At the beginning of a work session, the facilitator invites participants to offer a brief, individual response about how they are feeling (physically/emotionally) or what they are looking forward to regarding their work together. This strategy recognizes that affect (body, emotion) and intention shape how an individual participates in the learning environment, particularly when the exploration involves physical or emotional risk-taking by the participants.
Begin by establishing expectations for the activity: Each person in the circle will have an opportunity to share some information about themselves at the beginning of our work. Give an open-ended prompt (e.g., Today I’m feeling __ because __ or Today I’m excited about __ because __) and clear instructions on how much time participants can take to verbally share their answer (unlimited to 30 sec. potentially shown on a visible timer). Next, give a small amount of think time for students to consider their responses. The facilitator may also share whether participants can “pass” completely or if they can just opt to say very little (which makes this an “all play” activity). Begin with a participant who volunteers to go first. When the participant is finished, s/he says “Checked-In” to complete his/her time. Encourage participants to listen intently to their colleagues’ words. In general there is very limited (or no) commentary offered from the facilitator or other participants after each individual Check-In. The facilitator may choose to offer a simple acknowledgement. For example: Thank you or That’s good to know, I’ll keep that in mind today.
- What types of things did we hear? How is our group, generally, feeling today? / What are we most excited about?
- What larger things around us are shaping how we feel?
- How might this information inform how we work together today/on this investigation?
- Before we begin, take a minute to think about what you want to share with the group. You can write down your answer if that is useful. I’ll know you are ready to share when your eyes are back on me.
- This is an all-play activity. Each of you will offer a thought but you choose what you want to share.
- Please remember our classroom commitments to respect and active listening during this activity. If we are having challenges, we will stop and discuss how to move forward in a more positive manner.
- Allow participants to check in using a physical gesture instead of words (e.g., thumb up, thumb side, thumb down).
- Provide a prompt that engages with a theme (e.g., what are the Roses and Thorns in my day) or addresses a specific issue (e.g., what is one goal you have for the tests we will be doing today).