Hello and welcome to another #31daysofkindergarten …distance learning focused! One major concern that I have heard from teachers, who are doing distance learning this year, is how they will make connections and build relationships with their students. This is a valid concern, as most of us Kindergarten teachers and the students we teacher, thrive on hugs, high fives and the babbling stories of our kinder kids. How can we do this when we’re teaching from across town over a computer screen? Here are my favorite tips for making connections with your students during distance learning.
Student Connection During Distance Learning
In a traditional, in-person classroom setting, one of our first goals as an elementary school teacher is to make connections and build relationships with our students. Not only will this help us teach each student individually, but it will help them feel comfortable in our classroom family. Now that many are teaching virtually, teachers may have to work a little harder or differently to create these connections. I’ve done some research on this and wanted to share what I learned in hopes that it can help you too.
Make Connections Before School Starts
- Send a welcome letter or post card
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a simple letter on a white piece of paper will do just fine. If you are able, you could deliver this and a small gift to the child’s doorstep. This meeting in person can help tremendously. In place of a letter, we have THESE CUTE POSTCARDS...
- Have a virtual meeting with parents.
You can set up times and have parents pick time slots. I like to use SignUpGenius.com for things like this. It’s free.
Once parents pick a time, you can use this space to ask questions about each student and basically pick the brain of each student’s parents/guardians. This is a great time for parents to ask you questions in a one-on-one meeting too! Your school might be having a virtual meet-the-teacher, but it may not offer the families individual time with you.
- Virtual Student Meet & Greet
Kindergarten is a special grade. For many students, this will be their first time in a ‘structured’ school setting. Typically teachers get a chance to meet students face-to-face at a meet & greet or even the first day of school. In previous years, I found myself connecting with students on the playground during recess or even just in the classroom. But that may not be an option this year. But an option may be to meet with each student virtually. You can share about yourself and have the student and parents share too! This is a great time to really dive into an introduction.
This is also a perfect time for giving them specifics about your expectations or even explaining the specific learning platform your school is using for distance/hybrid learning.
Make Connections During The School Year
- Record yourself reading a book and send it to each student in a way that they can watch it whenever they would like.
- Do a ‘Flat Teacher‘ project.
- If your students live all near each other, set up a socially-distanced scavenger hunt in their neighborhood.
Giving Small Gifts
- Send postcards throughout the year.
- Call your students on the phone, or FaceTime if available.
- Drop off a small gift. Many of us give gifts for Back To School, holidays, birthdays, etc. You can still do this by sending them in the mail or dropping them off at the student’s house.
- If you normally give your students a new book through the Scholastic order, you can still do this!
Make Virtual Class Time Fun
You can still do the fun things you would do in classroom, but virtually.
- Show & Tell
- Dress Up Days
- Celebrate Birthdays & Holidays
- Directed Drawing
- Virtually Field Trips
- Student Of The Week
- Question Of The Day
- Joke/Riddle Of The Day (told by a student)
- Pajama Day with a Movie (if allowed)
Do you have ideas for making connections and building relationships with your incoming students? Please share below!
That is a wrap for blog post 10 of #31daysofkindergarten here on my blog! In case you missed the previous posts in this series…
- Kindergarten Daily Academic Schedule
- Best Assessments for Kindergarten
- Preparing for the 2020 School Year
- Super Ideas for Teaching Rules & Procedures in a Kindergarten Classroom
- Boom Cards: Everything You Need to Know
- Individual Phonics Literacy Kits
- Individual Supply Storage from Dollar Tree
- Free Money for Your Classroom
- The Best Name Activities for Kindergarten
Abigail is a Kindergarten Teacher, Curriculum Writer, National Speaker and author of the website, Kindergarten Chaos, LLC. She lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband and 3 kids. She provides professional development to schools and districts all over the country. If your school or district is in need of professional development (either in-person or virtually) for everything Little Learners, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org