Just as important as it is to connect with families during remote learning, it is equally as important to develop connections with students. Students might be feeling disconnected or alone in a remote learning environment. Therefore, creating opportunities for them to connect with you and their classmates will help them feel more united.
Below are a few ways to develop connections during remote learning.
Check in with Your Students
Checking in with your students will help you build relationships with them as well as give you information about how they are doing. You could post a daily question and keep track of which students are responding to the questions. Those students who are not might need extra support. Tools like Flipgrid allow students to share a video response while younger students could draw pictures.
Schedule Connection Time
Scheduling dedicated time that is not academic focused can help build meaningful connections with your students. It should be an informal time to talk with your students. Ask them how they are feeling or what they miss about not being in school in person. You, as the teacher, can share about how your remote learning experience has been. If students see you sharing, they might be more willing to share. Having those meaningful conversations are very important in developing connections and relationships.
Take a Virtual Field Trip
There is nothing like taking students outside of the remote classroom and into an exciting virtual field trip. Connect with your students by allowing them to explore places of interest or curiosity. There are many sites that offer virtual field trips. You can take your students around the world, let them visit places in Texas, or even take a 360 degree exploration. In addition, Google Earth has more than 50 interactive tours if you look under the Voyager section. You can even visit the brown bears of Alaska.
Games are an excellent way to connect with your students. They also give your students a chance to get to know each other, build community, and most of all, have a little bit of fun. Therefore, consider taking some time after a lesson or during the middle of the week to play a game with your students. There are many games that can be adapted to remote learning. You could even host a family game night to let students introduce you to their family members.
Have Lunch with Your Students
Have lunch with your students, either virtually or by phone. This is another way you can get to know your students outside of academic time. For students, sometimes just knowing that someone is there can help them feel connected, even if they are silent. Remember, you can always set up a Google Voice number so you don’t have to give out your personal phone number.
Connection is a key factor to student success in a remote learning environment. If you would like to explore more ways to connect with your students, be sure to check out our Social and Emotional Learning online course. What are some ways you are making connections with your students? Please comment below.