Video

Learn strategies for effective relationships building in a remote classroom.

 

Teacher-Student Relationships Criteria for Success

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Example

  • I know all my students’ names (first and last), I pronounce them correctly, and I can spell them correctly without looking at a roster
  • I greet my students by name when I first see them or talk to them
  • I know who my students live with at home
  • I know something that they love
  • I can name a strength they have

 

Teacher-Student Relationships

Criteria for Success

Create Your Own

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Relationship Reflection

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Example

Instructions:

  • This document is meant to be a self-assessment of what you have fully internalized about your students.
  • Complete the following without referencing any rosters or documents about your students.
  • Set benchmarks for yourself to see the progress over time and complete this at each benchmark. For example:
    • At the end of August, I will know all names and who they live with.
    • At the end of Quarter 1, I will know something they love and a strength they have.
    • By winter break, I will deepen my knowledge of strengths for the 5 students whom I find most challenging.
    • By spring break, I will create an action plan to improve any relationships that have been a struggle.
  • Add the appropriate number of lines, and edit spacing as needed

Student Name

Who do they live with

Something they love

A strength they have

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create your own by editing your table headings based on your own criteria for success and editing your benchmarks.

Relationship Building Action Plan

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Now that you have defined strong relationships and created your relationship reflection tool, it is time to create your plan to actively cultivate your relationships.

Components of a strong plan:

  1. Student survey to get their perspective on how relationships are going for them.
    • A quick and effective way to do this is by asking students to rate their agreement with 2 statements:
      • I have at least 1 friend in school.
      • I have an adult in school who I trust and who cares for me.
    • Administering this survey a few days before you intend to complete your relationship reflection ensures you have that data as a part of your own reflection.
  1. Identified teacher actions to actively build relationships at daily, weekly, and monthly intervals.

Check out the sample action plan below.

Student survey

Survey my students with these questions

  • I have at least 1 friend in school.
  • I have an adult in school who I trust and who cares for me.

I will give this survey right before I plan to step back and do my own relationship reflection:

When I’ll give my student survey

When I complete my relationship reflection

week 3 of school

end of the first month

2nd to last week in quarter 1

last week of quarter 1

2nd to last week before winter break

last week before winter break

2nd to last week before spring break

last week before spring break

 

Before school/ 1st week actions

  • Make initial phone call: Connect with all families, introduce myself, learn about them, ask their hopes and dreams for their child.
  • Write down their hopes and dreams on a mini star and keep a poster of all hopes and dreams together. Send a picture to all families and thank them for sharing with me. Let them know it will constantly be a reminder of the importance of my work.
  • Have a get to know you phone call with students: Learn about them, their interests, what brings them joy, their friends, and previous school experiences.
  • Inventory student access phone call (with families): schedule longer phone call to understand the students working environment and what materials they have access to at home. (See session 5 for resources.)

Daily actions

  • Send a daily message to my class
  • Ensure I have a touch point (chat, phone call, synchronous lesson, etc.) with every student every day
  • Use a daily shout out routine with students

Weekly action

  • Send weekly family communication
  • Use a weekly journal routine with students, and respond to all students
  • Weekly class meeting
  • Have students nominate a student of the week whose actions show our classroom (or school) values
  • Have a bi-weekly phone call with families for the first 4 weeks of school

Monthly actions

Have a monthly phone call with families starting in month 2 (this can also be a report card conference when appropriate). This will ensure a consistent routine to get family input, share progress, and collaborate.

 

Use the template below to create your own plan.

Student survey

Survey my students with these questions:

 

 

When I’ll give my student survey

When I complete my relationship reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before school/ 1st week actions

 

Daily actions

 

Weekly action

 

Monthly actions

 

Relationship-Building Activities for Remote Classrooms

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This resource includes specific tactics to help build strong relationships. We know relationships matter for kids to feel safe and to take risks with their learning. But how do we do it when we aren’t face to face?

Below is a list of activities that can be used in a remote classroom to build and deepen connections between teachers and students, and between students and their peers.

