Saturday, September 9 • 1:00pm - 1:55pm

Building Community & Connecting with your Students

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Let's Talk Learning and Relationships

The word "Yet" creates a pathway into the Future.

Kids won't learn from people they don't like. - Rita Pierson

Building a trustworthy brand

Must be Unique

Must be Reliable

Must be Consistent

Building a classroom community brand is an investment - you will gain the time back in March! To make this investment, you will have to adjust your pacing, this is not a one and done.

What is Unique about your classroom?

Everyone can tell the difference between a home cooked meal and a TV Dinner.

The answer is you.

Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability, that it is from only this place where we can find joy and allow relationships to develop. It vulnerability that allows us to invest in a relationship that may not work out, that allows us to say I love you first.

Then, to build relationships, we must craft our opportunities to be vulnerable, to be out of control for a moment, to allow ourselves to laugh, and feel, and be spontaneous:

Ice Breakers

The icebreakers below create entry points for relationships with amongst students. These exercises increases trust, which lowers affective filters (Krashen), increasing opportunities at learning. Furthermore, these activities address Maslow's Psychological Needs, allowing for a pathway to learning. Some secondary benefits include improved small group performance and partner work.

Ice Breakers & Team Builders:

Working in Pairs Groups of 4,6,8 or Whole Group

- Fast Fingers - Entorage

- Mirrors - People, Tigers & Traps

- Tell one Thing - Count Off

Community Meeting

You have got to have skin in the game - you must have something to lose

For a brand to be reliable, we must trust that it won't let you down.

It is not enough to know how your community is feeling, we must create a sense that it is ok to feel.

The Check-in and the Easy Win


High five, handshake or hug.

Tap the feeling chart.

Collecting Data

Easy Win

Find anything to compliment

- Shoes, backpack & Hair are pretty safe

- Anything you notice that is positive

- Remember any accomplishment you've heard or seen recently

- "You know what I heard someone saying about you..."

Triage and Support

To create a reliable relationship, students must know that there will be SOME response to a call for help.


Start with an offer to listen

- "Do you mind if I ask what's got you feeling that way?"

- "Do you want to talk about it while the class is warming up?"

- "Do you want to share?"


Start with an offer to accommodate

- If I am going to call on you, I'll give you a heads up in advance, is that ok?

- We have a quiz today, keep your eye on number three.

A consistent brand means that you will be treated the same way everyday.

Brent's Blog says it all, we start everyday like today is the only day.


Positive Unconditional Regard

It takes incredible vulnerability to offer a relationship everyday when it is not reciprocated, but consistency reveals the truth of a brand.

Consider the Amygdala

Teacher's Amygdala

- Fight or Flight Gland in the Brain

- Fires when it senses Fear, Harm or Hate

- What do adults Fear, Harm or Hate during instruction?

- What is a Brainstem reaction?

- What is different an hour after a Brain Stem event?

Student's Amygdala

- When do student Amygdala fire?

- What events does the student remember clearly?

How to sooth the Amygdala

- Know one their story - assume positive intentions

- Reduce surprises

- Create predictability

- Construct safe methods to take a break




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