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Welcome to Our SEL Hub

Thank you for taking the time to visit our social-emotional learning (SEL) hub. As a member of the Highlights Family of Companies, Zaner-Bloser is committed to supporting all students and empowering them to be their best selves—it’s part of our mission to recognize children as the world’s most important people!

SEL is sometimes considered an add-on, or something extra to introduce to instruction…but it’s really the heart and soul of every classroom! With some expert advice and thoughtfully crafted activities, we can help you can expand upon the SEL foundation you’ve already established to grow a thriving classroom community based in shared respect and positivity.

Welcome Image
Welcome Image

Read on to meet our SEL experts, watch videos with helpful tips, download our Joyful Beginnings PDF with suggested activities, and create and share your SEL-inspired pledge for creating an inclusive, thriving classroom community!

Join Us!

Be a part of our growing SEL community. Register to receive news and provide input on new resources in development! Look for more opportunities for conversation and collaboration in the future.

Meet Our SEL Experts

We are pleased to partner with learning authorities Dr. Ernest Morrell and Pam Allyn to provide both thoughtful guidance and informed practices to promote SEL.

Please take a moment to watch a video to meet our experts. Hear about their Self–Community–World approach to SEL and learn

  • why SEL is so important for healthy personal development.
  • how intentional SEL practices can help all students feel a sense of belonging.
  • what educators can do daily to build a thriving, SEL-driven learning community and encourage student buy-in.

Meet the Experts
Ernest Morrell
Ernest Morrell

Dr. Ernest Morrell

Ernest Morrell is the Coyle Professor of Literacy Education and Director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame.

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He is also director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) James R. Squire Office for Policy Research in the English Language Arts, an elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and a co-convener of the African Diaspora International Research Network.

His areas of interest include Critical Pedagogy, English Education, Literacy Studies, Postcolonial Studies, popular culture and education across the African Diaspora. He and Pam Allyn are co-authors of Every Child a Super Reader.

Pam Allyn
Pam Allyn

Pam Allyn

Pam Allyn is an award-winning education innovator, author of books for families and educators, public speaker, and thought leader in the confluence of social-emotional learning and literacy development.

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She is the founder of Dewey, a family learning initiative, and the widely acclaimed global nonprofit organization LitWorld. Pam has proven success in creating and scaling programs such as LitCamp and World Read Aloud Day.

Her areas of interest include Educational Equity, Literacy, Power of Reading, Children's Own Stories, Learning Standards, Motivational Strategies to Reach All Children, and more. Pam is the author of over 25 books for educators, leaders, and families on reading, writing, and learning. She and Dr. Ernest Morrell are co-authors of Every Child a Super Reader.

Look for additional videos featuring our experts’ advice—including why you should craft your unique SEL Joyful Beginnings Pledge!—in the sections below.

5 Ways to Reframe SEL

These five guidelines can help make SEL a part of your students’ daily learning. They also provide the framework for our Joyful Beginnings resource, which contains suggested activities to put each idea into practice. Download and share below!

1. Create an environment of belonging.

According to Morrell and Allyn, social-emotional learning is grounded in the concept of Self–Community–World and hinges on a child’s sense of belonging. Watch as our experts discuss how to encourage students’ self-value—and why it’s so important for fostering a welcoming community.

2. Build a community that includes every voice.

Listening—not talking—is our most frequent form of communication! To ensure every voice is heard in the classroom community it’s important to create a culture of deep listening. Watch our experts talk listening and vocalizing.

3. Make spaces for storytelling.

Kids often receive stories—but it’s equally important that they are given opportunities to share them. By sharing their own stories, not only will students practice narrative, but they’ll also build connection with and empathy toward one another.

4. Set the stage for world changers through goal setting.

As children develop their sense of self and community, they can begin to consider the larger world and their roles within it. Consider the SEL arc of Self–Community–World and how it empowers students to take action as agents of change!

5. Center delight and celebration.

An important part of social-emotional learning is celebrating—all year long. Make delight and celebration an intentional and frequent part of your classroom community.

Be sure to revisit this page often to access new resources as we build our SEL Hub of expert advice, actionable tips, and videos.

Joyful Beginnings

Every day is an opportunity to begin anew! Whether it’s back to school or back from lunch, you can empower your students to start fresh with a positive attitude and a renewed commitment toward participation, appreciation, and inclusion.

Download our SEL Joyful Beginnings: 5 Ways to Reframe Social-Emotional Learning PDF to get started!

  • Tips for teachers, including actionable resources to establish a thriving community rich in SEL
  • Prompts and resources for encouraging and rewarding good SEL practices
  • Template for crafting a student-driven SEL classroom pledge

Craft Your SEL Pledge!

Your students’ buy-in is key to creating a thriving community—one that is defined by shared expectations for personal behavior and respect for one’s peers.

Download our Joyful Beginnings Pledge template and personalize it based on input from your students. (It’s a great exercise to reinforce the concepts of deep listening, vocalizing, and goal setting!)

Hang your completed pledge on a wall or share it as a handout so each student has a reminder of their value—and responsibility—as a contributing member of the community.

Share Your Pledge Progress

We’d love to see your students’ collective work. Send us your customized pledge and we’ll share it as part of our growing SEL community.

E-mail Your Pledge
Reach out to us at social.emotional@zaner-bloser.com

  • Attach a completed version of the PDF
  • Record a video with your class reciting your pledge
  • Create a “Declaration of Joyful Beginnings” with each student’s signature on a poster or bulletin board and share a photo
  • Surprise us with your original approach!

Be sure to include teacher’s name, grade level, school, and district in your e-mail message. Don’t forget your social info (school hashtag, handles, etc.) so we can tag you in our posts.

Engage with us on social

Be sure to tag Zaner-Bloser!

Join Us!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on incorporating SEL into daily instruction. Join our growing community to receive news and provide feedback on resources currently in development. We look forward to opportunities for conversation and collaboration.