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Extension > Youth Development > Training and events > SEL in Practice toolkit > Designing Impactful Learning Experiences

Designing Impactful Learning Experiences

Social and emotional learning (SEL) takes place when youth are engaged in activities that allow them to practice and develop skills from the Ways of Being model. Use this section to include program activities that focus on developing all four of the Ways of Being. These activities allow youth to explore their individual and community identity (Ways I Am), practice sharing gratitude and communicate feelings (Ways of Feeling), learn about empathy and set group norms (Ways of Relating), and develop clear goals and work towards agreement (Ways of Doing).

Download the entire Designing Impactful Learning Experiences section.

Meet the Wobbies

The stories of seven characters can be used to spark conversation with youth about the social and emotional skills used in the stories and in their own SEL development.

Identity Wheel

Use this activity with youth to think critically about how they see themselves and how they believe the world sees them.

Mask Making

Help youth engage in expressing their identity as an aspect of their "Ways I Am."

Community Asset Mapping

Help youth deepen their understanding of how their community informs their identity.

Gratitude Candle

Create a space for participants to practice expressing appreciation.


A communication tool used to address issues/conflict through a one-on-one conversation.

Power of Empathy

Explore the differences between empathy and sympathy.

Eight Arrows

Participants acknowledge what they can bring to the group and identify the meaning of their commitment.

Goal Sandwich

Identify a short-term goal and create steps to complete that goal..

Consensus Building

Reach an agreement regarding a program, project or initiative that the youth will put into action.


People who use this toolkit say:

"The activities in this section addressed some of the important challenges that we have encountered in SEL work in the past - how to handle conflict, build consensus, etc. They seem well-rooted in real experience with youth. I am already thinking about the ways in which I could use these activities to deepen the experience for youth in certain programs!"

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