Based on the age of your youth, it’s likely that you will need to scaffold your content.

Take a look here for several samples

Phase 3

Map your sessions

It’s time to map out your sessions!

For those in education, think of this a bit like a lesson plan. For those coming from the corporate world, this is your over-arching agenda for your meetings! At BUILD.org, we think of our session plans as robust outlines that guide our path. We design sessions to have maximum engagement and interaction with the youth, so our plans reflect that. You’ll need to consider your framing for each question, each session, and each objective that you have. Think about planning a workshop blended with a class with a lil dose of a focus group on the side. See step-by-step guidelines and tools below!

Objectives

Step 1/

Know Your Audience

It’s likely that the learning questions or objectives you set will need to now be made youth-friendly. Sometimes, we forget what it’s like to be 15 or 19. You will need to scaffold your content so that young people can actively engage in discussion. Below, we have some examples of BIG questions we started with and how we adapted them for engaging discussions with youth.

 

For those in education (heeey educators), you know that in a class of 30 students, you’ll have varying needs and styles of learners. Some learners need more thinking time, some are extroverted, some are introverted, some may have deeper learning needs like dyslexia, or they may be neurodivergent. Others may be brand new to discussing and sharing their opinion.


For those a few years out of the classroom, think about your team at work or your family dynamics. Each person you talk to may need a different strategy to help them “get it.” Your goal when engaging students in co-design and collaboration is to ensure that they can respond to and join in with you in the process. Let’s take a few examples of problems of practice or questions of inquiry to explore more. 

Topic

Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education, with a focus in Math

Questions we started with

  • How do you perceive the impact of culturally responsive and sustaining education in the context of mathematics learning, and what role do cultural considerations play in fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment?
  • What strategies and approaches do you find most effective in integrating culturally responsive and sustaining practices within math education for learners, and how do these strategies contribute to improved engagement and understanding?
  • In what ways do learners from diverse cultural backgrounds experience and articulate the benefits and challenges of a culturally responsive and sustaining approach in mathematics education, and how can these insights inform the development of more inclusive instructional practices?

Goals and Objectives

BUILD partnered with a team that was hoping to achieve the following: The Culturally Relevant Education team is currently developing a framework that will help educator partners and curriculum developers better  assess a curriculum’s cultural relevance. This work is still in development, but our hope is that this design sprint will provide insights on what students want to see in a culturally relevant math class, and give students an opportunity to design a culturally relevant curriculum outline or lesson. These insights and prototypes would serve as a comparison point to the dimensions of quality being defined by experts.

Where we landed

Here are examples of how we break down concepts to support young people in engaging in the content. 

Original Questions:

  • What strategies and approaches do you find most effective in integrating culturally responsive and sustaining practices within math education for learners, and how do these strategies contribute to improved engagement and understanding?
  • In what ways do learners from diverse cultural backgrounds experience and articulate the benefits and challenges of a culturally responsive and sustaining approach in mathematics education, and how can these insights inform the development of more inclusive instructional practices?

 

Questions broken down to explore various aspects that may teach us what we want to learn:

  • In thinking about your classes in high school, describe a time you felt like you could relate to a teacher? Why?
  • What kind of books did you read in high school? Who were the characters? What were their lives about?
  • In thinking about your high school classes: what was one class you really liked or enjoyed, and felt connected to the material and subject? Why? How?
  • When did you discover your favorite subject? How and why?
  • When did you discover your least favorite subject? How and why?
  • How would you describe your experience in Math class?
  • How do you feel in your Math classrooms?

 

Note that we seek to gain a deeper understanding of the students experience in school, what influences that and we ask a lot about not just experiences or curriculums, but feelings and emotions surrounding that. For each of the questions, youth responded in whole group discussions, in breakout rooms, on Jamboard, through imagery or through surveys. We always plan for multiple ways to engage.

Take into account the preferences, interests, and skills of the potential youth participants. Consider conducting surveys or interviews to understand their areas of expertise and interest, helping you tailor the group structure to maximize participant engagement. This approach ensures that the selected format resonates with the youth audience, fostering enthusiasm and commitment to the co-design process.

