Social and Emotional Learning and CueThink: A Perfect Match! - Part 2

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In our previous blog post, we showed how CueThink bridges the concepts and skills of Math with the soft skills needed to be a successful learner. "Using CASEL’s five SEL competencies, teachers can plan lessons that deepen content understanding and utilize the soft skills needed to become truly accomplished learners.” (CASEL, 2017)     

In this second of two blog postings, we continue to explore the last three competencies: Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-making through the lens of CueThink’s four phases of problem-solving.

Competency 3: Social Awareness

CASEL defines social awareness as “effective participation in all educational activities, including understand and observe important social norms of the class, recognize there are diverse approaches to the problem-solving, and understand that the approaches of others can help us identify new and improved strategies ourselves. Further, empathy and perspective-taking are critical skills when applying mathematical reasoning to real-world problems.” (CASEL, 2017 p.2)

How CueThink Helps Build Student Social Awareness

CueThink develops positive classroom norms around the process of problem-solving. Through the use of peer-to-peer interactions, students learn to have powerful conversations. This structure helps students take perspectives and ultimately leads to developing an understanding of others’ viewpoints. Having students review and annotate each other's thinklets  can build greater awareness. Students can ask:

  • What did I do well when I solved this problem?

  • What do I need to work on? Did I read my annotations?

  • How did others solve the problem? What can I use the next time?  

In CueThink, help students use the following social awareness strategies:

  • Use peer-to-peer learning through annotations as a means to explore different perspectives

  • Show students the embedded sentence prompts located in annotations to help prompt student responses

3-Part Annotations Guide

Statement Specific Example Question
I noticed... Your... was... How did you know...?
Could you explain more about..?
Why did you decide...?
I noticed you used a picture to help you solve the problem. Your picture was of the 5 kids and you drew different colored lines to show who was shaking hands. Could you explain more about how the picture helped you not double count handshakes?
I noticed you double checked your work. You double checked your work by making a table. How did you know a table would help you double check?

Competency 4: Relationship Skills

How success is defined in mathematics, as well as other academic areas, is based on how well you listen, ask questions, and seek help when you are stuck on a problem. Active learning and focusing on cooperative strategies are critical to school success. (CASEL, 2017 p.2)

How CueThink Helps Build Student Relationship Skills

CueThink tools support students in building relationship skills in a variety of ways throughout each of the four-phase process. As students work together, the classroom becomes an environment with a problem-solving focus based on relationship skills. Using sentence frames with language that fosters problem-solving conversation brings students’ understanding to a whole new level. This is how relationship skills are cultivated. Encourage students to ask:

  • What kind of feedback did I give: was it a compliment or did I make a suggestion too?  

  • Did I use exemplar thinklets to help extend my thinking?

In CueThink, help students use the following relationship skills strategies:

Competency 5: Responsible Decision-making

Becoming thoughtful decision makers is a critical part of becoming an effective learner. “Mathematics assumes that students will have the basic ability to evaluate options and make effective decisions to complete assignments.” (CASEL, 2017 p.2)

How CueThink Helps Build Student Responsible Decision-making

CueThink goes beyond math as a drill activity. Through interactions around problem-solving, students make decisions about how to solve and present a problem to others. The ability to ask questions and make decisions based on the answers is at the heart of this competency. Questions students can ponder include:

  • How can I solve this problem?

  • What steps do I need to take?

  • What language will make the most sense?

  • How will the listener understand and make sense of my ideas?

  • How do I evaluate my process?

In CueThink, help students use the following responsible decision-making strategies:

  • Model good decision making through the use of the four-phase process

  • Have students use Bloom’s Taxonomy sentence prompts to evaluate and set criteria for feedback

CueThink users: Don’t forget to use Community Forum within the CueThink application to add any ideas you might have! In Educator Mode go to Support>Community Forum and select the category, Classroom Tips to share your questions and activities.

If you don’t have an account, we encourage you to register for a free trial account and explore the product further.

Interested in learning more? Join us for a live webinar about Social Emotional Learning in the Math Classroom on April 23 at 12pm, or April 25 at 9pm. Click the button below to register.

Works Cited

“Core SEL Competencies.” CASEL,

“SEL in Elementary Math – CASEL District Resource Center.” CASEL District Resource Center,