SEL Activities: Teaching Students to Be the Best Versions of Themselves

Implementing social-emotional learning in schools is important for many reasons, whether to improve school culture, address discipline problems, or build strong relationships.

As teachers, we know that teaching is a social science, and the better students feel about themselves and their community, the better they will perform academically. So how do we teach students to be the best versions of themselves? We’ve compiled some Hero Academy social-emotional learning activities to help!

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), there are five core competencies that enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

Credit: CASEL, 2017


When it comes to teaching students about self-awareness, our job as educators is to set high ethical standards and help students believe in themselves in order to drive them forward. It’s also about teaching gratitude and appreciating the good in others, ourselves, and positive aspects of our lives. 

Use this lesson to teach students to appreciate their own strengths but also ask for help when they need it.


Self-management is the next SEL competency that students should master to regulate their own emotions, manage stress, and work toward personal and academic goals. If we teach students to approach everything as learners, they will internalize a growth mindset and not give up in the face of challenges. 

Use this SEL lesson to teach students the power of trying again.

Social Awareness

This competency is extremely important for helping students gain the life skills of collaborating in groups, having empathy, respecting others, and appreciating diversity. Realizing that we are all interconnected and responsible for one another will help students feel a sense of community in and outside of the classroom.

Use this SEL activity to show students that we all have special talents that add up to great communities.

Relationship Skills

Having good relationship skills will help students succeed throughout their lives. We can teach them this competency by focusing on communication and teamwork. Whether students are defending their opinions, negotiating a turn on the swings, or collaborating together on an assignment, having healthy relationships is vital!

Use this lesson to teach students about resilience and that asking for help shows willingness to learn.

Responsible Decision-Making

This is the culmination of all the life skills that we try to teach our students. We can teach our students to make good choices by helping them analyze situations, plan ahead, weigh options, solve problems, and step out of their comfort zone to help others.

Use this activity to help students seek challenges and put their decision-making skills to the test.


Learn more about Hero Academy for students in Grades Pre-K–4, which models desirable traits that reinforce social-emotional growth.

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