good social emotional health and learning

3 Steps for WORD Workouts to See Better Social Emotional Health and Learning

Social emotional health matters. WORD Workouts are a fantastic way to help students connect with their emotions. Additionally, these quick lessons promote student social emotional health. In these times, we know that helping students express how they are feeling can help them better cope with their emotions. Furthermore, better coping can open up the door to better learning as well. Additionally, when you add physical exercise to the mix, you’ve got an excellent brain break for your classroom which is much more than just a break. 

good social emotional health and learning

Today’s sponsor is NaliniKIDS, creator of All opinions are my own.

WORD Workouts are a simple superpower that help you get the most out of the moments you have to help students reset, connect, and regroup. The free and simple WORD Workouts at can help you get started connecting to your students in new ways. Additionally, I’ll also share how WORD Workouts works and help you get started.

WORD Workouts Social emotional learning

STEP 1: Start by picking your emphasis word.

What are WORD Workouts?

WORD workouts connect common emotional words, physical movement, and reflection to help students have a brain break and an experience that matters in the classroom. A daily WORD Workout is a perfect addition to every classroom. The promote good social emotional health in students.

Words Matter. They can lift us up or tear us down. The emotions in the WORD library represent common emotions that kids 4-18 feel every day according to educators. (See video.)


Physical movement helps. Sometimes students just need to get up and move. When meaningful words connect with intentional movement, it helps students consider important emotions that matter in their life right now as they reset and connect with their classmates.

Emotional connections engage students. When students reflect on their emotions, they can become more self-aware as they work to cope with the complex world.

3 Steps to Engage Students with a WORD Workout for Good Social Emotional Health

Step 1: Choose a Word

First, choose a word from the Pre-K – 12th grade WORD Workouts library that resonates with your classroom culture. Also consider what your students are experiencing right now. In particular, your insight as a teacher will help students move towards good social emotional health.

In this example, we’ll choose the word “SAFE.”

free social emotional learning lesson plans

As the teacher, you can select from many words that will be appropriate for the age and stage of your classroom.

Step 2: Move

Play the 2-minute video. During the exercise, this video will connect the word with your students’ bodies. In this example, the students will learn what SAFE means to them and how it relates to their bodies as they experience the “SAFE” Workout.

sel workout brain break

Students participate in a workout based upon the word of the day.

Step 3: Reflect

In this step, students can choose from one of twelve question prompts to reflect as they think or to reflect in a writing assignment or journal. Then, these reflections will help students draw connections to how this emotion connects to their lives now.

sel workout brain break

Select a reflection question for student journals, discussion, or personal reflection. Furthermore, targeted conversations and reflection help promote good student social emotional health.

How can teachers use WORD Workouts in their classrooms to promote social emotional health?

  • Elementary teachers use WORD Workouts as students transition from one subject to another. 
  • Middle and high school teachers use WORD Workouts during advisory periods or even in counseling.
  • You can create collections of words around a topic. For example, the word could be an emphasis for your school or classroom during a period of time. Often, some schools emphasize a topic during a month. So, WORD Workouts makes it easy to quickly add the WORD Workout to your day relating to your theme.
  • Some lessons can introduce a variety of topics from history to ICT. For this reason, explore the words to determine which ones fit with your upcoming lesson plans.

WORD Workouts make a fantastic addition to your classroom. I believe these lessons can improve and help students move towards good social emotional health.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Astrid October 31, 2021 - 9:52 pm

I love this idea! I’m a huge fan of brain breaks and adding social emotional learning to it is a good way to get students to learn about their emotional health.

Brittany November 4, 2021 - 8:05 pm

Thank you so much for posting this blog. This really has me think about different ways I can implement these in my future classroom. Many times I feel that we only hit the surface of what a word can mean in the life and vocabulary of a child, and through this new idea that I have learned about I can give deeper meanings to these words, and the world around my students.

Ella Popenhagen November 6, 2021 - 4:36 pm

This is an awesome way to help your students get a better understanding of their emotions and create social-emotion confidence. It is great that on the website when you pick a word, you can pick the grade level you are working with. How often would you incorporate this into your classroom during the day?

Allie H November 17, 2021 - 5:09 pm

Being a student teacher, and soon entering into my first year of teaching I found this to be a great resource. Social emotional learning is something that I think is very important to not just the students but to me as a teacher as well. I really like this idea of WORD workouts! This is something that I plan to use in my future classroom. I like how you can create collections of words around a topic of your choice. This is good for when there may be an issue you see in your classroom, such as students not being respectful towards each other. This way you can focus your words that day around that topic.

Abby February 16, 2022 - 9:11 pm

I love this idea of Word Workouts! It seems like such a great way to introduce students to new emotion words, get students moving with a brain break, and give students opportunities to really think deeply about their own emotions and others around them. I would love to use this in my own classroom!


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