Teach SEL With Writing Assignments

Social and emotional learning is an integral part of education, and writing is a central pathway for bringing SEL into the classroom. Writing helps us explore ourselves, connect with others, and grow as people. This is why we’re so excited to introduce our Social and Emotional Learning collection of assignments, all of which are based on the CASEL framework’s five learning competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.


The narrative assignments in this collection contain prompts specifically tailored to the start of the school year. In under a minute your students could be writing about their goals for this upcoming school year, special family traditions, how they helped someone in need, a thank you note, and many more topics that can help you to get to know your students even better.

Students also gain practice with Narrative writing skills such as establishing a point of view; elaborating with details, dialogue, and descriptions; introducing character, plot, and setting; and using voice, style, and tone to set an appropriate mood for the piece.


All About the SEL Assignments

This collection contains 15 assignments, an assignment for each of the five learning competencies at each grade level, with three prompts in each assignment. That’s 45 prompts to get your students engaged in the writing process for back to school, with more to come as the school year progresses. Each assignment also contains a student-friendly rubric, also based on the CASEL framework, to guide them as they write. Check out some of the sample assignments below!

Elementary School

SEL Competency: Self-Awareness

Prompt: What are some things that make you feel mad? Sad? Happy? Scared? Write a Reflection telling about a time you felt one of these emotions.


Elementary SEL Assignments

Middle School

SEL Competency: Responsible Decision-Making

Prompt: Write a Narrative about a time that your opinion changed. What caused it to change? Use details, dialogue, or descriptions to tell what happened.


Middle School SEL Assignments

High School

SEL Competency: Relationship Skills

Prompt: Write a Story about standing up for someone who has been teased or bullied. You can write about something that really happened or you can make up a story. Come up with an ending that teaches readers a lesson.


High School SEL Assignments

What is Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and emotional learning is an integral part of education, and important to understanding ourselves and each other. Let’s hear from CASEL, the leaders in SEL:

SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.


What is the CASEL Framework?

Also known as the CASEL wheel, this framework “helps cultivate skills and environments that advance students’ learning and development”.


The CASEL 5 is one of the most well known frameworks that educators use to establish SEL learning standards and curriculum. The CASEL wheel is divided into five categories of competence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. 


For more information about the SEL competencies and CASEL’s work, visit casel.org.


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