Developing students’ social and emotional skills during remote learning

Children using a tablet

This moment is unlike any we’ve faced. As educators, you’re doing so much to continue to provide inclusive learning environments, support your students’ academic success, and ensure their social and emotional needs are being met, even as you care for your own families and communities while working from home.

Emotions are the gatekeepers of cognition, motivation, and attention. Being attuned to and helping all students develop strong social and emotional skills, such as the ability to manage their emotions, be self-aware, and collaborate with others, is at the center of teaching. Now, as schools around the world are operating virtually and people are social distancing, the need to focus on kids’ well-being becomes even more critical.

We’ve heard from many educators who are working through similar challenges in this new environment, and we’re pleased to share resources that can help you quickly meet your students’ needs. We recently launched a social and emotional remote learning (SEL) website with free resources devoted to SEL skills. You can find easy-to-use, practical information on the site about how to use tools like Minecraft: Education Edition, Flipgrid, and Microsoft Teams, to keep students developing and applying social and emotional skills.

Immersive learning through M:EE

Immersive learning experiences are powerful because they fully engage the senses and can help students engage and interact with each other. Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) allows students to connect with and work with each other, practice mindfulness, stay engaged in their learning, and develop empathy through immersive experiences and features like multiplayer activities and team challenges.

  • Learn more about how to use Minecraft: Education Edition with your students by exploring rich and varied remote learning M:EE resources.
  • Watch the “You Can in :90” video on using the Minecraft: Education Edition lesson, “The Mindful Knight,” to help your students practice mindfulness and develop self-regulation and self-awareness.
  • Want to go deeper with your professional learning? Listen to the podcast on how to make the lesson “The Mindful Knight” come alive for your students. It’s part of the Educator Insider Series, a podcast diving into SEL-related topics and hosted by educator and author Matt Miller.

Empower student voice with Flipgrid

We’re hearing from educators around the world about how they’re using the video discussion platform Flipgrid to encourage students to express themselves, connect with peers, and be engaged in learning at this critical time.

  • Learn how you can use Flipgrid to enhance learning and attend to students’ SEL needs by exploring the free course, “Engage and amplify with Flipgrid,” available through the Microsoft Educator Center (MEC). You’ll learn the basics of working with Flipgrid, how to integrate it into your virtual lessons, and earn a certification upon completion of the course.
  • For a quick overview of how Flipgrid can improve your instructional practices and hear how powerful it is from a student’s point of view, watch the “You Can in :90” video.
  • And for podcast fans, listen to, “Build social and emotional skills with Flipgrid,” an Educator Insider Series episode that goes through the ins and outs of using Flipgrid. It details the ways in which it can help build a supportive culture and encourage kids to share their emotions.

Collaboration and communication with Teams

Microsoft Teams for Education is a vital resource for encouraging the collaboration and communication skills that are essential to students’ well-being. Educators are using the digital learning hub for live video and recorded lessons, assigning and turning in work, and allowing for small-group and individual meetings.

  • Learn how to put Teams to work for you and your students in the free MEC course,“Transform Learning with Microsoft Teams.” You’ll learn how to create a Team and channels within a Team, how to use the built-in OneNote notebook, and create and manage assignments. This guide to the basics of Teams is also helpful for new users.
  • You can also watch the “You can in :90” video to get quick tips on how to support and moderate class discussions for effective, well-managed lessons.
  • And listen to this podcast on using Teams and other Microsoft Education tools to bring students together while working apart.

We want you to know we’re here to support you and will continue to develop resources that we hope will serve you and your students well during remote learning and when in-person learning resumes.

As we continue on this journey, we invite you to visit our website to learn more about how you can support your students with social and emotional learning. And for more free resources, visit the Microsoft Educator Center.

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