SEL Program Lesson Integration #5

This “lesson integration” is a framework for integrating a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) concept into one of your tutoring sessions. It describes the concept you will be integrating into your lesson and gives you a loose structure to follow. Make sure to read through the entire lesson integration prior to your session so you are familiar with the SEL concept you will be focusing on.

Don’t forget to use the D.N.A. method whenever you want to address your student’s behavior!

Download the below lesson integration as a printable PDF. Please note, if you choose to do the optional activity there may additional PDFs you will need to print and download.

During this session and all future sessions, continue to remind your student(s) that they are safe, and that they are the only ones in control of their emotions.

Use the DNA Method and
focus on the positive when addressing misbehavior.

DESCRIBE behavior calmly and without judgment.

For younger students: “your face looks like this (mirror expression).” For older students: “you pulled your hoodie over your face.”

Wait for eye contact. Take deep breaths together (if you start, hopefully they’ll join).

NOTICE and model empathy.

“You seem ________.”

ACKNOWLEDGE and problem solve.

“You wanted _____.” or “You were hoping _____.” Followed by “your choices are _____ or _____.” Both choices should be ones you can live with.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. This is important for students to learn so they can respond appropriately to others in social situations, better understand others’ emotions and perspectives, build stronger relationships, and be more likely to help people.

Always check in with your student(s) at the beginning of each session. Remind them that tutoring sessions are safe spaces and take some deep breaths if necessary. Ask your student(s) if they would be willing to share some things that they were grateful for during the past week. Share some things that you are grateful for.

Ask your student(s) to tell you about a time during the past week that they felt empathy. It could be something that they experienced at school, at home, in a book, on a TV show, or in any other situation, fictional or real. If a review of empathy is needed, go back to the previous lesson.

Beginning SEL Activity

Read this quote with your student(s):

“The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy.” – Mehmet Oz

Ask them what they think the author of the quote means and if they think that empathy is really the opposite of anger. Discuss, keeping in mind that there is no right answer.

During Your Session

Do any pre-prepared activity while reinforcing the ideas about empathy you’ve been discussing, if possible. Continue practicing the breathing and self-regulation techniques learned in the first integration when opportunities arise. Alternatively, cut out and use these situation cards to play the Empathy Game. Take turns picking cards blindly and talk about how the person in the situation on the card would feel. You can also make your own cards.

At The End of Your Session

Review everything you talked about and did during the session. Encourage your student(s) to practice breathing, gratitude, and empathy in their daily lives. Confirm the day and time of the next session and wish your student(s) well.