It’s no big secret that I am a big believer in backwards design: the process of beginning with the end in mind, unpacking larger concepts into smaller pieces and teaching up from there. For years, I’ve been doing this work in my physical education teaching by using standards and grade-level outcomes to ensure that my students develop the skills, knowledge, and understandings essential to the lifelong development of their physical literacy.
With more and more evidence coming out to support the importance of social-emotional learning existing across the school day, I wanted to make sure that I brought the same backwards design approach that I use for physical literacy to my SEL efforts.
For over two decades, CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) has been publishing research and resources to help educators, community leaders, and parents intentionally approach social and emotional learning. One of the group’s most important resources is their SEL Framework, which showcases the five broad and interrelated areas of competence that highlight what students should know, do, and understand to navigate this social and emotional world successfully.
I wanted to make these five competencies visible in my gym to be available for quick reference and reminding. That’s how I got to work designing the five SEL Competencies Badges that you see here.
There is a badge graphic for each of CASEL’s five SEL competencies. Each badge features the competency’s title, a visually appealing illustration to represent the competency, and the competency’s definition written in student-friendly language. I designed the definitions using CASEL’s language and notes from my own experience teaching SEL skills, knowledge, and understandings over the years.
I hope that these badges help make social and emotional learning more visible in your teaching and advocate for intentional SEL practices as part of our students’ entire school day!