Our 6.0 Connection Toolkit features six proactive tools that help our teachers build and sustain relationships in the classroom. We invite you to explore these tools as you look to build—and sustain—relationships with your students.
60-Second Relate Break
The brain isn’t built for continuous, long-term learning. Researchers argue the average attention span of an adolescent student is less than 20 minutes! How do you help your students hit reset on their brains? Let us introduce you to 60 Second Relate Breaks! Like a brain break, but more intentional, our 60 Second Relate Breaks allow for students and educators to discover unique facts about one another in a fun, low pressure setting. 60 Second Relate Breaks make it easy to build and sustain relationships all year long.
- The teacher sends students to breakout “rooms” via their online platform.
- The teacher assigns a number to each student within their online platform, then poses a question for numbered pairs to answer the question in the chat forum.
- The teacher asks questions and has each student take a picture of themselves with their answers. The students post the picture to classroom chat.
- The teacher poses a question to the group and students answer only using gifs or memes (appropriate). The teacher answers last, using a gif or meme.
- After completion of the exercise, the students can add something they learned or their answer to the chat
With demands being placed on educators to, “raise their scores” and “teach from bell to bell,” now more than ever, time is of the essence! Great educators know connecting before content is important, but finding the time to do so can be challenging. Welcome 2 Minute Connections! Utilizing our whole-class community sharing approach, 2 Minute Connections allow for cross classroom connections to be made in 2 minutes or less. Used as an ice breaker, brain break, or to assist with transitions, building and sustaining relationships in the classroom has never been so easy… or so fast!
The teacher assigns a number to each student within their online platform. These numbers signify the order of speaking during the 2-Minute Connection exercise.
The teacher asks the question first, answers first, and then goes in numerical order allowing each student to answer the same question.
The teacher can also pose a question to the whole class and have the students answer in the classroom virtual chat using only a gif or meme (appropriate).
Encourage the general use of a virtual "Thumbs Up" wherever possible. This allows for nonverbal ways to express connection.
Two Minute Connections are designed to take place daily in each of your classes. Yes, you read that correct - daily.
We believe that investing two minutes each day brings more value than attempting to build or sustain community through other practices once a week or monthly. The key is to build and sustain relationships in micro-frequencies realistically for teachers at all grade levels.
In this exercise, you will create questions to share with your students. There are a variety of ways to collect Two Minute Connection questions.
As an educator, we believe that the best way to generate these questions are to have the students develop and collect them in some type of container. There are some teachers, especially at the high school level, that are more comfortable just having the TMC questions generated for them by other educators or resources.
- Pose a question(s).
- Set a timer.
- Teacher shares first.
- Pick direction and guide students to respond to the prompted question by a head turn making sure students feel safe to share, but are not required.
90 Second Spark
Science suggests the more positive experiences a person has, the better the person feels. In addition, a recent study found that a positive classroom environment can affect a student's learning and academic growth by as much as 25%. What does that mean? If a teacher can establish a classroom environment where intentional, positive interactions happen on a daily occurrence, then that teacher’s students would be happier AND experience, potentially, 25% more academic success! Enter our 90 Second Positive Spark Plan, a plan that allows for teachers to create authentic and genuine positive interactions for them and their students in the first 90 seconds of class. The smallest spark of positivity can change the way your students learn. Let’s get ready to spark together!
- Change High Fives to air High Fives
- Change Fist bumps to Air Fist Bumps
- Think about Toe Taps or Elbow touches
- Remove touch from the Spark Menu
- Change out touch for Dance Move
Big Sparks provide a proactive platform for classroom teachers to create an intentional plan for students to begin each class by spending the first 90 seconds of the class interacting with each other in a positive manner, thus creating “Positive Sparks!”
These brief moments of starting the class are not simply checking in with students about their weekend or their day. That question may not elicit a “positive” response. This Spark Plan must direct the interactions of the students and teachers to interact with each other in a positive manner.
- Teacher plays music and happily greets each student that joins online class
- Online class dance party
- Post a meme or gif to boost energy before the class starts online.
- Post motivational video or quote within online platform.
- When the teacher calls a student’s name on their virtual screen--they will play 10 seconds of their favorite song. (the teacher explaining expectations such as a clean version of the song).
Emotions are real. Emotions are what make us human. Emotions color how we interpret and interact with the world around us. There is a lot to be said about emotions… so why is it so difficult to talk about them? Some psychologists suggest humans possess 27 unique emotions, while others debate that there are considerably more or less. One thing is for certain, if educators can help students recognize, understand, and label their emotions correctly, students will experience greater success in expressing emotions appropriately. Our Pulse Meter is an emotional inventory instrument that helps students build greater self-awareness and strengthen their emotional vocabulary, ultimately gaining great emotional regulation. When students have a pulse on their emotions, educating them becomes much more manageable.
A tool to check in on how your students are feeling emotionally:
Fist to 5: each student holds up their answer on the check-in with the teacher.
Post a gif or meme of their emotion.
Introduce Thumbs Up Thumbs Down for Check-In.
Have students post their emotions using weather based emoji on how they feel.
Students select a color, emoji, etc. for their background, representing how the student is feeling.
Rules run classrooms, and rules were meant to be broken! However, when a rule is broken in the classroom our traditional path to accountability is to identify: what rule was broken, who broke it, and what consequence needs to be assigned. What if there was another way to greater accountability? Let us introduce to you the Treatment Agreement. The Treatment Agreement is a foundational component of Relational Practices that focuses on how we treat one another in the classroom, instead of focusing on rules. This is a “game changer” in classroom management. Students and teachers collaborate to establish classroom-wide norms focused on how we are going to treat one another versus rule one another. Our intentional, decision-sharing process allows for both student and teacher voices to be captured creating a learning environment in which everyone has a say in how they want to be treated.
- Modify creation of TA... skip small group discussions and build entirely through whole-group discussion
- Create small/individual version of the classroom TA for each student to have on their desk or inside of their folder/binders. The teacher will continue to use the classroom posted TA but will have each student refer to their personal TA when refocusing their behavior.
- Each student has a digital version of their Treatment Agreement that they can access on their personal device.
- When TA is being reviewed only one student at a time goes up to review Treatment Agreement.
- TA stays the same just making sure everyone is following CDC guidelines.
- Post Treatment Agreement on Teacher home screen to review once per week.
- Send Weekly Relationship Goal in weekly communication with students to remind all of the focus agreement for the week.
- Teacher changes her screen name to reflect the weekly Relationship Goal.
- The teacher takes a picture of the TA created by the class and shares their screen with everyone in the virtual classroom. As the students are viewing the screen, the teacher will review the TA and discuss a weekly goal and once it has been determined...the goal could be posted in the chat.
- Add Treatment Agreement to Google Classroom.
When it comes to building and sustaining relationships in the classroom, there is not a more powerful tool in an educator’s connection tool kit than our Get to Know You (GTKY) Circles. Whether you are looking for a fun, interactive way for you and your students to discover facts you all have in common, or wanting to get to know your students on a deeper level, GTKY Circles is the tool for you. Designed for educators by educators, our GTKY Circles provide you with the components necessary to bring structure and safety into your sharing space allowing for everyone to discover their voice, as well as one another, in a healthy and respectful manner. Powerful connections and classroom community could be only one circle away!