Easy ideas for keeping relationship building your top priority

Teaching during a pandemic has created A LOT of additional work for teachers. Many educators (including myself) have advised teachers to pick top priorities and choose to let other things go. One priority that teachers SHOULD NOT let go of is making time for building relationships with students. This is just so paramount! So how can educators keep building relationships a top priority when they are so incredibly pressed for time?? Here are some super fast and easy ideas that take ZERO prep time (cause I know you don’t have any to spare) for keeping what’s most important from getting pushed aside by other required tasks.

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Student Spotlight online or printable

On my campus, all of our teachers are teaching both online (to remote students) and face-to-face (with students physically in the classroom) simultaneously. We are working hard to keep relationship building and a strong classroom culture a top priority – especially since about half of the students in each class will be learning from home. One common idea for helping students connect to each other is asking them to answer some get to know you questions and then spotlighting one student per week or per day until all students have shared. Traditionally, at schools across the world, this has been done by cutting and gluing pictures onto poster board. In an effort to keep passing of papers at a minimum and to level the playing field with an assignment that students can complete online or can be printed and completed with paper and pencil, I created a Student Spotlight template!

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Virtual Meet the Teacher

On my campus, we are making plans to have our first ever VIRTUAL Meet the Teacher. While we can’t safely invite all parents and students into the building at this time, we still want everyone to get to meet their teacher and have a quick get-to-know-you conversation, see the classroom, practice walking from their entrance to class, AND we still need to gather lots of information from families. We know that just like when homeroom letters went home in the past, when these Virtual Meet the Teacher’s go out, parents and students will talk to each other and compare who got who. We want this to be a GREAT first impression for ALL of our teachers – so myself and three teachers from my school (Kelsey French, Brittany Laurell, and Ina Nguyen) developed a template for all teachers on campus to use with easy to follow instructions so that we all make the same GREAT first impression.

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Have Fun in your Online Meetings! Game Ideas for Class, Staff, or Family Online Meet-ups

Have Fun in your Online Meetings

On my campus, while we are working hard to meet the academic needs of students remotely, we are also focused on ensuring that students still feel connected to their teacher and their classmates.  In the same way, while I want to meet the work needs of my staff members, I also want to ensure that we stay connected as a staff and continue to grow and build our culture – even remotely.  Teachers are planning weekly class Zoom meetings for team building and culture building. As a staff, we are hanging out in a virtual staff lounge on Zoom and also sharing memes, jokes, and ideas on a staff padlet wall. Staying connected during this difficult time is so important for our students’ and our own mental health! After the first few – “It’s so great to see you” Zoom class or staff meetings, it can be hard to come up with more ideas for bonding and having fun together from a distance. Here are some ideas I’ve found across the internet that I hope you’ll find useful! Continue reading

A New Twist on the Positive Note using VOXER

A New Twist on the Postive Note

Lately, I’ve started using voxer to send voice messages of praise and appreciation to students, staff, and parents. If you aren’t using Voxer, it is a walkie-talkie app that you use to send voice recordings. If your intended recipient has the app, you can send your voice message of encouragement directly to them through the app, but even if they don’t have the app, you can record your voice and then email the recording to them. I have seen these messages have a HUGE impact – at times, bringing others to tears as they hear the honesty and sincerity in my voice that sometimes does not come across in writing. Continue reading

When Educators Disagree…

File_000 (3)We are all in this education business for kids. That’s why we come to work each day. And even though for all of us the overriding goal is to do what’s best for our students, sometimes we disagree on what’s best in our state, our district, our school, on our team, or in our classrooms.

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