A person holding a rectangular white photo frame near a body of water.
Activity

Fist to Five

Students communicate how they are feeling in response to a chosen prompt, giving teachers a pulse on the class’s opinions or well-being.

Published:

At a Glance

Activity

Language

English — US

Subject

  • Advisory
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12
  • Culture & Identity
  • Equity & Inclusion

Overview

About This Activity

This routine helps students assess and communicate how they are feeling. You can use this routine to check in on their emotional well-being or for something fun, like their opinion about a recent social media campaign, television series, movie, or music release.

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Procedure

Steps for Implementation

Seat the class in a circle and pose a question, perhaps choosing from the list below. Have students respond by holding up a fist or 1–5 fingers. The fist indicates the low end of the scale, and five represents the high end. Use their responses to spark small-group discussions or a class discussion, focusing on strategies to move everyone closer to the high end of the scale. Possible questions include:

  • Fist to five, how are you feeling today? 
  • Fist to five, how was your time management this week? 
  • Fist to five, how ready are you to start our first activity? 
  • Fist to five, how well do you understand the instructions for the next activity?

Variations

Start class by posing a question to the group, which you can say aloud, write in the chat, or share on your screen. If possible, encourage students to turn on their cameras for this activity, even if they are not in the picture and you just see their hands when they hold up their fingers. If students’ cameras are off, they can write the number of fingers they are holding up in the chat. Explain that you will be asking some questions, and they should respond by holding up a fist or 1–5 fingers to the camera. The fist indicates the low end of the scale, and five represents the high end. Use their responses to spark a class discussion, focusing on strategies to move everyone closer to the high end of the scale, or have students come up with strategies in breakout groups and record them on a collaborative document. Possible questions include:

  • Fist to five, how are you feeling today?
  • Fist to five, how is your Wi-Fi connection today? 
  • Fist to five, what’s your interest level for our current project/book/your independent reading?
  • Fist to five, how well are you able to access class videos at home? 
  • Fist to five, what’s your motivation level today?

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif