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INFOhio Resources Support Social Emotional Learning: Grades 6-8

Author // Emily Rozmus Tuesday, 01 October 2019

Develop SEL in Grades 6-8 with INFOhio's Digital Content

In June 2019, the Ohio Board of Education adopted the Social Emotional Learning Standards which were developed by Ohio teachers, school counselors, and educational personnel. The standards cover grades K-12 with Ohio's Early Learning and Development Standards already providing social and emotional learning guidelines for children ages birth to five. (See the INFOhio Early Learning Portal for resources to support these standards). The standards cover five competency areas important in developing social and emotional skills. These competencies are:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills 
  • Responsible Decision-Making 

The Ohio Department of Education encourages the integration of these standards into regular classroom activities. They will not be assessed, and schools are able to choose the best approaches for teaching and monitoring for mastery. Implementing these standards in schools supports the development of skills such as identifying and managing emotions, setting goals, understanding and practicing empathy, and establishing positive relationships. These standards are a critical part of the Ohio Department of Education's Each Child, Our Future strategic plan which outlines four domains necessary for preparing Ohio's students for their postsecondary lives.

INFOhio partnered with Ohio Department of Education through the advisory and development process of the Social Emotional Learning Standards. We believe that our resources and digital content can support the growth of Ohio students not only academically, but also mentally and emotionally. Using a variety of content, approaches, and media to teach social-emotional competencies will strengthen schools as they work to create the whole child. This blog series will highlight the resources available from INFOhio which can be used to support the Ohio Social and Emotional Learning Standards for Ohio schools. 

Grades 6-8

In middle school students struggle with many changes, both physically and emotionally. This can be a difficult period for some children and connecting with others may be challenging and frightening. A strong school and community connection fostered by social-emotional learning can reduce a child's feelings of being left out or alienated. This can contribute to lower dropout rates and instances of truancy (Smith & Low, 2013). In addition, having social-emotional skills correlates to the likelihood of completing high school and college (Gabriel, Ansel, & Krachman, 2015).

INFOhio's digital resources can support the development of social emotional skills in students in grades 6-8. Using the resources with groups of learners creates a sense of community and empathy. When used jointly, the media from INFOhio will enhance learning and support social emotional well-being.

Points of View Reference Center

This database presents multiple points of view on current issues. There are several ways to use this resource. First, browsing by topic allows students to find an issue they would like to learn more about. When they choose the issue, they will be presented with an overview of the topic, a point, and a counterpoint. It also provides a Guide to Critical Analysis that helps the student break down and evaluate what is being presented. Competency D: Relationship Skills asks middle grade students to "actively listen and understand multiple perspectives" (D1) and "recognize and acknowledge different perspectives of others to prevent conflict" (D3). Using Points of View Reference Center is a good way to start discussions in class or help students resolve conflicts that may arise from diverse viewpoints. 

Searching for topics in Points of View also yields valuable content to help support the social emotional standards. Use key words from the standards to find articles and eBooks that provide information. Here are a few examples:

Competency A - Self-Awareness - A1: Demonstrate an awareness of personal emotions

Competency B- Self-Management - B1: Regulate emotions and behaviors by using thinking strategies that are consistent with brain development

Surviving the Roller Coaster: A Teen's Guide to Coping with Moods - the first chapter of this eBook will help middle schoolers recognize and name complex emotions and safely process them. Search "emotions" and narrow the results to eBooks using the limiters on the side.

Competency C - Social Awareness - C3: Demonstrate an awareness and respect for human dignity, including the similarities and differences of all people, groups, and cultures - Face to Face: the Changing State of Racism Across America - The chapter on racial reconciliation in this eBook will help students understand how to solve the problem of racism in positive ways. Search "respect and human dignity" and limit your results to eBooks.

Go! Ask Act Achieve 

This tool developed by INFOhio provides a framework for problem-based learning and research projects. It is based on the INFOhio Dimensions of Inquiry and can be used to help students solve problems and think critically. There are three sections Ask, Act, and Achieve, and each section contains modules that answer questions students may have as they work through a problem or complete a project. Using Go! Ask Act Achieve supports Competency E: Responsible Decision-Making. For example, in Act, students gather evidence to solve challenges (E1 2.c), identify reliable sources of adult help (E2 2.c), and apply honesty and respect to decision-making (E3 1.c). 

Competency D: Relationship Skills is also supported by Go! Ask Act Achieve. In Act, How do I work with others in a group? students are given tools and strategies to help them develop and maintain positive relationships(D2) and prevent, manage and resolve conflicts(D3). 

