Our dog is almost seventeen. He is now completely deaf and his sight has deteriorated significantly. As with most dogs, he likes being with his humans. If we’re in the living room (the kitchen, the bedroom), so is he. If one of us happens to be in another room though, he will always check in. Sometimes he splits his time between us, but regardless, he checks in periodically.
He reminds me of the importance of checking in with our students. To get a general sense of how they are doing, class discussions can be effective especially after a read-aloud such as Today I Feel by Madalena Moniz, In My Heart by Jo Witek, I Am Human or I Am Courage by Susan Verdi.
There are often students who need a more personal check in, too: questions within their journals, private conversations, or perhaps surprise notes in their desks.
The gesture of checking in can lift moods, provide encouragement, and offer hope. Sometimes a kind word is everything…