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Integrating SEL in the 6–12 Grade Classroom with BASE Education

Integrating SEL in the 6–12 Grade Classroom with BASE Education

As a 21st century educator, you know that social-emotional learning (SEL) is important, but how do you incorporate SEL into every school day? Wherever you are in your community’s SEL journey, including beginning stages such as “we have a solid foundation to expand upon” and “we are just getting started,” BASE Education’s SEL curricula and assessments can impact social-emotional skills for all and intervene with students who are most at risk. Let’s look at a three-phase middle and high school implementation to understand how to explicitly build SEL in our students and carry this awareness into all areas of the school day.

Integrating SEL in the 6–12 Grade Classroom with BASE Education

Phase 1: Implement four courses via teacher-directed instruction with your whole class using teacher guides.

Life Changes and Adjustments, Coping Strategies, Healthy Communication, and Stress Management: Begin with these four courses to get students talking and building universally relevant skills. Use the educator guide to support whole-group learning with specific language and depth of content.

We begin with tier 1 prevention, teacher-led courses that are universally accessible and relevant. No additional student setup is required for these group experiences. Utilizing this approach gives you time to work on a more nuanced implementation specifically tailored to your community and designed to meet student and teacher needs, now with content rooted in mental health and wellness principles and underscored by clinical research. During the classroom day, this may entail health class, senior or freshman seminars, study halls, career exploration, and life skills courses.

Phase 2: Implement BASEline assessment, and add student-led courses to specific target areas, in addition to whole-group lessons.

BASEline assessment is a self-report tool in the style of a survey that 6–12 grade students take when beginning their BASE Education course. The goal is to measure students’ perceptions or values, and there is no “correct” answer. Students are reflecting how they feel about themselves and their perceptions of connectedness, engagement, and behavior.

This 15-minute formative assessment reliably measures students’ strengths and needs in domains reflective of CASEL core competencies and school engagement, so you can effectively benchmark strengths and needs and track progress over time. Educators receive immediate results to answer: “What’s next?” on each student’s SEL path.

Use the BASEline Assessment Scoring Guide to unpack recommended interventions and courses that you can expect students to be assigned to complete independently based on score ranges inside each domain. Students will be well on their way at this point, and they will have been introduced to universally relevant topics with their peers. Also higher-need students will have a personalized playlist to work through to improve their individual SEL aptitudes.

Phase 3: Add student-led courses to core subject areas, utilize courses as a universal engagement, or implement an individualized school plan.
Lesson Planning

Integrating SEL does not have to be a complete rebuild of what you already do; we are adjusting our lens to ensure that we address our whole learners, explicitly incorporating and building these important skills. Check out CASEL’s SEL-Integrated Sample Lesson Plans to view how SEL is simply and clearly addressed within each core subject area of science, language arts, social studies, and mathematics.

In CASEL’s examples, you see an academic focus and an SEL focus. As you create your lesson objectives and correlate them to academic standards, add a section for SEL objectives and standards. Think through where the valuable points are within your lesson to reinforce specific competencies. Walk through the lesson, and plan as you always do, adding this overt SEL layer to make the learning even more impactful.

Integrating SEL in the 6–12 Grade Classroom with BASE Education

A Lesson in Action

Let’s look at how we can use BASE Education courses in a high school ELA class reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This is a tough book with themes that are controversial and unsettling. As a teacher, I want to use prevention courses as I prepare my class for reading this memoir. I know that I need to be comfortable with emotions that arise from students and to be able to identify any impacts of trauma. Because BASE Education courses are created by mental health professionals, appropriate understanding is derived from the content, and students can approach the autobiography armed with the understanding and perspective they need in order to achieve success.

Some BASE Education courses to support learning for this memoir could include:

  • Cultural Implications Within Family and Learned Behavior
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Avoiding Exploitation

Integrating SEL in your lessons doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can be worthwhile when it comes to teaching the whole child. Learn more about Edmentum’s partnership with BASE Education, and explore the robust catalog of more than 100 SEL courses. For younger grade levels, you can dive into a three-phase SEL implementation model in the elementary classroom to complete your schoolwide implementation.'s picture
Sian Reilly

Sian joined Edmentum in 2019 and serves as a Senior Marketing Specialist. A former teacher and administrator, Sian believes that individualizing education for the whole learner with quality academic and non-academic curriculum and assessment can powerfully transform students, campuses, and communities. Sian is passionate about connecting educators with content to meet their specific needs in an ever-evolving education environment.