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  • What is your favorite silly face to make? Silly sound?

  • What is your most unusual talent? Demonstrate it!

  • «You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. What’s something you’ve done in your life that you thought you could never do?

  • Share a story about a challenge you’ve overcome- maybe something you once thought was impossible.

  • What’s the best thing you ever waited for?

  • All of us lose our patience sometimes. Think of a recent time you lost yours. What happened?

  • In the Elephant and Piggie Book Waiting is Not Easy, Elephant has a hard time waiting. Do you have a hard time waiting for things? Like what?

  • Do you know what it means to have a crush on someone? Have you ever had a crush on anyone? Has anyone ever had one on you?

  • What was the best year of your life so far? Explain.

  • What was your least favorite moment or memory from the past year? Why?

  • What is your favorite moment or memory from last year? Why?

  • Tell a story about a «first» experience (e.g. first memory, first movie, first trophy, first kiss, etc.)

  • Recall an experience that changed your mind about something, or helped you see the world or someone differently. What happened?

  • What was the best vacation you ever had? Or the best you can imagine?

  • Talk about a time you tried something new. What was it? What happened?

  • If you could go anywhere in the world (or out of this world) where would you go? What would you do there?

  • What’s one new activity you’d like to try but are scared to try? Why are you scared?

  • Do you have a favorite memory of something you did with your family or at school? Tell a story about it.

  • Who is the most generous person you can think of? How are they generous?

  • Share a story about bullying from your childhood. Were you the bully, the bullied, a bystander?

  • Who is/was your favorite teacher? Why?

  • Do you have a favorite summer memory, whether from this year or another? What is it?

  • What place/activity/memory best captures “summer” for you as a child? How did it make you feel?

  • What is your favorite summer food to eat?

  • Name one thing you saw this summer that you’d never seen before.

     

  • What was your favorite thing you did this summer? Why was it your favorite?

  • «Freedom lies in being bold,» said poet Robert Frost. Talk about a time you were bold.

  • What political freedoms have you witnessed come to fruition in your lifetime?

  • Talk in detail about something or someone you’ve seen change, like a sibling, the moon or a caterpillar.

  • Talk about a time something changed for you, something beyond your control. Have your feelings about this event evolved over time?

  • If you could change one thing about your family or about school, what would it be?

  • Talk about the most difficult transition you’ve experienced in your lifetime.

  • The poet Maya Angelou once said, «If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.» What do you think she meant by this? Have you ever had to do this?

  • What is the most caring thing you’ve ever done? Or what is the most caring thing someone has ever done for you?

  • Do you have a favorite memory of spring from when you were younger? What is it?

  • Who was the first person you fell in love with? ( or “Talk about your first love.”)

  • What one lesson about love would you share with those younger than you?

  • Do you have a favorite love story? Is it from a book, movie or real life? Talk about it.

     

  • What traditions or rituals do you practice in your life right now?

  • What was your favorite tradition when you were a child? Have you passed that down to future generations? Will you?

  • Have you ever participated in a tradition from a culture other than your own? What was it? How did you like it?

  • Name your favorite tradition for each season, e.g. drinking hot chocolate in winter.

  • How has your understanding of gratitude changed over the years? What did you feel most grateful for when you were younger? And today?

  • Gertrude Stein said, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” Describe the most creative way you’ve ever expressed thanks to someone, or someone has expressed thanks to you.

  • At what age do you think you first understood the true meaning of empathy? Why—what happened?

  • Do you have a role model for empathy? This can be someone you know personally, or not. How is he or she a role model?

  • Do you ever put off doing something you know needs to be done? Why? Can you give me an example?

  • Do you prefer to read or to hear?

  • Do you prefer to listen or to speak?

  • What would you do if you made the rules at home?

  • Is there something that you do differently in your family that you are really proud of?

  • What is the strangest word you’ve ever heard? What does it mean?

  • What chore did you especially dislike when you were young?

  • What was the happiest day of your life so far?

  • Tell me about the first time you fell in love.

  • What makes you laugh?

  • Can you tell me one thing that you learned today that you think I might not know?

  • «Have I told you about…?» Tell stories about yourself and your extended family! For example, you could ask «Have I ever told you about my first job?» or «Do you know the story of how your grandparents met?»

  • Think of a project or an assignment that you disliked. How was the quality of your work affected by your feelings about the process?

  • Think of  a project or an assignment that you enjoyed. Do you believe the end result was affected by the way you felt about the work?

  • What makes some individuals «good workers,» others average workers and still others poor workers?

  • What determines the quality of someone’s work?

  • Are there any dangers in being truly passionate about your work? If so, what are they?

  • Is passion for work the same thing as enjoyment of work?

  • Milk or juice?

  • What is your best personality trait?

  • If you had to give everyone in the family new names, what would those names be?

  • What would you do if you made the rules at school?

  • Would you rather work in a group or by yourself?

  • Do you prefer to work in silence or with background noise like music?

  • When you’re studying, what do you find most helpful?

  • Tell a story about a time you were really embarrassed.

  • What do you like about (school subject or activity)? Dislike?

  • Is what initially attracted you to (school subject or activity) still what appeals to you about it?

  • What initially attracted you to (school subject or activity)?

  • Have you ever been involved in a situation that violated your sense of right and wrong? Has anyone ever asked you to do something you believed was wrong? What did you do?

  • Do you have things that you worry about in your work? Any ethical concerns? Are your concerns shared by others? How would you like to see them handled?

  • What, if anything, would make you decide to leave the kind of work you do for something else?

  • What do you like about your work? Dislike?

  • Does the thing that attracted to you about your work initially still appeal to you now?

  • What attracted you initially to your area of work? Your particular subfield or area?

  • What is your job? What do you do every day?

  • Tell me your favorite story about our family. Why do you like this story in particular?

  • Do you know any stories about your grandparents when they were kids?

  • Tell me about your favorite activity in school. What did you learn from this activity?

  • What is the best book you have read in school this year?

  • What is it like to be a kid? What is it like to be a parent?

  • Who is the funniest person you know?

  • Who did you play with today?

  • What is the earliest story you know about an ancestor?

  • Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?

  • Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences they had during their childhoods?

  • Do you know how your name was chosen, or how your parents’ names were chosen?

  • Do you know the story about how your parents met?

  • What is your latest project?

  • What is your earliest memory? If you were to write your autobiography, would you start with this memory or with a different one?

  • Who did you sit with at lunch today?

  • What rules do you have to follow at school?

  • What rules do you have to follow at home?

  • What do you like to do on rainy days?

  • At this point in life, do you believe life is or isn’t fair? What has made you feel this way?