Three Signature Practices
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Three Signature Practices

Three Signature Practices
Highly engaging, effective and purposeful meetings and professional learning experiences are created using three key social and emotional learning (SEL) practices:

Welcoming Ritual: Activities for Inclusion

Adults bring their experience; allow them to use it. Ritual openings establish safety and predictability, support contribution by all voices, set norms for respectful listening, and allow people to connect with one another creating a sense of belonging. To be successful they must be: carefully chosen, connected to the work of the day, engagingly facilitated, and thoughtfully debriefed.
Examples of Welcoming Rituals:
  • Community Building: Using an open-ended question (e.g., from the Circle a Day cards), build community in a quick and lively way. Each participant shares their response with a partner. After sharing, ask for 2-3 comments from the whole group.
  • Check-In: Begin with a sentence starter:
  • “A success I recently had ___ .”
  • “One thing that’s new about ___ .”
  •  “One intention I will hold today is ___ .”
  • Taking a mindful moment to bring focus

Engaging Practices: Sense-Making, Transitions, Brain Breaks

Adults want to make their own meaning and have fun. Engaging practices are brain-compatible strategies that can foster: relationships, cultural humility and responsiveness, empowerment, and collaboration. They intentionally build adult SEL skills. These practices can also be opportunities for brain breaks that provide a space for integrating new information into long-term memory. (Otherwise it is soon forgotten.)
Examples of Engaging Practices:
  • Think Time: 30-90 seconds of silent think time before speaking, sharing. 
  • Turn To Your Partner: Sharing and listening to make sense of new input, 
  • Think-Ink-Pair-Share: Generating ideas and deepening understanding,
  • Brain Break - Stand and Stretch: Refresh and reset the brain.
  • Opportunities for Interaction: Cultivate practices that involve interactions in partnerships, triads, small groups and as a whole group.

Optimistic Closure (3-5 Minutes): Reflections And Looking Forward

Adult learning occurs when behavior changes. End each meeting or professional learning by having participants reflect on, then name something that helps them leave on an optimistic note. This provides positive closure, reinforces the topic, and creates momentum towards taking action.
Examples of Reflective Questions:
  • “What are my next steps?”
  • “What’s the next conversation I’m going to have about this and with whom?”
  • "Who do I want to connect with about this topic?”
  • "A word or phrase that reflects how I feel about moving forward with this…”
  • “Offer an appreciation for someone in the room...” 
  • “I’m eager to learn more about ___ .”