Make meaningful SEL conversations a ROUTINE during remote learning

“Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.”

I’m trying out a routine this fall called “Conversation Monday“. It’s my attempt to get students thinking and talking about things that matter in life, above and beyond the curriculum. It’s what we all need. This idea is inspired by SEL curriculum I helped develop for Teach Different.

Starting with a famous quote like this one from Einstein, students have a conversation about the claim and counterclaim to the quote by referencing their personal experiences and how these experiences affirm or contradict what Einstein is saying. They also answer an essential question which provokes them to take a stand.

That’s it. It’s the marriage of curiosity, critical thinking and the expression of social-emotional intelligence— all fueled by students’ shared personal experiences. This is true SEL learning.

Here’s the routine

  1. Have students fill out this Google form to organize their thinking before the conversation. Edit the form as you wish and email it or post it for your students. (If you aren’t logged into a Gmail account, you might have to request access to the form)
  2. Review the Google spreadsheet of student responses that is automatically created. As you’re having the conversation, use the students’ prepared remarks as prompts to draw out their personal experiences.
  3. Evaluate using this rubric. (You could also have them answer the essential question after the conversation.)

If you try this, tell me how it goes and share sample student responses!

If you want more of these conversations, email me at and I’ll send you other ones to keep the momentum.

Good luck!

Other posts you may like:

Socrates: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

Essential questions and the power of storytelling

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