I have been bombarded with emails and messages asking about my “plan” for building and creating community virtually, and decided it would be best to create a series of blogs to really break it down… I think that there are so many moving parts here and it seems an overwhelming task, but really, it boils down to several solid strategies that you would do regularly in your in-person classroom to build community.
Let’s start with letting kids SEE you... I think it is important that they see you EVERY day…Even if 90% of your classes are asynchronous… make sure they’re still “seeing you” and “hearing” your voice! I have AT LEAST one video of myself (short and sweet) built into every single one of my lessons. ALL of my lessons are through Google Forms. For my intro lesson on Monday I used this video:
In doing this, I am also modeling vulnerability. In our classes, where PQA (personalized questions and answers) and personalization is at the center of every single lesson, we are often asking kids to be vulnerable with us and share all sorts of personal information that they wouldn’t necessarily divulge in other classroom spaces. I never force that they share, however, if they see me modeling this, they’re far more likely to.
Other videos are SUUUUPER short like this! Yes, I insert Brain Breaks even into my asynchronous lessons….
or this one that I shared today to talk about how acquisition is different from learning.
Next, I start to ask the kids to find connections with me. Monday for example, after watching my intro video, I asked them to tell me if we had anything in common. If we did, it brought them to a new section asking what we had in common, and what makes them different and unique, and if we didn’t have anything in common, the next section asked them to share two cool facts about themselves with me. Using that super cool trick from this blog. Notice in all of these videos I let my personality shine through… I do them in ONE take… I am authentically me… no makeup most of the time… just natural… Show up AS YOURSELF so your kids know they can show up authentically THEMSELVES for your classes. If you need support in creating short, sweet, compelling, comprehensible videos for your asynchronous lessons, my course is still available on Teachable and you can work through it at your own pace!
When I am not posting VIDEOS in my asynchronous lessons (to be clear I do post at least one video per day), I am posting pictures or Bitmojis… I find that these bring lots of JOY to my kids and make the lessons go by quickly!
That’s part one! Personalize your lessons and let them SEE and HEAR from you as much as possible!
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part TWO! Who knows maybe I will even write part 3 by Friday! PHEW… maybe I am being a bit TOO ambitious!
I hope you’re taking care of yourselves… I have taken on WAY too much at work and am finding myself working around the clock. I didn’t eat until 7pm yesterday… NOT HEALTHY…. I am working on setting some boundaries again and putting myself first so I don’t burn out before the first week of September!
Thinking of all of you! Stay happy, stay safe, stay well, stay sane, and until next time,
La Maestra Loca