The northern hemisphere is waking up and students are returning to the classroom.
In most places, this will be face-to-face, while in others, the practice of home-based learning will continue. No matter the format or venue, now is the time to consider the steps you will take to help your students reconnect with one another, to set up another successful school year.
This task is especially important when you consider the impact of the pandemic on our ability to interact socially over the past 12 to 18 months. It may be necessary to grieve the loss of loved ones, not to mention missed milestones and collective activities.
Make time at the start of this school year to build and rebuild connections. Here are a few prompts to help you not get lost in the rush to get back to learning:
Get To Know One Another
There is no shortage of fun group games & activities you can play to invite your group to interact, share and build trust. The key to your success here is to present a carefully planned sequence of activities that are not only outrageously fun but highly interactive, simple and honour choice. You see, no one likes to be forced to do anything, especially when playing the same old boring icebreaker games. When your get-to-know-you games are really fun, they are hard to stand away from which means greater participation (ie students choose to play, rather than sit back) and sharing and trust.
Establish Group Norms
Creating a shared and conscious agreement about how your group will ‘be’ with one another is important at any time, but especially this year. Your group missed a lot of time together last year and in some ways, this exercise may simply be a reminder of what is expected, not to mention, build a classroom environment that is grounded in collective values. If you’re looking for unique, engaging ways to do this, take a look at Tin Can Pass and Moonball or simply select Behavioural Norms from the Learning Themes drop-down list.
This practice has become an established routine for all of my programs these days, both online and in-person. Check-ins are a great way to connect with your group and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening or being felt (and not said) among your students, the school and the whole community. If this idea is new to you, there are many options you can choose from to get you started such as Inspiring Check-Ins and Emotional Check-In. Don’t forget to browse the variations.
If all of this can seem a bit too much, please remember that we can help. If you’re a playmeo member, you can reach out to us and get personalised coaching and mentoring advice.