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Pros: Everything you need, all at no cost. Use with or without devices. Range of resources from stories to games.
Cons: Some of the kids' content feels from another era. Requires a good deal of planning to get a handle on.
Bottom Line: A complete SEL solution with lessons, games, resources, and training that meet seemingly every need.
Teachers looking to get started might first check out the quick bell-ringers or brain-break activities. These are easy to implement and offer instant classroom engagement. They'll also familiarize you with Harmony SEL's approach. The standout among these resources is the Quick Connection Cards, which can kick off discussion, get kids collaborating, and build classroom community. Activities include things like "Do the wave," "Acrostic poetry," or just simple conversation starters. Teachers might also check out the narrated stories, which help build a common vocabulary and understanding of main social-emotional learning concepts.
The quick resources are great for dipping your toes in, but teachers will really want to do a deep dive in order to use the site as intended. The downloadable scope and sequence documents are a great place to begin. The latter offer an overview of the introductory mini lessons and outline the learning goals and CASEL skills for each topic. From there, check out the individual lessons, which are detailed enough to use without having to supplement, and don't feel canned or repetitive.
Once you have an idea of what's available, you can either complete the units in sequential order or choose specific resources and lessons that support your students' needs. Either way, there's really no downside. The planning guides can help you put together a cadence that works for you.
Harmony SEL offers a free SEL curriculum aligned to the CASEL framework. The curriculum is broken down into five unit themes, including being one's best self, building community, and learning from, communicating with, and valuing others. Units are organized by grade level, and each one comes with a scope and sequence document that gives an overview of each unit and lesson's focus, goals, and CASEL skills. Harmony SEL helpfully breaks down the massive number of resources in the planning guides. Here you'll find options for implementation ranging from weekly to daily use. The detailed lessons include examples and helpful scripts along with links to stories, activity sheets, games, options for differentiation, and even remote learning suggestions. For those wanting ice breakers or other bite-size activities, Harmony SEL has strategies like Meet Ups, Buddy Ups, and Quick Connection Cards that can be woven into your day or week as needed; however, the planning guides do structure these along with the lessons.
An introductory demo takes new users on a quick tour of the site's offerings, but teachers will need to spend some time to figure out the best way to incorporate the lessons. For this, teachers can turn to the professional development resources, which include on-demand or live training sessions on key aspects of the curricular approach.
At first glance, Harmony SEL might feel overwhelming. There's a lot to look through and a breadth of resources. Most teachers, though, will discover that the level of detail and thought that went into building the curriculum, and filling gaps with supporting resources, is what sets Harmony SEL apart. This is an exceptionally well-structured program and is a perfect fit for classrooms looking to focus on the CASEL competencies. While it might not have the fitness or mindfulness components of other curricula, it has rich experiences around emotional well-being, emotional regulation, positive relationships, and effective communication skills.
This focus extends to goal-setting, where Harmony has students set and check in on goals for themselves as well as their classroom. It's also evident in the excellent Meet Up and Buddy Up practices that get students regularly engaging with each other and improving their interpersonal skills and classroom culture. The Quick Connection cards as well offer tons of ideas for activities that'll nurture more positive interactions. These activities teach the same competencies and fit within the unit themes but offer much-needed variety for such an extensive curriculum.