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One of the hardest parts of taking school online is the loss of community that you incredible teachers intentionally craft in your classrooms in the first weeks of school.
Those first weeks of school really are magical as kids come to develop new friendships and continually learn things about themselves and their classmates, and one of the hardest parts of kids having to learn from home instead of in the classroom is that tremendous loss of daily, collaborative learning.
All of those opportunities to interact and learn how to solve conflicts, how to make and keep friends, and how to work together as a team to earn some super fun class rewards.
I feel the loss, too.
I know how much kids and teachers are missing that connection and community at the beginning of the school year, but it is possible to create that feeling of community with kids when they’re learning online.
As usual, what it comes down to is thinking outside the box, getting super creative, and of course, involving kids in the conversation about what kinds of rewards they want to work for as a group to help build that team spirit, even when they are learning online.
I’ve said this before on this podcast, but as Brendon Burchard says, “people support what they create.”
So, if you present a few rewards that you’d be comfortable with for your class and then let them discuss and vote on the reward, it’s going to be a lot more motivating for them to work for it.
The other way I’ve done this – though it’s much easier in the classroom - is to let the kids come up with the reward ideas themselves and then list them on chart paper.
Then, I circle three to five that I would be comfortable with, and then the kids vote for which reward they most want to work for.
Sometimes the kids will surprise you – it’s often not even the most lavish or elaborate rewards that they want the most, and it can be a really fun way to start helping your class to develop that amazing comradery that is so important in the first few weeks of school.
So online, you can still brainstorm ideas together and then choose 3 – 5 that you’re comfortable with for them to vote on.
However, sometimes kids can't even conceptualize the kinds of creative awards that are possible until you share them.
So, grab my freebie, packed with ideas (and links) to keep in your back pocket when you’re having this super fun conversation with your kiddos!
I hope you have a fabulous week!
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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