Quotes can be a valuable tool to teach social-emotional skills. They are fun, meaningful, and easy to remember. Taking it one step further, quotes just naturally relate to critical SEL skills like empathy, confidence, friendships, self-control, perseverance (just to name a few).
Stop for a moment and think about your favorite quote. You probably have one or two that mean something important to you. I think of Conan O’Brien’s parting quote from his television show: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” This exercise alone illustrates the power of using quotes in the classroom; they’re meaningful and they’re memorable.
My favorite thing about quotes, though, is that they align so perfectly with social-emotional competencies we aim to teach students every day. While there are many different strategies for integrating SEL skills in the classroom, using quotes just might be one of the easiest. For example, the quote above might highlight topics like flexibility, kindness, and perseverance.
To get started using quotes to build SEL skills, just post one quote each day on the board or overhead. You can have students journal about what the quote means to them, or chat with a partner. Then, give time to discuss as a group. Some guided discussion questions you might ask include:
- What does this quote mean to you?
- What do you think about it?
- Why is it important?
- What skills do you think this quote might teach us?
- What are some ways you could apply this quote to your life?
Give some of the SEL quotes a try. If you love these, grab the FREE Quotes for SEL list to use with your students. The free list includes even more social-emotional quotes to discuss each day.
“You are enough and a work in progress all at the same time.”
“You are the hero of your own story.”
“You are braver, smarter, and stronger than you think you are.”
“Name your emotions. Sit with them. Give them the space they deserve.”
“You can’t fast-track your success. You have to work for it.”
“Let your biggest goals inspire you to do your best every day.”
Social Awareness Quotes:
“Kindness doesn’t cost anything, and yet it means everything.”
“Just be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.”
“How you treat others is a reflection of who you are.”
“A true friend will accept your past and encourage your future at the same time.”
“Apologizing doesn’t make you weak; it makes you real.”
“Friendship is a two-way street.”
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.”
“It’s never too late to stop and go down a different path.”
“You are free make a choice, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice.”
Grab the Free Printable List
Grab the free printable list of SEL quotes to start with your students. After using these, you can even have students come up with their own quotes to add to your daily discussions.