How Does IF… Teach SEL?

By | June 10, 2016

We use the power of storytelling and popular game-play mechanics to engage and motivate.

Each month, your child navigates a new IF… adventure. We use the power of storytelling and popular game-play mechanics to engage and motivate. What your child is not likely to realize is that she’s learning standards-aligned Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum while playing.

Each of our IF… chapters contains one month’s worth of “in class” lessons. These are lessons that our experts have taught to success in schools for over three decades. The lessons are now delivered through the spoken and written words of IF… characters and vivid in-game experiences.

Every “move” your child makes in the game is a choice.

“Behind the scenes” we’re assessing each choice against 20 distinct SEL skills. These are the skills we’re working to build in your child. We call these our ExSEL goals.

IF…’s 20 ExSEL goals were derived from the study of state teaching standards for SEL, as well as experts from Yale, CASEL, The Nueva School and KIPP’s Character Report Card.

Who’s teaching your child?

Our lessons are delivered through the enchanting characters of Greenberry. Here are “bios” of IF…’s characters/teachers:

YouDog is a Zen master and a master of Social and Emotional Learning.

Depending on whether your children choose to be a dog or a cat, they will have a dog-guide or cat-guide to help them along their adventure. If they choose to be a dog, YouDog will be their guide. YouDog is a Zen master of SEL. He’s wise, slow and a bit dramatic, and he cares deeply about helping others. YouDog will help your children unlock the secrets of planet Ziggurat and of Greenberry. He’ll guide them in learning how to use Social and Emotional skills to bring the dogs and cats back into harmony and restore Greenberry to its flourishing state


Kibble is a loyal and loving sidekick who travels around the game world with your child.

She is an advisor, friend, confidant and conscience, similar to Jiminy Cricket or Tinker Bell. Kibble has enormous winglike ears and seems to glow with energy. She is plucky and a little mischievous.

We worked with Stanford Research Institute to apply protocols from a method called Evidence Centered Design to our game.

Evidence Centered Design is a process for effectively linking players’ “choices” in the game to evidence that demonstrates that he or she is learning what we are setting out to teach. The visual above demonstrates an in-game example of these linkages.

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