Recognize each student has a unique learning style, and tailor your communication and engagement strategies accordingly. Some may thrive with visual aids, while others may prefer hands-on activities or verbal explanations. Being aware of these preferences allows you to customize your approach for effective co-design and collaboration.

Implement a diverse set of engagement techniques to cater to different preferences and learning styles. We plan each session in a design sprint to be dynamic.

  • Hold large group discussions
  • Share visual presentations that include discussion questions and other ideas/ perspectives
  • Use True/ False to foster friendly debate
  • Ask youth to individually (and quietly) reflect before sharing. Give 1-2 minutes of think time before some of your discussions.
  • Ask youth to find images that represent how they feel or what they experienced. Post them on a digital whiteboard and then have them respond to each others
  • Use a scale of agree/ disagree (1-5 / 1-10), share in the chat first then call on youth individually
  • Use breakout rooms or hold small group discussions; have youth share out summaries and/ or share the story of another participant. (What’s learned here leaves here, what’s shared here stays here.)

 

By providing varied avenues for participation, you create an inclusive environment where every student can effectively respond and contribute to the collaborative process.

Step 2/ Pick Your Tools

Select the most effective educational tools and resources that align with your session objectives and engage the students. This may include post-it notes, whiteboards, visual aids, digital collaboration platforms, or any other tools that enhance the learning experience. Make sure the tools you select not only align with session objectives but also accommodate diverse learning styles, fostering an inclusive environment where each student can actively participate and contribute.

Establish effective communication and collaboration with relevant departments, including operations, finance, and human resources. Engage these departments in discussions about the budget requirements for the co-design project, seeking their support and alignment with the goals of the initiative. A collaborative approach ensures that budgeting considerations are integrated seamlessly into operations and that necessary approvals and processes are followed.

Analyze the diverse learning styles of your students and select tools that cater to various preferences, such as visual aids for visual learners or interactive activities for kinesthetic learners. Pick appropriate co-design tools and materials that are engaging and age-appropriate. These may include post-it notes, whiteboards, visual aids, and digital collaboration platforms, i.e., Jamboard, Mural, or Google Docs.

 

If and when you use digital tools, they can serve as artifacts and give visual examples of youth’s insights. Check out the Design Sprint reports in Phase 7 – Evaluation – to see how we have used Jamboards as an example!

STEP 3/ Set Weekly Objectives for your Design Sprint

It’s likely that you set your overarching goals to guide your fellowship program during the Discovery Phase. (If you didn’t, re-visit that now!) For Session Planning, you’ll want smaller, more refined objectives to serve as a compass, directing the learning journey towards specific outcomes that align with adult and youth aspirations. At BUILD, we use the concept of a design sprint—a time-bound, collaborative approach to problem-solving and innovation that involves ideation, prototyping, and testing. This methodology allows us to debate, discuss, reflect and design; youth shine as you give them the time and space to share their ideas, stories and hopes for education.

Establish effective communication and collaboration with relevant departments, including operations, finance, and human resources. Engage these departments in discussions about the budget requirements for the co-design project, seeking their support and alignment with the goals of the initiative. A collaborative approach ensures that budgeting considerations are integrated seamlessly into operations and that necessary approvals and processes are followed.

Define specific timeframes and milestones for each session and what you aim to achieve or learn through collaboration with the youth. You want your goals for each session to help keep the discussions focused and on track. Throughout the design sprint, you may need to re-visit your goals and/ or adjust based on the learnings that are arising.

STEP 4/ Set Check-ins with Youth and Team

You’ll want to ensure that your team or the partners involved AND the youth are clear on where you want to go. Share your learning questions, share your agendas for sessions and share your objectives for each design sprint. Letting participants see the roadmap allows them to feel aligned to the broader program or project purpose.

 

Check out the videos found in the Building Relationships Phase for some of our advice on how to stay flexible, but on course!

