Maintaining our “class family” is essential to supporting students’ academic and social-emotional learning, especially during these days of social distancing and closed school buildings. The good news is that we can keep our class family going virtually! Try these three tips to intentionally build relationships in your virtual class community.
1. Explore and Release
Use these Virtual Community Building ideas as a starting point. Explore how community connects to content learning. Involve students in developing new ideas and empower them to execute on plans. Student-led community building provides opportunities to practice leadership.
2. Synergize With Others
Invite community members to join in the learning and fun. Invite family members to participate in community-building challenges. Collaborate with a class in another grade to focus on schoolwide community building. Extend virtual connection opportunities to local police, firefighters, or senior centers. The synergistic possibilities are endless!
3. Leverage Social-Emotional Learning
Virtual community-building activities are a fun way to create strong relationships between remote classmates. Like team building activities in the real world, the virtual versions focus on improving social-emotional skills, such as considering others’ wins, listening and communicating, synergizing, and valuing differences. They help us live out the Core Paradigms, such as demonstrating that “everyone can be a leader” and “everyone has genius.”
If you’re looking to go even bigger with community building while social distancing, take a look at this inspiring example of a Leader in Me Lighthouse District in Bellmore, NY. They held a driving parade through the streets of their town, sharing motivational messages of hope. Joe Famularo, Superintendent of the Bellmore School District, shared, “The leadership from the students was just as powerful as the teachers’ actions.” Way to go Bellmore!
Try these ideas to build your virtual classroom community.
10 Powerful Community Building Ideas by Emelina Minero on Edutopia.