Back to School Activities Round Up for Social Emotional Learning

Let’s take the BS out of BTS with my favorite Back to School resources for K-3. These tools will be key to support a smooth, heart-focused first week of school and beyond. I've included resources to foster a well-rounded, social-emotional learning program to help your students:

get grounded
express themselves
talk about their feelings
develop character education skills
& connect with one another


Whether teaching at school, home, in a counseling space, on a train, on a plane or in the rain, you will be ready with these digital, no-prep, community building games. Includes a Back to School version of 4 Corners, Stand Up Sit Down and a “If I Were a Teacher” version. 

 Attention Grabbers That Work

If you're looking for call-and-responses that actually have a long-lasting impact on your classroom management system, then you're in the right place. Adding mindfulness to attention grabbers has been absolutely game-changing. Why? When we open the door to co-regulation instead of just telling them to stop and re-focus, we set our students (and ourselves) up for success to actually help restore the skills that we seek so they have the capacity to get back on task in the first place.  

Cheers & Hats Off to a New Year Crafts

If you're looking to be the talk of your group, try one of these trendy SEL crafts to help motivate and celebrate the beginning of a new year! In this tumbler craftivity, students will compare and contrast their interests and strengths with their peers, before creating a tumbler of their own that reflects their positive attributes. 

The bucket hat activity targets both creative and critical thinking skills, as students choose from a variety of emojis to represent their hopes and goals for the upcoming school year. 

Jitters Bear Craft

I love using crafts to approach such big topics as anxiety. When we engage in play or creation, we are quieting that defence mechanism that makes our kids hypersensitive to our reactions to what they tell us. The Jitters Bear craft is the perfect pairing with First Day Jitters, by Julie Danneberg, as you connect about how they feel during the first week and beyond, through the comfort of an adorable little bear booklet.

Back to School Jitters Craft on Teachers Pay Teachers 

✓ What others like you are saying: 
• "What an adorable resource! Students loved the bear craft and it was very engaging and fun overall!" -Jay
• "My students loved this craft! I loved hearing their responses." -Sara

Love Your Selfie Craft

Growth mindset begins with a strong sense of self. These multicultural templates allow your children to create a self-portrait they're proud of without the hassle of starting from scratch.

✓ What others like you are saying: 
• "I loved this resource because I was able to give my kids a variety of choices for their "self portrait". They look so cute hanging in our classroom!" -Brittany C.
• "This resource is perfect for social emotional learning and helping students build their self esteem. I used this with my first graders and they absolutely love it. Thank you!" -Jasmine D.


Back to School SEL Journal

This journal was designed to encourage primary and junior students to reflect, without the added stress of writing a lot. This is the perfect first week of school activity to organically and meaningfully get to know your students.


 Calm Corner Tools

Co-creating a calm down corner is one of the most important investments in your classroom morale and classroom management system. When we normalize emotions of all shapes and sizes from the getgo, we take the first step in establishing a learning space of trust and acceptance.



SEL Bulletins for the Year

Bulletin boards are the first thing that students see when they roll up to school and the last message they leave with. Optimize your counseling office space or hallway display case and make it count, with bulletin boards that celebrate diversity and individuality, self-esteem, mindfulness and coping strategies. 


Team-Building Collaborative Posters 

Letting our students and counseling groups organically connect is one of the most important investments we can make each Back to School season. Try adding a collaborative poster to the first week of school to reinforce friendship skills, problem-solving and mindfulness. 

✓ What others like you are saying: 
• "Love! Love! Love! I use these for my advisory class and we just finished our first one!" -Sara H.
• "This was a great SEL project to get to know students." -Corrin M.
• "My students all love it when we end a guidance unit with a collaborative poster and these were a great addition to my resources! The brought positive messages and lots of vibrant color to our classroom! Thank you!" -Heidi B.
One non-negotiable in my morning meetings are feelings check-ins. There is something so powerful about sitting down and resetting/ co-regulating for just a few minutes before our days begin to find out what mental loads our students are carrying. This mood check bundle can be accessed via Google Slides in one click, making it no-prep and giving us no excuse but to touch base with everyone.

Coloring is a universal fan favorite when it comes to staying grounded. Each SEL coloring page set in the store has been created intentionally to help build those emotional skills alongside fine motor skills. You will find one-of-a-kind coloring sheets that target growth mindset, emotions, mindfulness and friendship skills.


Classroom Expectations

One of my least favorite parts of the first week is reiterating classroom expectations. As someone who needs to infuse creativity into everything in order for me to feel motivated enough to really sell it, I kept coming up short for ideas. After brainstorming with your class, use these posters and coloring book to get the job done.

Back to School Classroom Rules Posters and Coloring Book


✓ What others like you are saying: 
• "These are way too cute! I have them printed and ready to put up in my classroom! Thank you for another amazing resource :)" -Anna B.
• "My students really loved these posters and I'll continue to use them over and over. Thank you for another great resource!" -Peter N.

What are you most looking forward to this Back to School season?

Let me know in the comments below!

Lots of love,

Namaste in School

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