Building Critical Social and Emotional Skills Using Literature

(Grades K-12) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 114T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC40261


Course Description

Do you wish you had an appropriate and engaging way to address social and emotional issues? Do you like to use authentic literature in your classroom teaching? SEL is a process for learning essential life skills such as decision making, problem solving, effective communication, empathy, perseverance, and coping, just to name a few. Teachers are searching for the most effective ways to introduce and teach appropriate social and emotional skills in the classroom as they relate to sensitive issues, many of which are beyond their control. This course provides the perfect approach by using high-quality literature to deal with sensitive issues from tattling and appropriately developing friendships, to depression, stress and anxiety, bullying, substance abuse, and others. Teachers will be provided with thorough background information on each topic as well as the implications for the classroom environment and teaching. Then, a minimum of two books are shared for each topic along with three-to-five lesson plans for each title. The course introduces lesson plans for over twenty chapter books and thirteen picture books. An additional list of picture books and novels are shared for every single social and emotional topic presented in the course. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"My goal of taking this course was to walk away with resources I can turn around and use right away, rather than abstract ideas. I feel like that was achieved, especially with the lesson plans and book suggestions. I actually have a few of the titles in my library already, so now I feel like I can start using them in a new and purposeful way." - Emily Ornelaz

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $99 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $271 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.



Required Resource Book

This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List



UCSD Course Number: EDUC40261
Unit One
  • The Convergence of Social and Emotional Learning and Literature
  • Opening the Lines of Communication
  • Using Google Forms for Surveys
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Autism
  • Tattling
  • Bullying
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Gangs
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mental Illness
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • The Impact of Culture
  • Friendship
  • Non-Traditional Families
  • Assignment #4: Create lessons that integrate literature with a social-emotional skill
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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