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How 10 Teachers Are Building a Sense of Community While Virtual Learning

How 10 Teachers Are Building a Sense of Community While Virtual Learning

As a teacher, the (in some cases) overnight shift to distance learning earlier this year has been hard. You miss your students, and the uncertainty has been exhausting. But, with positive words of encouragement and affirmation, many educators are still finding new and creative ways to make sure that the classroom community that they and their students built over the school year stayed strong when learning went virtual. We recently asked teachers on our Facebook page to share their words of advice. Here are some of their responses:

  1. “I am a Special Education/Life Skills teacher! For a while I was able to do home visits with my students. Now I communicate through weekly personal videos telling them hello and I miss them and to help their parents with chores around the house!” - Tracy Z.

  2. “I miss my students so much, but I have been so grateful to connect with them three times a week by virtual meeting. During these times, we share pets, toys, life events, feelings, games, or whatever comes up. We are able to remain a "class community" without being in the classroom, and that means the world to me.” - Jennifer L.

  3. “Google Meet, Google Classroom, ScreenCastify and EdPuzzle video lessons...lots of emails and phone calls and Facebook messages (our grade level created a Facebook page to help us communicate throughout all of this closure. To say it has been challenging for both students and teachers is an understatement. However, I am proud of my school for rising to the challenge and giving our kiddos the best possible scenario for continued learning. Most of all, I am proud of our students, for doing what they can to do improve on their awesomeness through not-so-ideal circumstances. Love my 6th graders!” - Sally H.

  4. “Each Friday, we have a class Zoom session. It's not for a lesson, but just a time to see each other’s faces and share whatever news we want to share. Last Friday, we had show-and-tell. It was so much fun! I have also mailed my students cards, letters, and a class photograph.” - Kelly T.

  5. “I stay in constant communication with my students and their parents. I have virtual meetings with them, where they get to socialize with each other and continue to build our safe and positive classroom environment at home. I also make sure that all my students have access to the same materials, whether it’s online or on paper. All my students seem to have responded positive to this drastic change and making the best of it!” - Krystal B.

  6. “I have three-year-olds. We meet two times a week via Zoom for a song, prayer, and interactive lesson (this week we built three towers for the letter "t” and decided which one was tall, taller or tallest. I used food boxes, they used whatever they had). I also use Seesaw to link stories, dance and movement, and video myself teaching other concepts that all link to the concepts for the week while building on what we already learned. Love being able to record voice comments right back to them for immediate feedback on their work (photos and video or voice recordings responding to my questions/prompts about stories or lessons).” - Cindy D.

  7. “We are keeping a class scrapbook and putting photos of fun things we are doing during remote learning. We meet on Zoom for check ins. Our school still does house challenges and reading buddies to build our sense of community.” - Aileen H.

  8. “I teach Early Childhood Special Education in a Title I area. When this first started, I created work binders, printed off activities (Colors, numbers, ABCs, rhyming, etc., in color). Made individualized visuals and delivered them to all my students. I am also reaching out weekly to help support the parents and creating individualized lesson plans every two weeks depending on the needs of the parents and the needs of the student.” - Amanda B.

  9. “I am checking in at least two times per week with my kiddos so that they can see my face and get a little boost in their morale. We start every Google Meet with 5 minutes of sharing, just so they can have a little sounding board for all of their triumphs and frustrations. We also pieced together a video that we sent to all of the students to let them know we care and miss them so very much.” - Eileen A.

  10. “I have been doing weekly phone calls to check-in and sending a notecard each week with some stickers included so they receive some "happy mail" each week. They love receiving mail!” - Charlotte F.

Thank you to all the amazing educators who are going above and beyond to drive student success wherever learning occurs. Don’t forget to enter our Educator Appreciation Giveaway for your chance to win a $500 Target gift card!