Mini SEL Classroom Libraries

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Last spring, I applied for and was awarded a grant within the district whose parameters were basically that it have to do with bullying and/or SEL. Being a bibliophile, I jumped at the chance to get more books in the classrooms. I wrote the grant for getting a mini-SEL library for each classroom with books specific to the issues I see each grade level face most commonly/pervasively.

After we got the books (and oooed and ahhed over them extensively), we ordered some of our favorite book boxes for them, and consulted with our literacy coach. Our hope was that by including some standards-based discussion questions and writing prompts, we could garner additional investment from our teachers for the books usage. Then started the task of compiling (and sometimes creating) short extension activities for each book.

The end result was this:

Each box included a handout with both standards based and counselor created discussion questions and a handout briefly explaining activities the teachers could use to reinforce the books' lessons, as well as any accompanying materials (task cards, master copy of worksheet, etc.

We introduced these to the teachers very early in the mixed responses. A handful of teachers were excited, a handful were frustrated (our daily classroom's schedule is maxed out and anything that appears "extra" is stressful for the teachers), and most were apathetic. While we were hoping for lots of joy, we also recognize that everything new has a learning curve, both for us and for the teachers. When we first started doing regular classroom lessons, we had push back, and now they're usually jazzed for us to come in. Things take time to build, and a strong culture of SEL (and incorporating SEL into literacy!) is just in the growing and building stages still.

That said...about three or four months since introducing them...and we've gotten some GREAT feedback! The activities don't seem to be being used, so in the future we won't put time into them, but the books have been a huge hit. Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade in particular have been big fans.

Curious as to what books we selected for each grade?

Hands Off, Harry!
A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue
The Recess Queen

1st Grade
Clark the Shark
How Full is Your Bucket?
A Bug and a Wish

2nd Grade

3rd Grade
But It's Not My Fault!
The Juice Box Bully
The Invisible Boy

4th Grade
Just KiddingCoasting Casey
Simon's Hook

Interested in learning more about discussion questions or extension activities for a specific book? Email me or comment here. It may be a bit much to put here in a post but I'm happy to share everything I've got the rights to share.


  1. I would love to learn more about the discussion questions and activities! I can think of at least a few teachers who would be into this, and I think it's a great idea overall.

    1. Hey Nancy! Give me your email and let me know which books in particular you're interested in and I'll share what we came up with!

  2. Hi Sara, sorry it took me so long to respond! I'm just seeing this now. My email is nancymwang at me dot com. I would love the activities for: Recess Queen, Clark the Shark, the Most Magnificent Thing, the Invisible Boy, and Simon's Hook? I know that's a lot so if you can only do a few I totally understand. Thanks so much!

  3. Thank you so much! These all look so good and I've already used a couple with one class in particular. I think I found you through a FB group for school counselors - I have loved following your blog since then!


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