Social-Emotional Check-ins for In-Person Learning

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26 exercises you can try right away

Due to the chaos and disconnect we are experiencing, students, especially girls, need community, connections, and grounding more than ever. We know skills for conversation and connection with your girls are important right now, so we’re offering these exercises from our Professional Development Training as a free resource. Educators, parents, and caretakers can use these tools for addressing compassion fatigue, building trauma-informed practices, and planning for bias intervention.

Here’s our version for distance learning.

Why social-emotional learning?

“This unprecedented shift to a new type of learning experience may have a lasting and profound impact on young people’s academic, social, emotional, and life outcomes.” -CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

We know that in order for our young people to process this experience, feel supported by their learning environment, and build skills to cope, heal, and thrive, it will mean the focus must begin with connection and reflection on our shared community. We create the environment and opportunities in which growth is possible, and social-emotional learning provides the tools.


How can I use this resource?

Social-Emotional Check-ins for In-Person Learning is highly adaptable and is intended as a foundation to ground students in a brave space. These activities can be used as check-ins at the beginning of class, check-outs at the end, breaks or transitions between other work, or standalone lessons. Create your own sequence, choose a few repeatable structures that you find are particularly impactful, or use these as a jumping-off point to create your own social-emotional check-ins. You know your students best. Listen for what’s working for them and what’s not.


What can I do to create a brave space for my students?

Start by assessing your students’ perception of the space. Below, you’ll find the Healing-Centered Environments checklist. Take inventory of this yourself, and then turn the questions to your students. Giving students power to co-create the space in which they’re learning encourages agency and leadership, and will increase investment and engagement.

Brave spaces are about trust, acceptance, and accountability. Facilitators will find strategies that work best for their style and needs of their class structure, but there are some best practices all facilitators can use. Modeling vulnerability, amplifying students’ voices, and having clear and consistent expectations and routines will go far to building this sense of community in which learners both rely upon and push each other.


Checklist for Creating a Healing-Centered Environment for Distance Learning

Online Space
    • Teachers and students have space to connect in real-time and see/hear each other
    • Student work is shared with the class and celebrated
    • Teacher gives options for sitting, standing, and movement during live sessions
    • Teacher allows for water breaks and bathroom breaks
    • Students and teachers know each other’s names and pronounce them correctly
    • Students given opportunity for voice and choice
    • Students and teachers are encouraged to share stories as a way to connect and learn
    • Conversations and communication happen more often than getting in trouble
    • There are class agreements that students helped create
    • Agendas and agreements are shared for everyone to see
    • There is time built in for mindfulness and reflection

Did you find this resource helpful? Sign up for our Professional Development to receive additional SEL curriculum.