There's a radical - and wonderful - new idea here . . . that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people's ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world." - Deborah Meier, Educator





First In The Family

Fires In The Mind

How Youth Learn

Social-Emotional Learning

Next Generation Press

Center for Youth Voice

In Our Village

Life in New China


Advice for Parents

Student/Youth Voice

College Matters

Global Youth Voices

Just Listen!

Mentors That Matter

Service Learning

Students as Allies in School Reform

Student Research for Action

Voices from the Middle Grades

Youth in Policy: Civics2

Youth on the Trail 2012


A Guide to Creating Teen-Adult Public Forums

Cultural Conversations through Creative Writing

Documenting Immigration Stories

First Ask, Then Listen: How Your Students Can Help You Teach Them Better

Making Writing Essential to Teen Lives

Profiles of Politically Active Youth

Queer Youth Advice for Educators

SAT Bronx

The Schools We Need: Creating Small High Schools That Work for Us



Growth Mindset and
Why It Matters

Five Videos for Teachers and Students on
Character, "Grit," and
Student Success

Powerful Learning: Four Inspirational Teachers Share Their Stories

Tricks: Discussion
Starters for Students 
About Pushing Past Fear

Favorite Einstein

















Short Workouts for Social-Emotional Learning



In an era when test scores have consumed so much of the oxygen around student success, we welcome the turn to social-emotional development as a key factor in a young person’s education.

In December 2015, WKCD introduced a new, monthly feature called Short Workouts for Social-Emotional Learning, geared towards middle and high school students. Each "collection" includes ten workouts, and each workout takes 10-15 minutes, making them a suitable bell ringer, warm up, or advisory activity. We’ve created four categories: quotations, questions, video clips, and photographs.

There is no formula for using these workouts with students (just as there are no right or wrong answers). Mix them up and sprinkle them into your ongoing work, knowing that your students will embrace the chance to flex their social-emotional muscles.

Below are our workouts for February 2016. January 2016 Workouts | December 2015 Workouts

February 2016


Pick a quote. Ask students to write down, on their own: (1) what they think the quote means, and (2) how it applies in their own life. Then ask for volunteers to share their thoughts with the whole group/class.

  • "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." – Martin Luther King
  • "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – Maya Angelou
  • "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward


Pick a question. Ask students to discuss their answers in a small group--and to appoint a representative who will share their responses with the whole class.

  • What do you wish for?
  • What do you fear?
  • What are you grateful for?


In these short video clips, part of WKCD's Just Listen series, students talk about what they are learning about themselves and what keeps them motivated. Pick a clip to watch with your students. (You will need a way to show it full screen.) Use these suggested prompts to stimulate discussion, either in small groups or as a whole class.

Farhan, 16 | Nurturing Potential [0:42]
What gives students the belief that they have
potential? What takes them down?

Hannah, 15 | A Chance to Do Better [0:37]
What can make it hard to go to a teacher for

Kenneth, 16 | Knowing How Far to Reach [0:47]
What's been your experience with setting
challenges for yourself?

Garlyn, 15 | On Being a Perfectionist [1:25]
What's been your experience with getting feedback
on your work before turning it in?


These photos come from WKCD's collection of more than 10,000 photographs taken by youth worldwide. Accompanying each photo is the caption provided by youth photographer (or in some cases WKCD), along with our discussion prompt. Click on the picture for an enlarged version.

photo by Kelen Wen and Iris Zhang, 17, Beijing
"Western Treats "

“We took this photo of ourselves at one of our favorite places in Beijing: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Western food, like American-style fried chicken and ice cream, has become very popular here. As Chinese teenagers, we feel BIG pressures to make a strong future for ourselves. We study day and night, we have private tutors, we play music and sports. Going to KFC is our way to relax.”

If you had a chance to sit down with Kelen and Iris at KFC and interview them about their life as teenagers in Beijing, China, what questions would you ask? What would you like to know?

photo by students at Lilian Bayliss School, London
“School's Out”

“These boys, dressed in coats and ties, attend one of the fanciest preparatory schools in London. We took this picture on a class trip to see the famous parts of London. We wondered if these pupils were just way more privileged than us (our families are poor and we are all immigrants) or were they smarter, too? We wished we could talk to them and find out more."

If you had a chance to talk with these students as they left school, what questions would you ask? What would you like to know?