Millions of students and teachers find themselves thrust into a world of unknowns. Just a few short weeks ago kids were waking up and heading to their classroom to learn and grow in a community of learners. Now many of them are isolated at home, far from their classmates and their teacher.
Building community is an important aspect of school culture not just now but overall. And while we may be behind computer screens trying to navigate this new world of distance and virtual learning, there are still things we can do to help kids feel a part of classroom and school community.
And now it's more important than ever.
More Ideas To Build Community Even From A Distance
Weekly School Email Blasts from the Principal and/or Teacher: This helps keep everyone in the loop and informed. This can be just for parents and students and another for just staff as well. Even better, record a video and post it to a school Facebook page or Twitter account.
Reflect and Share Together: Especially now we might just need to talk it out. Provide a space for kids (and adults) to share their thoughts and feelings. And it doesn't have to be about the current situation. It can be about anything. Something new learned, a new app or website, or what the dog did that day. These conversations can be text based or through asynchronous video or live. Whatever way you do it provide a platform and set aside time to just reflect.
School-Wide Virtual Meetings: These can be done once a week and don't have to last long. And remember you can do them a few times that day to meet everyone's schedule or record them to post later.
PLC Meetings: Yes, PLC Meetings. Teachers need the chance to check in with each other. Set aside time to meet and plan, virtually or over the phone. And don't spend all the time talking about the pains of this new reality. Talk about how you are surviving and the fun things you are doing as well.
Celebrations: Just because many, many of us are stuck at home or in isolation, doesn't mean that life doesn't carry on. Make celebrations even more important now. Birthdays, especially with kids can be celebrated by having everyone record a video message on a Flipgrid or posted to the Google Classroom group. Staff too could do this for each other.
There are loads more ideas in the video, but what ideas do you have? How are you building community from a distance?