Building relationships

The name of the game in middle school is building relationships. Students learn more from teachers that they feel a connection with.

It’s important to teach standards based content. But it’s more important to teach students. Which is why I include relationship building into my lesson plans.

Every Friday, the normal Bellringer for my middle schoolers is a Group Chat. I call it Face to Face Friday. As each student walks in, I hand them a card with a question on it. Depending on the class size, there might be 4 or 5 different questions – enough for a group of 5-6 students to all get the same question. Questions include “Would you rather…” kinds of questions as well as more open ended questions. I might purposefully put 2 students together, or purposefully separate 2 students, if my antennae are picking up anything that needs adjusting.

The first thing students must do is find the other people with the same question. If you color coordinate the cards, it’s easier. Then, I set the timer for 3 minutes while they discuss their answers. Finally, each group chooses a reporter to share their answer with the class. One rule I’ve implemented is that no one can be a reporter two weeks in a row. I don’t bother policing that – students do it for me.

As students discuss their questions, we learn a little bit about them. Sure, we learn thing like “Would you rather eat ice cream for every meal or not at all?” but we also learn how they communicate, how they express agreement and disagreement, and how they take turns. We help them navigate working with different students every week. We help them manage developing interpersonal relationships within the confines of a structured activity.

How do you encourage students to build relationships?

Published by JustAddH2OTeacher

Science teacherpreneur

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