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 January 2016. December 2015 Workouts | February 2016 Workouts

January 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.

  • “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” – Rosa Parks
  • "You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults." - Unknown
  • “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese


Pick a question (and its follow-up). 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 is the first real memory you have? (What makes this memory stand out?)
  • What do you think other people see when they look at you? (What do they miss?)
  • When does a person become an adult? (What makes someone an adult?)


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.

Arielle, 16 | Seeking diverse perspectives [0:46]
at can you do to seek out diverse perspectives
in your school?

Kyle, 15 | Life lessons [0:52]
What lessons have you learned from your peers'

Daniela, 18 | I can't believe I did that [1:21]
Remember a time when you accomplished something
\you never thought you could do. What was that like?

Rashaun, 17 | You gotta keep going [1:01]
Have you ever had a teacher or coach really push
beyond your limits? What happened?


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 Francelle Mariano, 14, San Francisco

Leyla (not her real name) moved with her parents from Yemen to San Francisco, California when she was two. In San Francisco, she lives in a neighborhood known for its homelessness and violence, but also a place where refugee families can get a start. Leyla is now 17, the oldest of four siblings. She cherishes her Muslim traditions as she spreads her wings, maybe becoming a pediatrician. She thinks those who shun her neighborhood as a place for drug addicts have it wrong.

If you had a chance to sit down with Leyla and interview her about her life, what questions would you ask? What would you like to know?

photo by Shanta Raj, 15, Bangalore, India

Prakash and Rajesh, both ninth graders, pose at their school in one of Bangalore’s poorest neighborhoods. In India, students must pay fees to attend secondary school, and many families can't spare the money. At government schools like the one Prakash and Rajesh attend, there are few books and students fetch water from a pump on the street outside the school. Prakash and Rajesh are not just good friends but good students: “We want to honor our parents’ sacrifice," they said.

If you had a chance to sit down with Prakash and Rajesh and interview them about their lives, what questions would you ask? What would you like to know?