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EMPOWER Moves for Social-Emotional Learning

Tools and Strategies to Evoke Student Values

EMPOWER students to make school a source of meaning, vitality, and community in their lives. Using this book’s interconnected processes—exploration, motivation, participation, openness, willingness, empathy, and resilience—students clarify and commit to the values they want to live by. You will learn 28 activities, as well as extensions and variations for each, that increase student engagement not only in school but in building meaningful lives.


  • Discover a process-based, non-prescriptive, personally relevant, and culturally affirming approach to SEL.
  • Implement SEL as its own curriculum, a pedagogy for academic units of study, or a one-to-one intervention.
  • Facilitate 28 adaptable SEL activities that invite students to identify their own values, choose how they live, and overcome internal struggles.
  • Evoke students’ personal values without instilling particular values.
  • Enhance intrinsic motivation, psychological flexibility, student and teacher self-reflection, and student voice.
  • Build relationships, community, a sense of belonging, and compassion in the classroom.
  • Have productive conversations with students and their families about living meaningful lives.

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EMPOWER Moves for Social-Emotional Learning

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Introduction: Social-Emotional Learning That Empowers Students
Part I: Social-Emotional Learning Activities That EMPOWER Students
Chapter 1: Exploration: Empower Students to Discover How Values Show Up in Their Lives
Chapter 2: Motivation: Empower Students to Associate Their Actions With Their Values
Chapter 3: Participation: Empower Students to Create Their Own Ways to Enact Their Values
Chapter 4: Openness: Empower Students to Share How Other People Move Them Toward Their Values
Chapter 5: Willingness: Empower Students to Serve Their Values When It’s Especially Hard
Chapter 6: Empathy: Empower Students to Understand and Care About One Another’s Values
Chapter 7: Resilience: Empower Students to Turn Their Struggles Into Opportunities to Reaffirm Their Values
Part II: Strategies That Make EMPOWER More Effective
Chapter 8: Designing an Empowering Social-Emotional Learning Program
Chapter 9: Supporting Students Who Struggle to Enact Their Values
Chapter 10: Inviting Families Into Conversations About Student Values
Epilogue: Making the Process the Outcome



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9




  • Porosoff, L., & Weinstein, J. (2018). EMPOWER your students: Tools to inspire a meaningful school experience, grades 6–12. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Porosoff, L., & Weinstein, J. (2020). Two-for-one teaching: Connecting instruction to student values. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.