Teacher Learning Community

Fall 2019 TLC: Enhancing SEL with Cognitive and Developmental Sciences - Activity 4 Resources

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Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element A: Teachers demonstrate knowledge about the ways in which learning takes place, including the levels of intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development of their students.
  • QS II: Teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.
    • Element C: Teachers engage students as individuals, including those with diverse needs and interests, across a range of ability levels by adapting their teaching for the benefit of all students.

Brain-based SEL Strategies

In this final activity, you will explore how to intentionally weave academics with social and emotional learning. This overarching look at SEL will provide you with a multitude of strategies to choose from as you infuse SEL into your academic content.


Please view all of the following resources.

"The nation's foremost expert on grit says being a "good" person is more imperative than being "great" at something. University of Pennsylvania professor Angela Duckworth's research on the importance of "grit" to academic success sparked a new area of focus in K–12 education—as well as its fair share of criticism. But Duckworth, founder and CEO of the Character Lab, believes that the concept is often misunderstood, and that character strengths that drive achievement shouldn't overshadow those that make us good."

This series of articles focuses on seven high-leverage social and emotional skills that students require to successfully engage in critical thinking, discourse, and problem-solving that academic standards demand. Identify strategies that might be a priority for your students and read sections as they apply to these goals. 

This guide features recommendations for what districts, and more importantly, individual teachers might do to weave SEL practices into instruction. Although this is an overarching look at what districts can do to support SEL, there are practical ideas that teachers could use in their own classroom. 

Although written with the lens of literacy instruction, the three strategies provided in this article can be applied to any content area. 


This guide is designed for Colorado educators to support them as they weave the acquisition of social skills into academic instruction. Each skill is tied to one specific area of social skill learning:

  • Setting boundaries and Anger/Impulse Management for self-control and coping with stress.
  • Decision-making and Using Community Supports to assist and support self-determination.
  • Empathy Development and Expectations in Relationships to increase awareness of self and connections with others.
  • Verbal/Non-Verbal Communication and Conflict Management to increase the quality of interpersonal relations.

Note: Even though this guide was based on the 09-10 Academic Standards, many of the strategies are still widely applicable. 

The integration of SEL and academics involve three interdependent components:

  1. Fostering academic mindsets
  2. Aligning SEL and academic objectives
  3. Using interactive instructional practices and structures to promote SEL

Please select and view all three of the above strategies.

The following resources provide excellent ideas on bringing SEL to academic instruction. Although written for specific grade levels and content areas, there is much that can be gleaned for any content area or grade-level teacher. Scan these resources as desired.

CASEL guide to integrating SEL into high school ELA instruction. 

CASEL guide to integrating SEL into middle school social studies instruction

CASEL guide to integrating SEL into elementary math instruction. 

CASEL guide to integrating SEL into elementary ELA instruction. 

This guide, although lengthy, has a wealth of information about how to explicitly instill in your student's academic tenacity. Practical tips and examples are provided. Browse, or read it in its entirety - it is up to you!

In this report, the idea of Academic Tenacity is defined with aspects that include growth mindset, goals, belonging, and self-control. Factors that can improve these aspects are explored as are three specific ways that teachers and schools can more effectively foster academic tenacity.