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10-15 minutes




Talking piece


To help students identify important aspects of themselves, practice sharing parts of their identity with classmates and see the value in uniqueness and diversity

  • Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).
  • Establish ground rules for the conversation (e.g., “elevator speech” speed, no interrupting, etc.). Refer to the “Active constructive listening” practice.
  • Students share something about themselves.
  • Select students (a few per week) to bring an item to share with the class about themselves. They may instead choose to tell a story or say something they feel happy about.

NOTE: Co-creating classroom norms of inclusion, respect for diversity, compassion, and collaboration will help create discussions with a positive and safe emotional climate. To ensure respectful dialogue, norms must be co-created before the practice, and students can be reminded of them throughout.

Complementary practice: Active constructive listening (Healthy relationship skills)

Weekly items/stories could be theme based (e.g., favourite songs, what they are grateful for, etc.).

Relationship skills start developing very early in life and continually develop throughout the school years (Bergin & Bergin, 2009). Students and staff benefit from being known which supports a sense of belonging at school and assurance that one matters (Bergin & Bergin, 2009), both of which cultivate teacher-student and peer relationships (Verschueren & Koomen, 2012). Also, students being known, understood and cared for by educators and peers supports their development of key relationship building skills needed for lifelong social success (Verschueren & Koomen, 2012; Bergin & Bergin, 2009).

Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review, 21(2), 141-170.

Verschueren, K., & Koomen, H. M. (2012). Teacher–child relationships from an attachment perspective. Attachment & human development, 14(3), 205-211.