Using Go! Ask Act Achieve is an excellent way to integrate the Social Emotional Learning Standards into the regular curriculum and can help build both academic and social and emotional strength.


IWonder is an INFOhio-curated collection of websites that support Ohio's Learning Standards and promote inquiry, curiosity, and problem-solving. There are several categories that support the Social Emotional Learning Standards.

Competency A - Self Awareness - A2: Demonstrate awareness of personal interests and qualities, including strengths and challenges

Do You Know What you Want to Be When You Grow Up? 

Students can browse over 15 sites that will help them "investigate a potential career path."

Do You Want to Explore Your Creativity?

Exploring their creative side can help middle school students understand how their personal interests can help them make decisions and accoplish goals.  

Educator Tools

Educator Tools is a curated collection of over 75,000 quality resources available at no cost online and aligned to Ohio's Learning Standards. While the Ohio Social Emotional Learning standards have not been added to Educator Tools yet, educators can find lesson plans, activities, videos, and other web content to support social emotional learning using keywords from the standards and the limiters. Here are a few examples:

Competency A - Self-Awareness - A4: Demonstrate a sense of personal responsibility, confidence and advocacy

Trustworthiness - A short quiz, discussion questions, and writing prompts to help students identify areas of strength or weakness as a friend.

Competency C - Social Awareness - C3: Demonstrate an awareness and respect for human dignity, including the similarities and difference of all people, groups, and cultures

Fear, Panic, and Injustice: Executive Order 9066 - A lesson on the order that forced the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII will support discussion of how positive or negative stereotypes of a group can lead to discrimination and prejudice (C3 1.c). 

There are many more resources available on Educator tools to support the Social Emotional Learning Standards. You can search by typing keywords from the standards such as "emotions," "empathy," "setting goals," "following rules," "feedback," and "inclusiveness." Be sure to limit your search to grades 6, 7, and 8 using the Grade Level limited on the left. Be sure to click on the "i" button to learn more about the resource and click on the heart at the top left of Educator Tools to save a resource to a list and email it to yourself to use later. 

You can also use the Social Emotional Learning limiter under the Subject limiter to search as well. Learn more about how to use Educator Tools on INFOhio Campus



INFOhio's discovery layer tool makes it possible to search almost all of our digital content from one search box. If schools are automated with INFOhio's Library Services Platform, the contents of the school library will be searched as well. Type in keywords from the standards to find resources that will support the Social Emotional Learning Standards from EBSCO's databases as well as from World Book, and the Digital Video Collection.

Helping students in middle school be respectful of others whether virtually or in person is very important. (C3 3.c) It often starts with a basic understanding of what makes us feel safe, including online. In the Basic Sources tab, search for key words "safe digital space." This article from tech guru Catlin Tucker gives lots of tips and strategies to get your students thinking about how they can be safe and respectful online (Competency D: Relationship Skills, D1 3.c)

Scholastic Choices is a publication that focuses on the health and well-being of teens. You can access the full text articles from Scholastic's publication by typing in the word "scholastic" in the search. Here is an example of a search for emotions and scholastic with the Content Provider limited to Scholastic Choice.


To learn more about how to find Scholastic Choice articles and teachers guides, read this Teach With INFOhio blog post

Search other key words from the standards as well, and use the limiters to find the best results for primary learners. You can learn more about using ISearch on INFOhio Campus

Digital Video Collection

INFOhio's collection of streaming videos also has content to support the Social Emotional Learning Standards. Using key words to search for videos yields many results. There are also playlists curated by themes. Use the Careers playlist to  support Competency A - Self Awareness - A2: Demonstrate awareness of personal interests and qualities, including strengths and challenges.

Many of the DVC streaming videos have teachers guide and other instructional supports.

Using the resources from INFOhio will definitely boost the social and emotional well-being of the students in your class. But connecting with these kids and maintaining relationships will boost not only the five areas of competency, it will also lead to more engagement, deeper learning, and increased skills in all academic areas.

Share how #INFOhioWorks for you when using our free, digital content to support building resilient and empathetic citizens. 

About the Author

Posted by: Emily Rozmus

Emily Rozmus is a Senior Instructional Specialist at INFOhio. She has worked in education for over 25 years, first as a secondary English teacher and district librarian before starting at INFOhio in 2013. Emily has developed district growth plans, integrated technology, created instruction for information literacy, fostered teacher development, and worked on teams to implement curriculum. At INFOhio, she focuses on training educators to use INFOhio resources to improve early learning. She also works to share research and best practices for helping students be better readers of INFOhio's digital text. 

Emily Rozmus
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