You probably regularly check your student’s understanding of their learning. Remembered the times table? Check. Grasped that grammar concept? Check. Can tell you what happened in a period of history? Check.
But how often do you check in with your student’s emotional status? Monitoring how your students are feeling is just as important as checking their understanding of academic subjects.
And so is helping them to deal with those feelings.
Social emotional learning (SEL) is a key part of equipping students with the skills and behaviors to deal with what life throws at them. SEL helps them become self and socially aware, make responsible decisions, and build relationships.
One way to help with SEL is to give students the chance to give voice to their emotions and share their feelings.
Regular emotional check-ins can help students:
- become aware of their emotions
- notice how their mental health can affect their learning
- recognize that others in the class may be struggling and need support
- develop strategies to cope during class and at particular times like during test prep and exam sessions
They also help you as a teacher to highlight individual students that may need extra support such as access to school counseling services, special education programs or occupational therapy or outside providers.
So how do you make sure you are capturing how your students are feeling?
Keeping a check on emotional and mental health takes a bit of work on a teacher’s part because it can be easy to run out of time. You might not have time to talk individually to every child in your care in person, so finding high-quality ways to check in with the whole class is crucial.
Why use the Kami app for your students’ emotional check-ins?
You could use simple signaling like asking students by a physical movement to show you how they feel, use whiteboards in your class, or an iPad app. But Kami makes it easier for you to keep in touch with your students’ feelings, whether it’s a quick whole class check-in or regular updates from individual students and integrates with your other work.
You’ll find a range of ready-made resources in the Kami library, or you can personalize our blank templates with your own questions. Kami resources are adaptive so you can use them for students from PreK to high school. And because it’s interactive and easy for students to use, they should be confident and keen to engage.
Kami works with Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom so you can incorporate it with Google Slides for your class. And, it integrates with your Google Drive so you can keep any important information submitted by your students.
Because Kami is all online, it’s also great for students who are undertaking a distance learning education program and might otherwise struggle to communicate with teachers and classmates.
Quick Kami-ready emotional check-in resources
Sometimes an emotional check-in only needs to be quick and easy – a simple gauge of how your students are feeling at that moment.
Depending on how open your students are to sharing, you can use classroom-wide check-in resources or allow each student to check in privately. Here are some suggestions to look for in the Kami library
Good, Okay, Bad – This sheet is a quick and easy way to see how things are tracking. Just ask each student to mark the column which reflects how they are feeling.
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down – This sheet is often used to check if students have understood a topic, but it can also be used to check feelings. Students can move their name to a thumb up or a thumb down depending on how they are feeling. A quick check-in like this is great even for Prek or elementary students because it’s nice and straightforward.
Exit tickets – Exit tickets allow students to share in a more private way. Give each student an exit ticket to fill in before they leave class to share how they are feeling. You can follow up with any students if needed. Kami exit tickets come in several different formats to suit your style.
Kami-ready resources for more detailed check-ins
If you want to explore the mental well-being of your students in more detail, then you’ll find some handy resources in the Kami library for that too.
These can be useful for high school students who might be able to convey how they are feeling better and might have deeper feelings and issues to explore.
Graffiti Wall – the blank graffiti wall gives students a chance to record their thoughts. Share one with each student, with a small group, or as a whole class.
Gratitude Journal – the Gratitude Journal can help students focus on what’s good in their lives and the positive parts of their week. Each page has a different activity to help students track their mood and what’s been going on. You can also find these pages as separate printables if you just want to use something like the weekly gratitude sheet on their own.
30 Circles – Get creative with the 30 Circles Challenge worksheet. You could ask students to fill the circles with words they feel describe them to get an idea of their self-esteem. Or use it as a mood tracker and get them to fill a circle each day for a month at school – using faces, emojis, colors, or numbers to reflect their mood each day.
When to use your Kami-ready check-in resources
Quick activities like Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down are great for doing a daily feelings check-in. Schedule a short morning meeting time each day when students complete the activity individually, in small groups, or as a whole class. If you are a pre-k or elementary school teacher or a middle school or high school teacher with more than one homeroom period then you could use this more than once a day to see how things are going.
Resources like Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, and Exit Tickets can also be used each day in any subject class to help you judge the mood of your class and help you adapt your teaching or lesson plans accordingly.
You could also use them to check in on the first day of the new school year or each semester as part of your back-to-school activities. This helps you find out how events during the holidays might have affected your students’ mental health.
And don’t forget that you can use emotional check-ins yourself, as a teacher, to help keep track of how you are feeling throughout the year and see what energizes you and what depletes your positivity.