Know and Follow the Rules
Boost youth engagement and leadership by taking time to build safety and belonging in meetings. In order to gain social awareness of one’s community, youth must be able to inquire, discuss, and share their thoughts and opinions about themselves and their community on a regular basis.
Whether you are in a school, home, faith-based, or community setting, your group can build community through brief check-ins. Check-in meetings may last between 3-15 minutes. Young people may sit in a circle for meetings that build empathy or sit in rows for planning meetings. Be sure to state the purpose of the meeting.
Below are some types of meetings.
- Emotional Check-In: Each person says one word describing how they are doing. This is quick and gives a snapshot of what participants are experiencing. Follow up with people later, not during the quick check-in.
- Team Building: These icebreaker activities and these reflection prompts may be the focus of a full meeting or kick off a meeting to build team cohesion.
- Group Agreements Meeting: What are the procedures for listening and taking turns in discussions? What are the constructive ways to give feedback? What are some sentence stems that can help us start difficult conversations? How do we disagree with respect? How do we listen? Build some group agreements with this guide.
- Group Protocols Meeting: What are the signals for quiet, thinking time, I need help, and other common communications? How do we “think/pair/share”? What are the bathroom procedures? Establish a check for understanding with a silent signal, such as hold two fingers by your heart to mean one thing and one finger by your heart to mean another thing. This keeps their answer private and you can quickly see full participation.
- Current Event Check-In: This s a culturally responsive SEL version of the daily emotion check-in; it offers youth the opportunity to check in regarding the current events in their communities.
- Good News Meeting: “Who has some good news to share?” This may be limited to three people in one meeting.
- Circle Whip Meeting: Go around the circle and have participants complete a sentence starter (they may pass). Sample sentence starters: One thing I like about yesterday’s meeting is… A decision I think we should make is… Something that bothers me is…
- Goal Setting Meeting: Discuss the goals for the day or project.
- Conflict Resolution Meeting: Build skills of disagreeing with respect and working toward a resolution. Develop the capacity to wait to solve issues. Learn to balance listening and talking. Practice repeating what you heard even when you don't agree.
- Reflection Meeting: Talk about how an activity or project went. How well did you work together? What was good about it? What could we do better? What did you learn? Everyday SEL Reflection Prompts
- Academic Issues: Why are we studying this? What do we know already? What do we need to know? Who are the experts we can learn from? How can we use our knowledge to make something better?
- Concept Meeting: Talk about how-to or definitions. For example, how to shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye. How to make a friend. How to ask for help.
- Sticky Situations Meeting: What should you do if you find a wallet? If you see someone steal something? If you see someone alone at lunch? If you know someone is hungry?
This guide centers on moving from Adultism to Adult Supported interactions and raising youth-centered leadership.
End the meeting with a summary or reflection. Everyday SEL Exit Tickets - After a meaningful session or day together, a reflective writing prompt can help young people internalize, sort, or articulate their thoughts and feelings.