It can feel like there is absolutely no way to build a community when we aren’t face to face with students. I’m not going to lie – it is harder and it just doesn’t feel right to most of us not to see our kids face to face.
My favorite part of teaching is the first few weeks when I get to know my kids and understand my classroom dynamic. I am sad for teachers not to have that experience this year, BUT…once I started looking through all of the things I usually do to build that community, I realized that I can do almost everything I normally do virtually – it will just look a little different and I have to be okay with that for now!
That’s why I’ve put together a list of ideas on how you can build your virtual classroom community, no matter what the school year looks like.
How to Build Your Virtual Classroom Community
- Hold weekly/morning class meetings.
- Focus on positivity (with space for concerns) – start the day off with one “thumbs up” thought and “one thumbs” down
- Work together toward a shared goal
- Give daily shout-outs or compliments (from both teacher and student to student) – kindness “wall”
- Let students have a voice
- Set up a positive reinforcement system
- Clear rules and procedures
- Stress release time…. dance party, write your concern on a piece of paper and throw it away
- Ice-breaker games
- Include the family when appropriate
- Take time each day/class to do fun things; tell a story, read a book, have a dance party, have students share a fun website they found, games etc..
- Make sure the work is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners
- Let students know that you are there for them
- Be clear… this is new for everyone and you will all be learning together
- Talk to the class and with the class- not at the class
- Think about incorporating activities that are usually school-wide to build a cohesive group. (theme weeks, competitions, contests)
- Class pets ~ each student can have a week that their pet gets to be the class pet.
Of course, there are many other ways you can instill community virtually or in person, so just use this list as a jumping-off point. And – if you have other great ways you build community, don’t hesitate to share with us in the Learn2Teach Facebook Group.