How to Promote Social-Emotional Learning with Students

Wendy Totino
How to Promote Social-Emotional Learning with Students - Dude. Be Nice

We first learned about dude. be nice at the TASC Advisors Workshop held in San Marcos, TX. We loved everything that we learned from them and knew that their framework would help us seamlessly connect our social, emotional, and character development skills to our students.

We then brainstormed how we could implement this on our campus. Our student leaders came up with ideas, and this is what got the ball rolling.

As teachers, one of our goals is to ensure that students grow in both social understanding as well as their own personal emotional learning. In our planning for Dude Be Nice Week, we looked for ways to make this growth happen.

How we used dude. be nice to promote social and emotional learning on our campus:

  1. To kick off our week, we made a huge sign that said, “Be the I in KIND” and the students all had their pictures taken where the “I” would be.
  2. On Monday, we encouraged all students and staff to wear pajamas and our theme was “Wake up to Kindness!” 
  3. We started Tuesday off with everyone wearing rainbow or tye-dye clothing with our motto, “Color the School With Kindness.” We also had students in grades 3 - 5 paint kindness rocks for our Kindness Rocks Garden. 
  4. Wednesday was our big Dude Be Nice Day. We encouraged everyone who bought a Dude Be Nice t-shirt to wear it on this day and those who were not able to purchase one to wear red. We took a school-wide photo in the shape of a heart to show our love for kindness. 
  5. On Thursday, students greeted and thanked any and all school staff. Throughout the day the students were so happy to come up and say thank you or give them a thank you note. Some of the cards the students brought were handmade and some were bought, but regardless, they truly meant the world to all staff members that day.
  6. We ended the week on Friday with “Fist Bump Friday.” The smile on the kids' faces when teachers were fist-bumping them was priceless. 

Each morning during our announcements, we choose 5 kindness quotes out of the 365 Days of Wonder book that were read over the intercom by a student council member. The week was a huge success, and everyone is looking forward to us growing this even bigger and better next school year. 

But the kind spirit didn’t stop at our elementary school! We also had a Welcome to School Rally and students were greeted by student council members, athletes, and cheerleaders from our high school.

The students were greeted with cheers, songs, and dancing as they unloaded off buses or in the car rider line. This made for a wild and fun morning instead of the usual “UGGHHHH! We don’t want to be here on Wednesday!”

By collaborating with DBN, we were able to come up with various ideas to promote kindness on our campus. It truly helped students practice empathy. This, in turn, helped them become more aware of how their actions can affect others. 

We feel that students have learned a life lesson on how to treat others with more kindness and to not be quick to judge others. Students learned that a smile can make a big difference in someone else's day. 


By Vicki Long and Wendy Totino, Teachers and Student Council Advisors at Deweyville Elementary School. 

To build a more positive community on your campus as Deweyville Elementary did, check out DBN’s custom tees and our free resources. We’ve got your back.

1 comment

  • Michelle Pina

    I L❤️VE this story about Deweyville Elementary! Well done and it’s super lessons and examples for our children! Keep it up! 👍

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