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6 Apps that Positively Impact SEL

Helping students navigate the whirlwind of social and emotional well-being via digital platforms.

The heavy emphasis placed on standards has left many wondering Where has the importance of the whole child gone? In a time of standards-heavy and data-driven education, the overall mental health and well-being of students can seemingly get lost in the shuffle. Yet, this is something that absolutely cannot be overlooked and may need to take on a new look for our current generation of students. This collection of apps that focuses on SEL is a perfect starting point or addition to a movement to include more of the whole child in any curriculum or student-centered setting.

Positive Penguins- An app that fosters positivity and resilience for only $0.99 is quite an affordable find. Positive Penguins is an award-winning app that helps kids gain some understanding when it comes to emotions and facing challenges. From a simple 5-minute guided meditation to strategies for helping students understand what brings about emotions, reactions to situations, and problem solving, there are many useful and engaging components to this user-friendly app. While a game mode exists to add a little fun to the mix, the resilience strategy that helps users of any age redefine negative thinking is the highlight of the interactive journey to a more optimistic outlook.

emotionary by Funny Feelings- The ability to label emotions and understand feelings is priceless, and this no-cost app makes it a whole lot easier. The app takes the five key emotions of anger, fear, anticipation, joy, and sadness, and then subcategorizes each to help users pinpoint their true feelings. With over 100 emoticons, kids are exposed to a wide array of words for expressing their feelings and gain an understanding of the complexities associated with emotional wellbeing. At only $2.99, the emotionary+ app offers users more opportunities to explore emotions with fun idioms and informal expressions in addition to the opportunity to draw a shareable emotionary selfie.

Middle School Confidential™ Series- Based on the popular book series for students ages 8-14, this trio of apps lets students experience the lesson shared by Anne Fox in an accessibly digital format. For only $6.99, students can follow the engaging and relatable characters who attend Milldale Middle School as they navigate many of the trying, coming-of-age challenges that can so often plague students. The comic-strip narratives presented in the app can be found right alongside quizzes, quotes from fellow teens, insider tips, tools, and a host of online and real-world resources. A great way to allow students to see the struggles and solutions of others play out in a non-threatening story format.

Smiling Mind- This free app focuses on mindfulness and overall life balance. Developed by psychologists and educators, Smiling Mind offers a variety of programs for users ages 7 and up. The life-balance challenges of an eight-year-old are going to look very different from those of a seventeen-year-old, and the developers take that into account with a variety of age-appropriate experiences offered. The app helps users deal with the pressure, stress, and challenges of daily life, and it modifies and changes to support rising levels of maturity and development. With programs specifically centered around sports, the classroom, and the workplace too, this is truly an all-encompassing app for restorative balance.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street- Who better to help kids navigate big emotions than the familiar and lovable characters from Sesame Street? In this free app, young learners can learn some lifelong lessons about working through challenges and finding their emotional balance. Problem-solving is a big part of emotional intelligence, and through this bilingual app, students will be well on their way to exploring some positive strategies for dealing with challenges and conflict. Users will build their emotional vocabularies as they learn calm breathing techniques and gain exposure to personal encouragments.

The Social Express II- This SEL curriculum was designed to meet the needs of children and young adults with social learning challenges. This subscription-based service offers a host of potential benefits. Users are able to interact within 81 animated webisodes that aid them in becoming more socially competent. With flexible teaching plans, a variety of assessments, and more to assist students in navigating the social sphere, The Social Express II can be a worthy investment as a monthly or yearly subscription.

Technology with an SEL-focus offers an excellent way to present and reinforce the skills that students of all ages need to positively navigate through life. By building a strong social and emotional psyche, students are able to find more success within the academic realm. This collection of SEL apps puts the tools for achieving positive mental health at students’ fingertips.

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