(Note: As with face to face learning, establishing clear expectations will help ensure productive engagement with these activities. For more resources for setting expectations, see session 7)

  1. Morning meeting or advisory circles: These classroom routines can still happen virtually. Set up synchronous digital or analog time and schedule them. This is a great space for student shares, team building, games, etc. For more resources on this work in action check out:
  1. Online journals: Post or send a prompt each morning and allow students to share what they want in response to the prompt (without attaching a grade). Use your learning management system chat feature, or your group communication tool to create space where students can post their thoughts and respond to each other, or just to the teacher.
  1. Feelings check-ins/temperature checks, etc.: There are so many good ways to do these check-ins including feeling words, colors, emoji’s, etc. You can build them into a synchronous learning time, do it on a chat feature, or create a survey form that kids fill out asynchronously. See resources 5-7 for some specific examples.
  1. Sharing photos: Have students share a photo from their day with the group. You can use a group text feature, your learning management system chat, etc. It will give a way to make people feel more connected because they actually get to see something from each other’s lives.
  1. Share routine: Create a schedule where students can share something more personal to them. This can be based on a prompt, a photo, a response to a quote, or a task to find something around their house.
  1. Include peer check-ins as an assignment: Create a rotation schedule where kids are assigned to check in with another student daily (or different, but specific, cadence). They can choose the method to check in, and should then report back based on the assignment. For example: Share one new thing you learned about your partner, or share what your partner is doing for fun.
  1. Use small groups and turn-and-talks: If your learning plan includes a video platform with breakout rooms, use them. Try groups of different sizes including 1:1 to mirror an in person turn and talk.                

For additional activities to use across distance learning models, check out our next 3 resources.

Activities for Classroom Community Building across Various School Models

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Activity Name

Steps to Complete and Modifications Based on Delivery Method

Class Quilt

  • The teacher will quilt squares out of a large poster board or paper, making one for each student.
  • The teacher will show the students a photo of a quilt (or an actual quilt) and ask:
    • What do you know about quilts? Quilts are made up of many different scraps of material or squares stitched or put together. Each individual piece can look exactly the same, but more often, each piece is unique.
    • Why do people make or use quilts? Quilts have been made and used throughout history to keep warm, decorate homes, express views or remember a loved one. Some quilts can even tell a story about the people who put it together or the time period in which it was put together. That is called a story quilt.
  • The teacher will tell the students they are going to create a class quilt which will tell the story of the class and the students in it. Each student will design and decorate their square and the teacher will combine them into one large quilt.
  • The teacher will ask reflection questions such as:
    • How does this activity help you feel part of our classroom community?
    • How can we understand the similarities and differences in our class from this quilt?

Fully Remote:

  • Students can design their quilt square digitally using a website and send their square to the teacher.
  • The teacher can put the squares together to make a large digital “quilt.”

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For digital students, students can design their quilt square digitally using a website and send their square to the teacher.
  • For in-person students, students will create their quilt square on paper.
  • After the quilt squares of both groups are combined, the teacher will engage both groups in the discussion questions.   

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • Each group of students will create their quilt square on paper. The teacher will combine them into one quilt.  
  • After the quilt squares of both groups are combined, the teacher will engage both groups in the discussion questions.  

Scavenger Hunt

  • The teacher will develop a scavenger hunt for students to complete. This scavenger hunt can have information/items for the students to find depending on the instructional mode of delivery.
  • The purpose of this scavenger hunt is to familiarize students with classroom routines, the physical classroom/Learning Management System, and the other students in the class.
  • Students can complete the scavenger hunt individually, in pairs, or small groups.
  • After finishing the scavenger hunt, the teacher can engage the class in a discussion about what they learned.

Fully Remote:

  • The teacher can choose to give the students the scavenger hunt clues ahead of time, and have students share during a synchronous lesson. The teacher can also have students look for items from the scavenger hunt in real time during the synchronous lesson.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • The teacher will need to create a scavenger hunt that will apply to both digital and in-person settings.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • The scavenger hunt can be completed as described above. Each group of students can record their reflections from the activity on a shared anchor chart.  