Conduct a thorough assessment of the individual motivators of the youth participants. Understand what personally drives them and what they find rewarding. This could involve surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to gather insights into their preferences, interests, and aspirations. Individual motivators can vary widely, and tailoring incentives to align with these motivations increases their effectiveness.

Define regular checkpoints throughout the fellowship to assess progress against the set objectives. These checkpoints provide opportunities for reflection, adjustment, and reinforcement, allowing educators and participants to stay on course and adapt goals based on emerging needs and accomplishments. 

We advise using a simple form, sending a text or email to participants, and setting recurring meetings with partners.

We have been there! Your dope agenda lands FLAT! You didn’t learn what you expected… it’s time for a small reset. Actively seek and incorporate feedback from participants at various stages of the fellowship. By creating a feedback loop, you can gather insights on the relevance and effectiveness of the objectives, allowing for adjustments that better align with the evolving needs and experiences of those involved in the program.

This ensures that the objectives remain responsive and tailored to the dynamic nature of the fellowship.

STEP 5/ Set Your Timeline

Develop a realistic and well-defined timeline for the entire fellowship program, including start and end dates for each phase. Establishing a clear timeline helps in effective planning, organization, and ensures that the program runs smoothly within the designated timeframe.


Some of you using these tools may just be planning a design sprint while others may be launching a longer-term fellowship.

  • For design sprints, we have found that engaging with youth for 4-6 weeks, 90-minutes at a time, allows us to build strong relationships, help youth develop skills and gives ample time to learn and unpack the insights.
  • Our youth fellowship program at BUILD gives youth multiple opportunities to participate in focus groups and design sprints over the course of 6-12 months. 

Conduct a thorough assessment of the individual motivators of the youth participants. Understand what personally drives them and what they find rewarding. This could involve surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to gather insights into their preferences, interests, and aspirations. Individual motivators can vary widely, and tailoring incentives to align with these motivations increases their effectiveness.

Incorporate the input of the youth participants when setting the timeline to ensure that it aligns with their academic calendars, extracurricular commitments, and other obligations. This collaborative approach not only fosters a sense of ownership among participants but also helps in avoiding conflicts with their existing schedules.

 

We have found that hosting virtual sessions around 4pm PST / 7pm EST allows us to engage youth nationwide after school and we have high attendance.

Clearly communicate the expectations and time commitments associated with each phase of the fellowship to the youth participants. Providing transparent information helps them better manage their time and commitments, contributing to a smoother and more successful implementation of the program.

 

Youth are often paid to participate, so they are expected to come to sessions or communicate the reasons they cannot attend. If youth miss more than one session of a design sprint, we often will discuss if they are able to continue the design sprint or if they need to pause their engagement. Holding youth accountable to their commitments is a part of loving them and serving them with an aim to help them thrive in future professional or academic settings. 

STEP 6/ Utilize Guides and Resources

Leverage the guides and resources provided in this playbook to enhance the quality of your fellowship program. These tools may include session planning templates, assessment methods, and best practices that have proven successful in similar educational initiatives.

 

Check out the toolkit page for a full library of resources. Relevant templates are added over time, so if you don’t have what you need, check back later or reach out to a member of the team to ask for support.

 

The hope is that this playbook provides a structured framework with valuable resources to guide you through the program implementation while also allowing you to make it your own!

Support Documents

Focus Group
Protocol V1

Template

Focus Group
Protocol V2

Template

Sample Planning
Outline Scope
and Sequence

Template

Focus Group Deck (Partner + Build)

Template

Playbook Phases

Discovery

Defining the direction and your goals

Recruitment

Finding and preparing the youth

Session Planning

Outlining the scope and sequence for the work ahead

Building Relationships

Best practices to ensure you are starting from a foundation of relationship-building

Implementation

Running your weekly (or daily or monthly) groups to capture insights, experiences and stories

Evaluation

Ensure you met your objectives and if you can hold yourself accountable to those engaged. Reflect and prepare a summary of learning or insights.

Next up:

Building Relationships

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.

VIDEO PREPARATION GUIDELINES

HOW TO RECORD

1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right

PRESENTATION TIPS.

- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.