#17 – Celebrate: Building Community Beyond Your (Virtual) Classroom

Unpacking Education December 9, 2020 26 min

While many things have changed as learning has shifted to virtual and hybrid environments, one thing remains the same: Celebrations and recognition of achievements are essential elements of every classroom. These moments and events drive student motivation and growth, as well as the development of a positive classroom culture, but how do you create moments for celebration and recognition when you’re not physically sharing the same space with your students?

Join our Digital Learning Specialists as they talk about figuring out how to build classroom communities online, celebrate students’ successes, and encourage families to stay involved. We provide practical strategies to cheer on students in your everyday virtual teaching routine and tips on how to celebrate the big moments virtually.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

Below, you will find resources and tips shared during the podcast.

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

Oprah Winfrey, actress, author, talk show host, and philanthropist


In this week’s episode, we discuss the following strategies and resources that are available on AVID Open Access for you to explore in more depth.

Build Community With Virtual Celebrations Big and Small

Taking time to stop and acknowledge the good things that are happening provides much needed support to students and their families. As we celebrate, we focus on the positive, bringing that feeling to the forefront. Whether it is acknowledgment of students’ effort during your daily virtual-teaching routine or an organized event to celebrate a class milestone, these moments of encouragement and joy bring the class together.

Class Celebrations

Consider some of the following activities to celebrate virtually with your students to build a positive classroom culture.

  • Celebration Board: Have students write a sticky note to share birthday wishes for a fellow student on a Google Jamboard (Tips). Jamboard is an interactive, collaborative whiteboard where you and your students can collaborate in real time.
  • Virtual Field Trips: Ignite students’ imagination by sharing virtual field trips. This is a great way to introduce new content through an engaging delivery mechanism. You and your class can explore the great outdoors, museums, and zoos for free! A few options are included below:
  • Free Interaction Time (FIT): Since they don’t have the camaraderie of the physical classroom, create time for students to hang out with each other virtually on a regular basis. Finding time for students to interact with one another, to share stories, and to bond over similar experiences builds classroom culture.
  • GoNoodle Celebration: Have a class sing-along with GoNoodle to celebrate the big and little moments that mean so much to your students.

Recognize Individual Achievements and Accomplishments

By recognizing the small achievements along the way, we motivate students to want to do well and to believe they can succeed. Letting your students know you have confidence in their ability can be one of their greatest motivations. The following ideas help students see their accomplishments along their learning journey:

  • Student Showcases: Create publication opportunities for students to share their work with an audience beyond their classroom’s (virtual) walls. For example, in a writing class, have students select their best work and then collaborate to curate and design a class book or develop a website to showcase their creations.
  • Virtual Recognition/Compliment Wall: Use Google Jamboard (Tips), Padlet (Tips), or Flip (Tips) to have students share their shout-outs for classmates.
  • ePortfolios: Have students collect their finished projects and performances as evidence of their knowledge and skills. ePortfolios demonstrate students’ growth over time and can be used by students to reflect on their learning journey and to celebrate the milestones that illustrate growth.

Digital Tools

Explore these tools as examples to help create memorable celebrations with your students. We share tips on how to use the following digital tools in this week’s episode.

Design Your Virtual Celebrations. The following are examples of tools that can be used to help you and your students memorialize your classroom celebrations:

  • Design Personalized Certificates: Use Google Slides with the Autocrat add-on for Google Sheets to design certificates! With this add-on, you can design a certificate in Google Slides and merge the template with the list of students you have in Google Sheets to make individual certificates in just seconds.
  • Create a Digital Celebration: Have students use their Bitmoji (Tips) in Scratch (Tips) to create games that they share with each other for a class Game Night. Students present their game to their classmates, learn from each other’s designs, inspire one another to iterate on their games, and have fun playing their creations together!