9 Good Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Apps to Transform Student Well-Being

The importance of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in education has become increasingly evident in the post-pandemic world. A recent Yale School of Medicine Research study highlighted the significant benefits of an SEL focus helping students find success in not only school, but in life overall. Social and Emotional Learning aids students in understanding and managing emotions, feeling and showing empathy for others, establishing positive relationships, and making responsible decisions. That’s why, in this blog post I will introduce you to some of my recommended SEL apps.

The following competencies that students develop with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are from the CASEL framework. They address five broad, interrelated areas of competence:

  • self-awareness,
  • self-management,
  • social awareness,
  • relationship skills, and
  • responsible decision-making

The above five core competencies of SEL are a part of everything teachers and students do in the classroom. You can easily fit them into your subject area. And you don’t have to start from scratch! In the era of digital learning, there are numerous apps designed to bolster these competencies.

9 Quality SEL apps teachers can use in the classroom to transform student well-being

Now, let’s explore some of the top SEL apps for different age groups. Click on the title to jump to the social emotional learning tools and websites you can use for your students.

I’m also sharing some BookWidgets tips for our widgeteers. These are interactive lesson ideas and widgets you can duplicate and use in your classroom in combination with the mentioned SEL app. If you’re new to BookWidgets, let me shortly explain: BookWidgets is a content creation and evaluation tool for teachers.

SEL apps for primary school students

At a foundational age, social emotional learning apps provide primary students with interactive and engaging tools to understand and manage their emotions effectively. These apps foster essential skills like empathy and teamwork, laying the groundwork for successful interpersonal relationships throughout their lives.

1. ClassDojo

ClassDojo offers a platform for between teachers, students, and parents. It helps in building classroom communities and encourages students to develop positive behaviors. A small group study of first grade students found that the ClassDojo program can be linked to Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD), as the students create rules with the teacher’s help and then the teacher uses ClassDojo to scaffold positive student behavior. Teachers who embrace the use of technology in their classrooms may find that Class Dojo is the pefect addition to their tech toolbox.

💲Pricing: Free & Premium Features

Widgeteer Tip! How about creating a reward system using BookWidgets quizzes? For every correct answer on a quiz, students can earn Dojo points. Teachers can include the Dojo points in the automatic feedback of a BookWidgets Quiz widget. This fosters motivation and positive reinforcement - key components of the SEL curriculum.

2. GoNoodle

According to the Center For Disease Control, 1 in 6 children in the United States struggle with their mental health. Check out GoNoodle as well as SuperNoodle which includes a SEL Curriculum for elementary-aged learners.

SuperNoodle builds on the power of GoNoodle and its reach into 96% of public elementary schools in the United States. SuperNoodle leverages proven best-practices, an immersive experience, and continual feedback from experts to create happier, healthier kids. If you are looking to change the energy in your classroom this is the application for you. SuperNoodle focuses on eight core competencies: Connection, Choice, Coping Skills, Creativity, Compassion, Curiosity, Confidence, and Collaboration.

GoNoodle is great for movement and mindfulness. It offers a range of videos and activities designed to get kids moving, thus helping them to focus and calm down.

💲 Pricing: Free & premium features

Widgeteer Tip! After a movement break with GoNoodle, use BookWidgets to create reflective journals using the Worksheet widget where students can note down how they feel. For younger students create a multiple choice image question using fun emojis. Here is an example of an SEL worksheet for younger learners. You could also call it an SEL Exit Ticket. Feel free to make a copy in your own BookWidgets account and make changes (or not) before you share it with your students.

SEL apps for middle school students

During the transitional phase of adolescence, social emotional learning apps offer middle schoolers structured guidance to navigate complex emotional and social scenarios. Such platforms equip them with strategies to address peer pressure, identity struggles, and the increasing academic demands of their environment. Utilizing these apps, students can access resources and scenarios that build resilience, confidence, and a greater sense of self-awareness. Make sure to check out this blog post with 5 powerful lesson ideas to help find students self-identity.

3. Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind provides age-specific mindfulness meditations geared especially for middle school students. It can help in stress management and focus. Smiling Mind is considered Australia’s go-to expert for youth-based mindfulness programs. The Smiling Mind App can be downloaded for free from both Google Play and Apple. While I like Smiling Mind for middle school students, there are many age level category options. Make sure you find the correct fit for your learners. There are premium classroom and school programs offered as well. As a complement to existing mental health and wellbeing programs, Smiling Mind may:

  • encourage participants to be focused on the present moment when engaged in set activities
  • provide a grounded start to the day/session/training
  • encourage focused attention
  • increase levels of empathy with fellow students.

