Wondering what you can do in the classroom that will help your students grow into responsible adults? Start by teaching social-emotional skills.
It might sound complicated, but it’s easier than you think. Social emotional learning, or SEL, isn’t just a matter of teaching students how to be nice to each other. SEL will show your students how to recognize the way they perceive themselves and their place in society.
The concept, which was first created in the 1960s, has been used by the Collaborative of Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) since 1994. CASEL defines SEL as the process of acquiring healthy identities, emotions, empathy and personal and collective goals.
Sounds like a great idea, but how many teachers actually have time to do research about SEL apps for the classroom? Don’t worry about it. We’ve done the work for you. Here’s a list of the 11 best social emotional learning apps available on the market today.
1. Breathe, Think, Do (Sesame Street)
Sesame Street’s Breathe,Think, Do helps children recognize and control their emotions.
This SEL app features a friendly (and furry) blue monster who interacts with kids at their level. If the monster experiences anger, the child chooses a positive action, such as writing about feelings. The monster will then react positively, high-fiving them when they complete their task.
This storybook app teaches children to think with empathy, kindness and respect. It shows them how our feelings can lead us astray and reminds them that kindness helps us feel better about ourselves and can have a positive impact on those around us.
Breathe, Think, Do is at the top of the list for teachers and a must-have for your preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
2. My Peekaville
My Peekaville is an educational SEL app for ages 4+. Using SEL-focused stories, lessons and activities, this app uses the CASEL approach to help young students learn empathy, self-awareness and self-regulation.
My Peekaville, which is presented as both a video game and interactive storybook, provides a magical world where people and animals (aka Peekapak Pals) solve problems and live together in harmony.
In My Peekaville, you can visit Peekapak Pals’ homes, learn more about their families, write letters of gratitude, or cannonball into a pool to discover more about courage. My Peekaville is designed to engage young students who have difficulty socializing and managing emotions. It also shows adults how to gain more control over how they feel in their lives. We’re looking at you, teacher!
3. Class Dojo
Class Dojo is an SEL app that allows parents, teachers, and students to track academic and behavioral progress.
The premise is simple: Award your student/child points for accomplishments by tapping the award button. Class Dojo also offers an accessible platform for teachers to communicate with parents by adding documents and messaging or even posting to a class newsfeed.
According to the Class Dojo website, “Teachers can encourage students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, being kind, helping others or something else.”
Class Dojo is number 3 on our list for the best social-emotional apps for teachers because it covers communication, classroom management and positive school culture.
4. Social Express
Ever feel like you’re not good at reading people? The SEL app, Social Express, has you covered! Social Express teaches children and teenagers how to perceive emotions and handle social situations through interactive animated videos. (We highly recommend checking out the Attention Arcade and Teen Career Path on the app’s website.)
Social Express also teaches social skills and prepares kids emotionally for the future through reading, audio, games, and animation.
5. Smiling Mind
This not-for-profit Australian app beefs up SEL skills through meditation and mindfulness activities. Smiling Mind’s activities focus on gratitude, deep breathing and finding inner peace in challenging moments.
The Smiling Mind app pairs well with its website, offering teachers professional development, mindfulness curricula and student journals.
In a nutshell, Smiling Mind will teach you about your emotions and how to regulate them. It also offers tools to overcome negative emotions so you can live a more fulfilling life.
Classcraft is a computer program and app known for improving classroom management and engagement. Using the principles applied in popular video games, this SEL/PBIS focused app encourages kids to develop social skills and emotional intelligence, like cooperation, through gamification techniques and top-notch avatars.
Classcraft is a powerful classroom management tool that allows teachers to:
- assess student progress
- assign points to different activities/ projects
- tally points for each assignment
- track understanding.
The app also provides teachers with the SEL Edition of Story Mode. Using this concept, students can take their tribe of heroes on an adventure into the Classcraft universe…meet new characters, explore new worlds and discover the five CASEL core competencies:
- social awareness
- relationship skills
- responsible decision-making.
This SEL teachers’ app creates a positive effect on class culture and behavior patterns.
7. Middle School Confidential
Can you think of a middle school student who doesn’t like a good graphic novel? Take a look at this app! Middle School Confidential, written by the anti-bullying activist Annie Fox, M.Ed., features interactive graphic novel story apps that explore themes like bullying, self-image, friendship and critical thinking.
This is one of the best SEL apps for teachers because it helps tweens and teenagers tackle social-emotional skills with an easy-to-navigate story. Story apps include the titles: Be Confident in Who You Are, Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, and What’s Up With My Family?
Middle School Confidential is a solid SEL app for teachers who are eager to get their students reading about relevant topics like bullying and self-confidence.
Headspace is a meditation/mindfulness app designed to help both teachers and students deal with the demands of a busy, hectic life.
Headspace includes visualizations with soothing sounds, videos, interactive games, inspirational quotes, fun facts and guided meditations. It’s suitable for all ages and encourages users to take small steps toward building resilience and managing difficult emotions throughout the day.
Teachers will love the timed guided/unguided meditations, breathing visuals and informative videos on developing mindful habits.
9. Emotionary – understand your mind!
Emotionary is designed for both teachers and students. This easy-to-use SEL app allows you to check in multiple times a day to get in touch with your feelings. It even asks you to rate the intensity of these feelings so it can lead you to mindful resources and activities that are specific to your needs.
Emotionary also has a journaling feature that students can use to write about the emotions they’re experiencing. An added stat function displays charts and patterns of these emotions.
Other highlights include a sleep log, breathing activities, a to-do list, and more mindful resources. It’s an SEL app highly beneficial for students and teachers.
Quandary is another SEL app for teachers that promotes ethical decision-making through problem-solving.
This clever gamified app, which is presented like a sci-fi comic, uses interactive video stories and multiple-choice questions to teach decision making..
Quandary transports students to the planet Braxos, where they roleplay leading a new human civilization. The SEL app requires a lot of reading (a good thing). It encourages students to separate fact from fiction, understand different viewpoints and make ethical decisions for your new planet.
Research conducted by various universities found Quandary increased student engagement, empathy and positive perceptions of their classroom environment.
Like Class Dojo, Edmodo offers teachers and parents an easy-to-navigate interactive platform used in class and at home. In the app, teachers post what they’re working on in a blog-like format. Their students can then log in from home to chat with the teacher or receive peer help from other students. Teachers can also post surveys and quizzes on Edmodo and receive assignments.
Edmodo has also created an inclusive “feed” for classroom topics, which allows parents, educators, and students to connect in a safe social media environment. Edmodo fosters a positive classroom community while keeping parents in the loop.
Edmodo makes our list of the best SEL apps for teachers because it emphasizes collaboration, a safe classroom digital space and communication. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Edmodo has been used in over 350,000 schools!
SEL apps just a click away
With so many great SEL apps at their fingertips, educators can confidently provide quality education for social-emotional learning with just a few swipes or clicks of a mouse.
Social-emotional learning is a valuable asset for any classroom and today’s technology makes it easier to get started.
To learn more, check out our Classcraft blog or send us a message.