#5 – Foster Relationships and Build Community During Remote Teaching

Unpacking Education September 16, 2020 35 min

The shift to remote teaching requires us to think a little differently about how to build classroom culture with our students. This week’s podcast shares digital strategies and tech tips for engaging students in the co-development of your virtual classroom norms and routines. We also share practical suggestions for connecting positively with students and families from the beginning of the school year to create a reliable and sustainable community partnership.

In a remote-learning environment, we need to rethink how we interact with students and establish a strong classroom culture. Our Digital Learning Specialists provide easy-to-implement strategies for engaging students in a live remote-learning environment every 3 to 5 minutes, as well as tips for staying connected to your students asynchronously.

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 to support your virtual teaching goals.

Here is the best advice I can give any educator right now: Focus on relationships first. Everything else is a distant second.

George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset


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.

Foster Relationships and Build Community

With teachers and students separated, maintaining a sense of community can be achieved through intentional activities that engage individual students, as well as the whole group. Below, we share suggestions for digital tools and how you might use them to build a dynamic, diverse classroom community that celebrates the unique backgrounds of each of your students.

Engage Students and Families

  • Build Classroom Community to Support Your Students’ Social and Emotional Needs: Think about how the strategies, activities, and templates shared here may help you build a positive and trusting classroom culture with your students.
  • Tip! Virtual Name Tags: Help students get to know one another by having them create virtual name tags, where they share their name and images that are meaningful to them. Post your students’ virtual name tag in a shared space so that students can revisit them to get to know more about others in their class.
  • Tip! Co-Develop Classroom Norms With Google Jamboard. Take time at the beginning of the year to engage students in classroom norm development. Use Google Jamboard (Tips) as a digital whiteboard, where students post their ideas (text and images) and collaborate with their peers to define their classroom culture. Jamboard makes the brainstorm and learning process visible and accessible to all collaborators in the session.
    • Embed a T-Chart or Y-Chart on your digital whiteboard and have students choose which aspect of their classroom culture they would like to brainstorm together.
  • Connect Positively With Families: Explore five tips for communicating and connecting with families to develop a positive home and school partnership.
  • Tip! Audio Updates for Families: Use Vocaroo to record audio messages that can be linked in documents, emails, and text messages to keep families informed on their student’s progress.

Digital Tools

Let us help you look for new ways to engage students online. We share tips for the following digital tools in this week’s episode. Each digital tool review in AVID Open Access includes a takeaway tip sheet and overview video.

Flippity: Use Flippity to create digital manipulatives, activities, and tools to support your online classroom. At the start of the school year, Flippity can be used to engage students in community-building activities that allow you to get to know individual students, while engaging the whole group. Some of the more popular templates include a quiz show generator, scavenger hunt activity, and Mad Libs creator.

Classroomscreen: Create more organized and engaging learning sessions using this digital display tool with interactive widgets. There are over 10 widgets included that can support your analog or virtual classroom. Popular widgets include a timer, drawing tool, and polling feature. You can also easily adjust the instructions on your screen during the lesson, depending on what your students need.