💲 Pricing: Free & premium features

Widgeteer Tip!After a session on Smiling Mind, create and share a BookWidgets Exit Slip widget activit where students can indicate how they are feeling, their experiences, and thoughts. This can aid students’ in reflection and introspection before, during and after a lesson or activity. Check out this Exit Slip SEL check-in example

4. Headspace for Educators

Headspace offers free access to K-12 (primary-secondary) teachers and supporting staff in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Headspace can help students build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Better focus, less stress, and happier thoughts are just a few minutes away.

Headspace also has an animated series, The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island, which teaches mindfulness skills to help students learn how to regulate their emotions in day-to-day life. Students will learn mindfulness tools and mental health principles, like meditation and breathing exercises, to help navigate stressful situations in short 10-minute animated episodes. Check out The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island, on Headspace’s YouTube channel.

💲 Pricing: Free

Widgeteer Tip! Use a split Worksheet widget in your classroom to begin in a discussion around the problems Lilly faced in that episode and the mindfulness exercise she put into practice to help. Use the discussion questions provided to help facilitate conversations. End your time by searching for the chosen exercise in the Headspace app and letting our kids’ mindfulness expert lead your class through their own exercise. Design activities including video Quizzes, split worksheets and whiteboard activities in BookWidgets that assess students’ understanding of different emotions and coping mechanisms. Provide immediate feedback to guide them. Here is a Split Worksheet example that you can duplicate for your students.

SEL apps for high school students

As high schoolers approach adulthood, social emotional learning apps provide tailored resources to handle the pressures of academic challenges, future career planning, and evolving personal relationships. These apps facilitate a deeper understanding of mental well-being, stress management, and conflict resolution, which are pivotal for their impending transition to higher education or the workforce. The digital format ensures that teenagers can seek guidance and support discreetly, catering to their growing need for autonomy and self-direction.

5. Calm for Educators

Calm is a meditation and sleep app which can be especially helpful for high school students battling stress. Calm believes that at the heart of a mindful classroom is a healthy and happy teacher. It is just as important to take care of yourself as it is to take care of your students.(and the celebrity voices which will help you fall asleep are awesome!) When you’re thriving you naturally have more energy, creativity, and empathy to offer your students. With Calm for Schools you will find:

  • Age-specific resources to help you bring mindfulness into the classroom
  • A self-care guide to support you during the school day and beyond
  • A free sampling of meditations, music, Sleep Stories, breathing exercises and more

💲 Pricing: Free & Premium Features)

Widgeteer Tip! Make sure to check out this blog post with lesson ideas and digital activities to help students with mental health issues.

6. Evernote

While not a mindfulness app or SEL app per se, Evernote can help students remember everything and tackle any project with notes, tasks, and schedules all in one place. Keeping organized is a key to a stress-free day for many students. Evernote may be the solution for them. Evernote works on most mobile devices and many desktop computers.

While it’s essentially though of as a note-taking app, Evernote can be used for so much more by students (and educators) for self-reflection, organizing thoughts, goal setting, note taking and more.

💲 Pricing: Free & Premium Features

Widgeteer Tip! Assign projects where students can complete a WebQuest or other activity using Evernote notes, scans, recordings, drawings and more. Combine rich text responses with audio and image response question types in BookWidgets. Students can share their Evernote links as responses to questions or to show evidence of learning through responding to BookWidgets assignments, ensuring a streamlined review and feedback process.

SEL apps for students of all ages

For students of every age, social emotional learning apps offer a continuum of developmentally appropriate tools to bolster emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills throughout their academic journey.

7. Microsoft Reflect

Microsoft Reflect was a great tool for building a strong community in my classroom. One way I met the social emotional needs of my learners was through Reflect for check-ins. Reflect is available via a web browser without the necessity of downloading a separate application, thus keeping students inside the Teams Environment.

In the pursuit of fostering a nurturing and supportive classroom environment, it’s crucial to address the social and emotional needs of all students. Microsoft Reflect emerges as a pivotal tool for those classroom teachers with access to Microsoft Teams. Reflect offers a streamlined platform for educators to conduct meaningful check-ins with students, providing insights into the well-being of their learners. Through this intuitive app, teachers can not only gauge the emotional state of their students but also strengthen the sense of community within the classroom, ultimately leading to a more contented and resilient learning atmosphere. Within Reflect, learners respond to check-ins using emojis and the Feelings Monster, a research-backed character suitable for all ages, which showcases 60 different emotions in an engaging and playful way.

