Students can generate a list of questions and prompts, such as “What book character are you feeling like and why?” or “Share a dance move that shows how you are feeling,” to gauge students’ emotional states. Students can then sign up to run the daily check-ins each week.

  • Offer choices. Teachers can offer options for students to articulate how they are feeling, whether it be selecting an image from a continuum that reflects their current state or using their writing to express their emotions. Try offering options that are crafted around students’ learning preferences.

  • Show the students they are heard. Building students' supports based off of their input helps them know they are being heard. Helping students process or cope with their emotions through an empathetic lens by offering flexibility (e.g., moving a deadline, allowing them to work asynchronously), connecting them with another adult (e.g., social worker, counselor, advisor), or demonstrating techniques that could help support them in the moment (e.g., journaling, reflection, meditation) is important to continue building trust and strong relationships.