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Second grade teacher, Jennifer Hensley, talks about what she does every day in her classroom to let her students share how they are doing.

Each day we start with a morning meeting, a little check in for my class to see and hear how everyone is doing. I started this the first day of school after talking with a group of people about what I could do to help my students build a stronger, safer classroom community. We get into a big circle so that everyone can see each other and we rate ourselves on a scale from 0-10, zero is wishing we could crawl back in to bed and just start the day over, up to ten which is I am super excited to be at school and everything is going great. I also ask the kids a question that they get to respond to. Some days it is as simple as “What did you do over the weekend” and other days they have to be more thoughtful about what they say such as “What is something kind you did for someone yesterday.” As the year has progressed, we have come to really trust each other and the kids now share a lot more about what is really going on with them. After the last 2nd grader has shared their thoughts, we talk a little about those who rated themselves lower and make sure that the rest of us check in and do what we can to make them feel better. Some days it’s that they may need a little extra love from their friends or teacher because they are feeling terrible that they forgot to tell their mom/dad/pet they loved them before heading off to school or they are feeling really lonely because they don’t feel that they have any friends right now. Our class comes together for those kids and includes them to make sure that they know they have friends and they are cared about. The circle means much more to our class than I ever imagined it would, this 15 minutes in the morning gives my kids the time to share their feelings and know that they are being listened to. Our classroom is a safe, caring, loving, and happy place to be where everyone has a voice and no one feels left out because everyday they have a chance to have their voice heard.