Exploring Social-Emotional Learning Skills in Health and Physical Education Webinar
In November, Ophea hosted a webinar to explore Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills within the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum and share examples of how these skills can be taught and assessed in Grades 1 through 8.
We would like to thank our co-presenters involved in this webinar:
- Nicki Keenliside, with over 25 years in the education system, teaches Grades 3 - 8 Health and Physical Education at John English Junior Middle School and also sits on the executive of the Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators (OASPHE). Prior to this she was an instructional leader with Toronto District School Board and had a secondment with the Ontario Ministry of Education. Currently, she is also pursuing her Masters in Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of Alberta.
- Andréanne Fleck Saito is a Registered Social Worker and Implementation Coach with School Mental Health Ontario, a provincial implementation team designed to support Ontario School Districts to enhance the mental health and well being for all students. Andréanne has acquired over 20 years of experience working in community, private and school-based settings providing direct service and advocating for child and youth mental health.
Also, thank-you to the participants who contributed their feedback and ideas!
View the full webinar on our YouTube channel and read the overview below.
Overview of Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills
Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills replaces the Livings Skills in the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum. An overview of Strand A can be found on pages 25-28 in the curriculum document.
Outcomes of teaching SEL skills include:
- Better social and emotional skills (increased positive self-esteem and ability to interact positively with others)
- Positive classroom behaviour (less aggression, violence, bullying)
- Less emotional stress (better resilience and coping skills)
- Lower substance abuse
- Increase in academic success
“This strand helps students develop social-emotional learning skills, to foster overall health and well-being, positive mental health, and the ability to learn, build resilience, and thrive. In all grades, learning related to the expectations in this strand occurs in the context of learning related to the other three strands and is assessed and evaluated within these contexts.”
In Ontario, social-emotional learning is delivered with the following six expectations from Grade 1 to Grade 8:
- A1.1 Identification and Management of Emotions
- Students will learn skills to express their feelings and understand the feelings of others.
- A1.2 Stress Management and Coping
- Students will learn to recognize sources of stress and develop personal resilience.
- A1.3 Positive Motivation and Perseverance
- Students will learn to maintain positive motivation and perseverance so they can foster sense of optimism and hope.
- A1.4 Healthy Relationships
- Students will learn to build healthy relationships and communicate effectively so they can develop healthy relationships and respect for diversity.
- A1.5 Self-awareness and Sense of Identity
- Students will learn to develop self-awareness and self-confidence so they can feel a sense of identity and belonging.
- A1.6 Critical and Creative Thinking
- Students will learn to think critically and creatively so they can make informed decisions and solve problems
Recommendations for Planning
Across the curriculum, the SEL skills are integrated into the teaching and learning associated with each of the expectations in Strand B: Active Living, Strand C: Movement Competence and Strand D: Healthy Living. This is illustrated in the Health and Physical Education image (p.8) which speaks to the connections that can be made to all four strands with the student at the center of the learning. The SEL skills are tagged in square brackets after the expectation, and use these identifiers: A1.1 Emotions, 1.2 Coping, 1.3 Motivation, 1.4 Relationships, 1.5 Self, 1.6 Thinking.
With the inclusion of SEL skills in the Active Living strand there are opportunities to link the importance of daily physical activity and its benefits for mental health.
Additionally, the 2019 Elementary H&PE curriculum includes a description of the specific expectations in Strand A for every grade level. These are written with developmentally appropriate examples and can serve as a guide for teachers when integrating SEL skills into their planning.
Some strategies shared by the webinar presenters and participants include:
- Use the 2019 Elementary H&PE curriculum as a resource. This document, including the front matter glossary of terms and the examples given for the expectations, has a wealth of information to guide a teacher in planning and implementing H&PE.
- If you teach rotary H&PE, work with the homeroom teacher to use consistent terms and common language when teaching Social-Emotional Learning skills. Tap into strategies that are already being used (e.g., a problem-solving wheel, responsibility partners).
- Picture books are a good way to unpack talking about feelings and relationships. As an extension to this conversation, picture books can also provide students with tools to stop, reflect, and engage in thinking about physical activity and learning to move in relation to objects and others.
- To support validating students’ emotions and feelings it is important to truly listen to what students are saying and acknowledge how they feel. Do not underestimate the value of a smile as it might be the only one a student sees in a day.
- Print, display, and refer to a poster of the 2019 Elementary H&PE curriculum image (page 8) so students as well as adults within the school community (i.e., other school staff, parents/guardians) have a visual to connect their learning to during the lessons.
- Use outdoor education as a vehicle for health and well-being.
- Use a whiteboard/wipe board with the learning goals (including SEL skills) for each day listed for all grades and start with a discussion.
- Print hard copies of the 2019 Elementary H&PE curriculum or key elements such as the strand chart on page 24 for teachers to refer to, to support collaborating with colleagues or for information sharing and discussions with parents during parent/teacher interviews.
- Give students a voice and time to reflect on their learning such as using exit cards or a" Streetlight" instant check-in for students to use at the end of the class (e.g., a laminated streetlight with red, yellow, green for students to touch the corresponding light to how they feel) .
- Bring the learning beyond the class time with intramurals to support a sense of belonging and continue the SEL skills discussions and reflections in a fun environment that promotes physical activity participation.
Assessment and Evaluation
Some key reminders for assessment and evaluation in elementary H&PE included that “in all grades, learning related to the expectations in this strand [Strand A] occurs in the context of learning related to the other three strands and is assessed and evaluated within these contexts.” It is also important to note that “in connection with the 2019 Elementary H&PE curriculum, Growing Success, 2010, still refers to “living skills”. These references can now be taken to apply to Social-Emotional Learning skills. They will be updated in the next edition of the document.
- The Ontario Ministry of Education
- The Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Information for Parents”
- The Ontario Ministry of Education Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools
- School Mental Health Ontario
- Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators
- Ophea and OASPHE’s Quality Assessment to Support the Development of Physical Literacy Skills in Health and Physical Education
- Ophea’s Health and Physical Education Webinar Series
- Ophea’s H&PE Curriculum Resources: Grades 1-8