Check-Ins, Ups and Outs

Check-In Circles

Check-in circles occur at the beginning of the day to acknowledge everyone who is present. They strengthen classroom communities by allowing each day to start with an opportunity for sharing and they offer a place where everyone’s voice is heard. At the core of the circle is the idea that that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard, and to reveal something about their inner lives so that others can see them, and they can feel seen. For this reason, topics for a check-in circle are often low-risk. They are questions that all students will feel comfortable talking about. When students become familiar with the circle, they often enjoy coming up with their own questions for morning check-in. This is a great opportunity for students as it allows students to choose topics that are of interest to them and it helps them take ownership for the circle.

Topics could include:

If you were an animal, what type of animal would you be and why?

What colour is your heart today?

If you had a day to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?

If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

Tell us something not many people know about you.

Would you rather live in a place that was always very hot or always very cold?

 

Check-Up Circles

Check-up circles occur mid-lesson/mid-meeting and are used after or during discussion on significant topics. Stopping to go around the circle provides space for reviewing. It is a time of information gathering, summarizing, and posing questions to confirm that everybody is still on task, being heard and on board. It also ensures that those who have been quiet [and often hold deep insights] are offered a space to voice their thoughts.

Topics could include:

What’s one thing that is surprising you?

One thing you now understand?

What’s the hardest thing for you right now?

I’m wondering …

I realize …

I need to know …

I appreciate how [classmate] …

I can’t concentrate because …

I am interested because …

One thing I am doing well is …

Now I’m ready to …

One thing I will do to make the decision happen…

 

Check-Out Circles

Check-out circles occur at the end of the time together allowing for a final response. Confirming, concluding, affirming statements are invited as well as commitments to action one will take as a result of the lesson/meeting.

Topics could include:

I am glad that …

I learned that …

I will never forget …

Thanks to _____ for ….

I am still confused by …

A question I am leaving with …

Something we could do next is …

For next class I will …