We are always fighting against time. There is so much to teach young minds and so little time to fit it all in! Fortunately, weaving relationship-building into the fabric of your daily teaching practice doesn’t have to take hours of team-building activities or trust falls. Here are a few of our favorite ways that educators all across North America are weaving relationships into what they are already doing…
Taking Role: A friend of ours in Texas is on a roll with her simple relationship-building technique. Before she calls out names, once or twice a week she will share a question that would have a one-word answer. As each name is called, she learns something short and simple about each of her students - a much more valuable use of time than “present” or “here” times 30! Some questions might be…
What is one word to describe your weekend?
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life…?
The name of your first pet?
The TV show or book you are reading right now?
Entry Task Imagery: A teacher in Washington does a Google Survey at the beginning of the year to gather some humanizing information about his students. Then, after confirming it is okay to share, he incorporates some of this information into his powerpoint slides that has the daily “Do Now.” Each day, in the upper right hand corner, he features one of the students in the class with a piece of information to deepen the classes understanding of who they show up to learn alongside each day. For example, for a whole month you might see a picture of every student’s pets and their pet names. The next month, it might be a picture of a student’s favorite place to relax.
“What Have You Done For Others Today?”: One of our favorite math teachers in Connell, WA has an entire wall dedicated to the question that doesn’t get asked enough: “What Have You Done For Others Today?” He says that if his class ever has a few extra minutes at the end, he points to the wall and asks the room the question. In his own words, “I witness them thinking through their day trying find a point in time where they have helped others…Sometimes it turns into a classroom full of laughter, other times it turns into a more serious conversation. I never imagined such a simple quote could change the dynamics of my classroom in such a positive way.”
We don’t need a lot of time to build better communities - we just need to change the way we are using the time we already have. Share with us in the comments below your favorite way to incorporate meaningful relationships and conversations into your daily teaching practice!