Archive for March 5th, 2021



March 5, 2021


We all know how important relationships are in education, especially the ones that we form with our students. Probably the most challenging part of ‘schooling away from school’ last spring was how to maintain and continue building relationships. Social Emotional Learning has been key to understanding the challenges of our learners. That term has moved to the center of educational conversations in the last several months.

Not only is the teacher-to-student relationship important but so is the student-to-student relationship. As the work at my school evolved last spring we brainstormed ways that we could bring learners together so they’d have that social component at the same time that they were learning. We considered how we do that ‘IN’ school and ways to adapt that. We started by gathering first thing in the morning by zoom for ‘breakfast club’ which lasted for about 15 minutes. This helped all of us with a routine and for those that need that ‘social time’ they had it with all of their classmates. They used the chat box and some days started with one ‘word’ to describe how they were feeling. No judgement, no feedback was provided, just a moment to share one word. Some days we started with it and sometimes we said one word before we signed off for the day. During the day each learner had a short time with one teacher for instruction. The piece that was missing was the collaborative learning.

Edutopia published THIS ARTICLE called 7 Ways to Maintain Relationships During Your School Closure written by Sarah Gonser. 

We learned enormously from the situation that we were all suddenly thrown into last March. Our goal this year was to take what we had learned and build and expand on it. This year we have put small group instruction and collaborative learning at the heart. Learners are exchanging ideas, learning from each other and building on their knowledge together. We utilize technology tools more effectively at the same time we’re mindful that the human connection is critical. Is it perfect? No, but we’re always tweaking and learning from each other as well as from the students. Watching, listening, and learning from them is always at the heart. 

The Maine Department of Education hired Kellie Bailey to develop Social Emotional Learning tools and opportunities to help support the field. You can access their tools and information for trainings at THIS LINK

Most importantly for teachers and students is that we are mindful of the continuous shift. We need to reach out to others and remember we are not alone. We’re all in this together!

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