This approach aids learners in authentically identifying and naming their emotions, thereby fostering the growth of emotional granularity. Bonus! Reflect can also be used for Educator check-ins during professional development and faculty/staff meetings. Remember, self-care is key to being able to be at your best in your classroom.

💲 Pricing: Free

Widgeteer Tip! Teachers can create engaging and interactive BookWidgets exercises right inside Microsoft Teams for Education. Microsoft Reflect is a great way to jumpstart classroom connections and then use BookWidgets’ worksheets, split worksheets, planners, whiteboards and so much more to continue connecting. Here is an example you can use to create a feeling of gratitude each day.

8. Google: Be Internet Awesome

Be Internet Awesome aims to encourage parents, educators and kids alike to exhibit all the traits that make up “Being Awesome”. The lessons, curriculum and online activities focus on qualties of not only Cyber-awareness but also Social-Emotional well-being. The focus of Google’s Be Internet Awesome lessons include:

  • Be Internet Smart: Share with care. Be mindful of one’s online reputation.
  • Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake. Avoid phishing and scams.
  • Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets. Understand privacy and security.
  • Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind. How to deal with and avoid online harassment.
  • Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out. Report inappropriate content.

💲 Pricing: Free

Widgeteer Tip! Did you know that you can integrate BookWidgets activities directly inside your Google Classroom? Google Classroom users can integrate Interland and other Be Internet Awesome activities directly in BookWidgets Quizzes, Worksheets, Split Worksheets and more. Then share in Google Classroom. No need to have multiple tabs open; students will appreciate the ease and seamless integration all in one digital place. Check out our webinar OR request the Google Add-On.

9. BookWidgets

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind readers that BookWidgets can also be used to address the social-emotional needs of everyone in our schools. I have highlighted numerous activities in the blog post already. BookWidgets is a content creation and evaluation tool for teachers. It helps educators to create engaging interactive activities with over 40 widgets (= exercise templates) utilizing over 35 question types. Most of the assignments are auto-graded! Here’s an example of a worksheet widget with all question types. Its innovative resources empower educators to effortlessly create interactive content and promote personalized learning.

My colleague, Kate Baker, already wrote a blog post with some BookWidgets SEL activities. Go check it out here. As you are the designer, you just need the inspiration to create any kind of SEL activity you like.

AND since you made it to the end of my article, here is a bonus for you - one of my favorite activities - a Webquest! ✨ Here are some daily check-in with students activities.

What do you need

Click to open

I am confindent that these examples will inspire you to think about creative ways you can use BookWidgets to connect with your students.

There’s one more question I’d like to solve: Why integrate SEL apps with BookWidgets?

As a veteran educator, I believe the often repeated phrase- “Maslow before Bloom”. Creating a culture of carging, community and kindness in my classroom must happen before any significant learning can happen. While many see SEL is an emerging trend in education. It has been the cornsestone of my practice since entering the first classroom. Merging SEL apps with BookWidgets ensures a blended learning approach. While the apps foster emotional intelligence, BookWidgets complements this by offering opportunities for reflection, assessment, and deeper learning. The flexibility and versatility of BookWidgets make it an invaluable tool for educators aiming to enhance social-emotional competencies. Remember, while technology can aid SEL, human connection remains at its core. Using these tools, educators can craft meaningful experiences that cater to students’ emotional and intellectual needs.


Want to learn more about how you can use BookWidgets to encourage a positive classroom culture with a combined focus on learning and meeting the social emotional needs of your students? Check out these curated resources. 👇

Join our BookWidgets Blog group. Look for the folder on Mental Health, you will find and can check out all the awesome Widgets there. Most activities shared in this post allow you to make a copy in your BookWidgets account. This way, you can tailor the widgets and share it with your students.

Share your awesome Widgets in our Facebook Group as well. I can’t wait to see what you create. I hope you found some innovation, inspiration, and imagination in this post. Which of these ideas is your favorite? Let us know on X (Twitter)! - @ibookwidgets and connect with me.

Sheryl Place

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BookWidgets enables teachers to create fun and interactive lessons for tablets, smartphones, and computers.

Choose from over 40 exercise templates (quizzes, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, ...), and adapt them with your own content.