As educators, we are responsible for a lot more than just the education of our students. We are also responsible for the social-emotional development and socialization of our students. In these times of remote learning, it can be challenging to meet these needs. Here are three tips on how to create a sense of community in your Google Classroom. Just because we are apart from our students, doesn’t mean we can’t help them.

1. Google Questions:

Remote learning is difficult for our students. They need an outlet to vent or express their emotions. Creating weekly google questions allows teachers to check in with students’ emotional well being. You can create a template and use the same one each week. (Example questions: Did you feel frustrated this week? How are you feeling? What was something good that happened to you? Is there anything you want me to know?) Students can submit their responses so only the teacher can view their responses. It’s a good way to take the pulse of the class and gives teachers a heads up on students that might need a little extra TLC. I suggest posting the questions on Fridays. This can serve as a weekly reflection and check-in before the weekend begins.

2. Read Alouds:

Twice a week I post videos of myself reading a book. I call it “Lunch with Miss Talbot”. You can record yourself reading a book of your choice, I recommend alternating between fiction and nonfiction, and post the video to your Google Classroom. I created my own YouTube channel to host all of my videos. Just make sure you check the publishers’ website before recording your video. A lot of book companies are allowing you to do these read-alouds if you acknowledge the company in the recording. After I read the book I give shout outs to students for great work on Google Classroom. I tell them that I am making them famous. I also ask them a question that they can respond to in the comment section. Students and parents look forward to watching these videos!

3.Weekly Padlet Question:

Padlet is a great online resource. It allows teachers to create a virtual post-it parking lot. You can come up with a question to ask the class and students post their answers to the question board. Some questions I have asked are what books are you reading, what TV shows have you watched, what is something new you learned how to do. Students can also post photographs to go with their posts. Students can also comment on each others’ posts. It’s a fun, non-academic way to foster a sense of community amongst students.

These are just a few ways you can help create a sense of community in your Google Classroom. Students miss their teachers and classmates. These activities can go a long way showing how much we, as teachers, miss them too and how we can still be there for them even in a remote setting.

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Chrissy Talbot

Chrissy Talbot

Elementary School Teacher

Note: Fresh Ideas for Teaching blog contributors have been compensated for sharing personal teaching experiences on our blog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.