Common Sense


Great Tech for Cultivating Compassion

Compassion is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another's suffering and have the desire to help. People often confuse this with empathy or being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Technology can help supplement the modeling of compassion that occurs in classrooms by providing game-based learning with sympathetic characters or getting students to think about the struggles our world faces every day. Once students feel compassion for someone, they may be spurred to real action. Check out these tools that help students report bullying, get them reflecting through meditation, and spark them to lead community-based projects. 

Interested in seeing tips on how you might use some of these tools in the classroom? Check out our blog series We All Teach SEL: Inspiring Activities for Every Classroom

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Four little corners

Simple story about shapes showcases problem-solving and inclusion

Bottom line: This cute little story could be a nice launching pad for big discussions about friendship, tolerance, and acceptance.


Shake up SEL lessons with music and movement

Bottom line: Fun for students, easy for teachers, QuaverSEL uses the power of music to boost social and emotional learning.


Relaxing and serene app helps incorporate peace into daily life

Bottom line: If you're looking for a captivating app to teach relaxation and calming skills to students, Calm is an essential tool to add to your toolbox.

Roots & Shoots

Lessons, activities, and projects promote social and environmental change

Bottom line: Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots will inspire you to lead change in your community.


Easy-to-use reporting tool helps kids report bullying, find adult help

Bottom line: With the right context and a strong school culture, this can be a useful and effective tool for monitoring and combating bullying.


Complete SEL units in a neat and tidy package

Bottom line: Detailed social and emotional learning lessons provide teachers with almost everything they'll need to spark positive character development and reflection in their students.

7 Mindsets

Thought-provoking structured program simplifies SEL skills

Bottom line: If teachers take advantage of the extension activities, students can get great in-depth instruction and practice in SEL skills needed for life.

Learning for Justice

Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education

Bottom line: It's an invaluable teacher tool to help reduce prejudice and encourage tolerance in schools, as well as within society as a whole.


Cool assessment targets kids' strengths; sprawling content overwhelms

Bottom line: A great starting point for conversations about students' strengths; skip some of the digital content.


Compact process for positive praise builds classroom community

Bottom line: Great for a quick bonding activity when led by a positive instructor.

The Wonderment

Ambitious global community aims for public good through student engagement

Bottom line: A powerful, improving social network for exploring the world and effecting positive change.

The Social Express II

Fabulous multimedia lessons boost social-awareness skills

Bottom line: Compelling webisodes help students learn to cope with real-life situations.

The Compassion Project

Offline activities elevate digital SEL platform

Bottom line: Teachers should use the extension activities in the lesson plans to take full advantage of the program.


Guided lessons focus on the brain, encourage a growth mindset

Bottom line: Wonderful, easy-to-use lessons spur self-reflection and a growth mindset in students.

SDGs in Action

Empowering sustainable development app organizes, educates

Bottom line: It's a well-packaged way for teachers to educate students about the current challenges facing the world and to give them a conduit for social justice.

MyLife Meditation

Appealing app guides meditation, promotes compassion

Bottom line: An accessible, well-designed tool for making meditation a daily practice for both students and teachers.

Hall of Heroes

Responsive game helps students prepare for transition to middle school

Bottom line: Wonderful and fun social-interaction game designed to teach cooperation and friendship skills needed for middle school and beyond.

Never Alone: Ki Edition

Illuminating native Alaskan folktale supports SEL skills

Bottom line: A beautiful achievement developed in cooperation with indigenous folk that offers players valuable SEL skill building and a respectful window into Inupiat culture, ways of life, traditions, and stories.

Character Playbook

Realistic comic book-style stories help build healthy relationships

Bottom line: A valuable series of modules to get kids thinking about how their choices help build strong character.


An avant-garde journey of group dynamics sparks discussion

Bottom line: An unusual app that will confuse and entertain classrooms, generating discussion on a number of societal and philosophical topics.


From the everyday to the extraordinary, personal interviews get kids listening

Bottom line: It's a great resource to help demonstrate the value of listening and the importance of storytelling and interviewing skills.

This I Believe

Long-running radio show, curriculum help students explore core values

Bottom line: These meaningful, personal stories help strengthen kids' writing skills through a close examination of their values and experiences.

Thomas Was Alone

Story-driven puzzle game teaches students to value their differences and help one another

Bottom line: This unexpectedly thoughtful and emotional puzzler could offer valuable lessons about friendship and empathy to kids experiencing trouble socializing.

Sit With Us

Teen-created social tool boosts lunchtime inclusion and community

Bottom line: This app has the potential to help students make connections with other students they may not otherwise engage with.

The Harry Potter Alliance

Fan site promotes real-world heroics with activism for social justice

Bottom line: A fun, empowering community for Potter fans who want to talk Hogwarts and make the world a better place while they're at it.

Bury Me, My Love

Moving portrayal of the dangers and uncertainty of a Syrian refugee

Bottom line: It effectively connects students with the harrowing journey of a Syrian refugee, even though some of the interactive elements are underwhelming.

Liyla and the Shadows of War

Stark, arresting game offers emotional perspective on war's human toll

Bottom line: The short length and powerful themes make this an effective way to help students consider the brutal effects of war on families.

Papers, Please

Mature immigration game forces tough ethical choices

Bottom line: It's a provocative simulation about ethics and immigration that could spark debate but might be tough to implement.

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