Class Mission Statement

  • Having a class mission statement promotes student ownership of the classroom.
  • The teacher will pose questions and engage students in a discussion around questions such as: 
    • What does your ideal classroom look like, sound like, feel like?
    • What makes a good classmate?
  • Students brainstorm ideas in small groups and share their ideas to include in the class mission statement.
  • The class will narrow the ideas down and create a draft.
  • The class will vote to approve the class mission statement. Students will sign a copy of the final product and it will be displayed in the classroom.

Fully Remote:

  • Students would use breakout rooms to digitally brainstorm ideas during a synchronous lesson. The final class mission statement will be displayed on the Learning Management System and referenced frequently.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For digital students, the teacher will engage the students in a discussion using breakout rooms.
  • For in-person students, the activity can be facilitated as described above.
  • The teacher would combine the ideas from the two groups for the class mission statement. Both groups of students would vote to approve the class mission statement. 

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • The teacher can facilitate small group brainstorming from both groups of students, and combine ideas for the class mission statement. Both groups of students would vote to approve the class mission statement.  

Activities for Developing Peer-to-Peer Relationships

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Activity Name

Steps to Complete and Modifications Based on Delivery Method

Student Shout-outs/ Appreciations

  • At the end of each day, teacher and students will give shoutouts
  • The teacher can also provide students with “appreciation” or “shout out” slips of paper to record on throughout the day. These slips of paper can be read aloud.
  • Students can use the sentence frames: “I appreciate ____ because ___.” “Shout-out to ____ for _____.”

Fully Remote:

  • Students can give shout-outs and appreciations during a synchronous lesson or on a discussion board.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For digital students, students can give shout-outs and appreciations during a synchronous lesson or on a discussion board.
  • For in-person students, students can share shout-outs orally or on paper.
  • Shout-outs for the other group of students can be given on a discussion board and shared during a synchronous lesson or during in-person class time.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • Each group of students can share their shout-outs orally or on paper.
  • Shout-outs for the other group of students can be written down and shared by the teacher.

Find Someone Who

  • Students will work to find another student in the class who meets a given criteria (i.e. is an only child, has a pet cat, has lived in another state).
  • After the activity, the teacher will ask reflection questions, such as:
    • What did you learn about your classmates?
    • What surprised you?
    • What are things lots of students have in common?
    • What makes (student name) unique?

Fully Remote:

  • The teacher can give students a few criteria to look for, then divide the students into breakout rooms. Students can discuss the criteria and Find Someone Who meets them. After a few minutes, the teacher will switch the students into different breakout rooms.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For digital students, the teacher can give students a few criteria to look for, then divide the students into breakout rooms. Students can discuss the criteria and Find Someone Who meets them. After a few minutes, the teacher will switch the students into different breakout rooms.
  • As a group, the students will create common ideas that were discussed to share with the in-person students. 
  • For in-person students, the names of the classmates who meet each criteria can be listed on a sheet of paper. As a group, the students will create common ideas that were discussed to share with the virtual students. 

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • Students list the names of the classmates who meet each criteria on a sheet of paper.
  • Each group will chart common ideas that were discussed to share with the other group of students.

Uncommon Commonalities

  • The teacher will randomly group students.
  • The teacher will tell students they have five minutes to brainstorm ten unique things they all have in common with members of their group. Each group will make a list with at least ten uncommon commonalities.
  • After the allotted time, the teacher will tell groups to select their top three most distinctive commonalities.
  • The teacher will invite groups to share.
  • After the groups share, the teacher will ask reflection questions such as:
    • What did you learn about our class as a whole?
    • What is a commonality that surprised you within your group?
    • How are we alike and different?

Fully Remote:

  • During a synchronous lesson, the teacher use breakout rooms for groups to develop their uncommon commonalities.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For virtual students, the teacher use breakout rooms for groups to develop their uncommon commonalities during a synchronous lesson. Each group will record their top 3 uncommon commonalities and send them to the teacher.
  • For in-person students, the activity can be facilitated as described above. The teacher will invite groups to share. If a group reads an idea that is also on another group’s list, the other group will stand up and shout, “Just like us!”
  • Each group will write their top 3 uncommon commonalities on a piece of chart paper.
  • The teacher will compile all the groups’ uncommon commonalities into one document and share with both groups.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • The teacher can facilitate the activity for each group as described above. The teacher will invite groups to share. If a group reads an idea that is also on another group’s list, the other group will stand up and shout, “Just like us!”
  • Each group will write their top 3 uncommon commonalities on a piece of chart paper and these can be displayed in the hallway for students from both groups to read.

