Social and emotional learning (SEL), defined by CASEL, is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel, and show empathy for others, establish, and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. Kids with strong SEL skills can often experience:

Ready to get started? Check out a few fun ways you can use the Emoji Mood Cards to boost your learners’ SEL skills.

Put them in your Cozy Spot. Cozy Spots are a safe, calming, quiet space that children can go to when they need a break to self-regulate.What a perfect pair for the Emoji Mood Cards! Here's how you get started:

Once they get to the Cozy Spot, learners can use the Emoji Mood Cards to discover what emotion they might be feeling and use the other included resources to self-soothe.

Use them during transitions to check-in and recognize and name feelings. During transition times throughout the day, encourage kids to do a self-check-in to reflect on their feelings and emotions. Remind them that all feelings are okay! If they want to visualize their feelings throughout the day, help them track their emotions on the Feelings and Emotions Chart. 

Pull a card to learn about others’ points of view. Encourage curiosity and build empathy by helping them to recognize when others have different points of view with a quick and easy activity!

Giving kids a chance to talk with their friends about their feelings and emotions, in a safe and respectful way, helps them build empathy.

Practice communicating different feelings. For kids who are non-verbal or struggle with communicating their feelings, good or bad, these cards are the key! They can use the fill-in-the-blank Emoji Mood Cards to communicate their own feelings and emotions or use the other cards with an adult they trust to express how they feel. If they’re hesitant to bring up their feelings, remind them that:

Use them to develop recognition of the feelings and emotions of peers. Pair the Emoji Mood Cards with the Find the Feeling Matching Game to help kids recognize emotions on the faces of others. Get detailed with it! Encourage kids to describe the details of the facial expressions and body language on each matching set.

Noticing specific details can help your students recognize emotions in the real world and teach them that other people around them may have different feelings than they do. Recognizing the feelings and thoughts of yourself and others is important to developing empathy.

Build and encourage critical thinking skills. When kids get familiar with regular emotional check-ins, encourage them to think a little deeper about their feelings with more specific questions.

It’s important to be able to identify the feelings they experience, but asking more detailed questions will encourage them to notice how the choices they make and the experiences they have impact their feelings.

If kids are experiencing overwhelming feelings and emotions, providing them with helpful tools and time to self-regulate is vital to their emotional intelligence. Research suggests that the best way for kids to learn how to regulate their emotions is to practice when emotions are not heightened.

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