Activities to Connect Students to Other Adults in School

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Activity Name

Steps to Complete and Modifications Based on Delivery Method

1-Minute Meetings

  • Students meet individually or in small groups with staff members such as the school counselor, librarian, related arts teachers, etc. for one minute.
  • The staff member will ask students 3-4 questions about their interests, how they feel about school, and other rapport-building questions to learn more about the students.
  • Students are reminded that the staff member is a support person they can talk to.
  • The staff member will get to know the students better.

Fully Remote:

  • During a synchronous lesson, the teacher can utilize breakout rooms and have small groups of students meet with staff members.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For the remote learning students, the teacher can utilize breakout rooms and have small groups of students meet with staff members during a synchronous lesson.
  • For the in-person students, 1-minute meetings can take place as they are described above.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • Staff members will meet with both groups of students to complete the 1-minute meetings.

Baggage Claim

  • Prior to the activity, the teacher will give a card (piece of baggage) to each staff member and tell them that they need to pack their bags with their name, picture, and five interesting facts/things about themselves. Each staff member will write their name, five interesting facts/things about themselves, and include their picture.
  • The teacher will collect the “baggage,” and shuffle them. During class meetings, the teacher will read/share one card at a time and the class will try to decide which staff member the bag “belongs” to. For example, the teacher might say, “I found a lost bag and it contains 5 things, ____, _____, _____, ____, ____.”
  • Students will then guess which staff member the bag belongs to.
  • After the game, the teacher will ask reflection questions to the students, such as:
    • What is one new thing you learned about staff member ___?
    • How are you alike/different from staff member _____?
    • How does a game like this help us learn more about each other?

Fully Remote:

  • During a synchronous lesson, the teacher will facilitate the activity. Other staff members can choose to be a part of the synchronous lesson and participate with the students.
  • After revealing the “owner” of the baggage, the teacher will display the staff members’ picture and role at school. The students can ask any clarifying questions about the staff member’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Using a discussion board, students will write their reflection to the teacher’s questions.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For the remote learning students, the teacher will facilitate the activity during a synchronous lesson. Other staff members can choose to be a part of the synchronous lesson and participate with the students. After revealing the “owner” of the baggage, the teacher will display the staff members’ picture and role at school. The students can ask any clarifying questions about the staff member’s roles and responsibilities. Using a discussion board, students will write their reflection to the teacher’s questions.
  • For in-person students, the teacher will complete the activity using the same staff members shared in the digital lesson.
  • Student reflections about the reflection questions will be shared with both groups.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • The teacher will complete the activity using the same staff members for both groups of students.
  • Student reflections about the reflection questions will be shared with both groups on an anchor chart.

Brown Bag Biography

  • All students and staff members will be given a brown bag to complete a brown bag biography activity with. Students and staff will fill the bag with 5 items that represent a talent, memory, something or someone they love, or hobby they enjoy.
  • Students will take turns asking clarifying questions or giving compliments about what the student or staff member shared.
  • The teacher will ask reflection questions such as:
    • What is one new thing you learned about ___?
    • How are you alike/different from _____?

Fully Remote:

  • During various synchronous lessons at the beginning of the year, the teacher will have various students and staff members share their brown bag biography. Students will take turns asking clarifying questions or giving compliments.
  • On a discussion board, students will reflect on things they learned about their fellow students and staff members, as well as things they might have in common with them.

Hybrid Half In-Person/Half Remote:

  • For the remote-learning students, the teacher will have various students and staff members share their brown bag biography during various synchronous lessons. Students will take turns asking clarifying questions or giving compliments.
  • For in-person students, the teacher will complete the activity using the same staff members shared in the digital lesson.

In-Person Staggered Schedule:

  • Both groups of students will share their brown bag biographies. Staff members will share their brown bag biography with both groups of students.