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Building Student Relationships through Online Learning!

classroom management edtech flipgrid in-person teaching online education online learning tech in the classroom tech tips Jun 19, 2020

Last summer, I went to an online learning conference through the Minnesota Department of Education and had the awesome opportunity to be a presenter! I did my presentation on forming relationships in the online environment.

I know it can be tough, but I promise it is not impossible! So, here are my tips for creating and keeping relationships with students going strong.

1.Put yourself in your teaching!

I use myself as an example as much as possible. Some students and I were talking about fear and thrill seeking and I told them about how I am deathly afraid of roller coasters. I seek thrills in other ways and my thrill seeking is a bit less dangerous than other people’s thrill seeking.

I also try to include pictures of me when they relate to the content.

This is just a label and I use pictures to help students visually see the difference in the different weeks. I used these pictures for our Romeo and Juliet unit and you can bet the first thing they asked was why I was touching Juliet’s chest and did I really go there!

2. Ask for their opinions

Beyond just having discussions and things in class, seriously ask their opinion of your teaching. I use surveys regularly to ask honest questions of my students. I then take their feedback to heart and let them know that I read their suggestions and am working to change.

It may be hard to hear the answers to some questions, but it is important feedback. 1 student said I “Yell too much”. I get that. So I informed the class that I am going to work on my voice level just as much as they do.

Here is an example of a survey I send out and the results that I got.

My survey

My Survey Results

3. Flipgrid!

I know I may sound like a broken record that I am talking about Flipgrid AGAIN, but seriously it is such an amazing tool!

Not only can the students express themselves, see each other, and talk to each other, the teacher can too!

This is my reply to a student who did their introduction Flipgrid! I love how they can learn about each other and I can learn about them and they can learn about me!

If you want to learn more about Flipgrid, check out my blog post here on getting started and my other one here about using it with shy students.

4. Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself!

This is one of my favorite things about being a teacher. I am a goof ball and middle schoolers are goof balls so it works out great!

At my school, Cyber Village Academy, I am known as Mama Eggs or just Mama. I have had students tell me regularly that I am their favorite teacher. I have also had some say that I am their favorite, but that I scare them a little. I joke that this is exactly where I want to be and that that is called respect.

We also joke that I am like the Hulk. You know, “You won’t like me when I’m angry.” I don’t take offense to this. We joke and laugh about the way that I run my classroom. I actually have made a fun assignment out of it where students make memes about language arts class and, many times, the memes are making fun of me and the way I do classroom management or themselves as a class.

5. Get Personal

This first part may be obvious, but try hard to know them as much as possible and take the time to get to know them

Share with them about what is going on with you. I had a bad class period with my 7th grade and then my 6th grade walks in. I didn’t want to bring that frustration and anger to that class as they aren’t the ones who caused it, so I told them what was going on and we decided to do a quiet minute and some deep breathing as a class.

In an online environment, you can do the same thing. Let them know you are stressed and overwhelmed and you don’t know if the Kahoot is going to work the way you want it too.

This might also mean that you take some extra time to video chat with a student. There is no better way to grow a relationship with a student than some one-on-one time.

Don’t shy away from spending that 10 minutes on a call with them to help them understand something. I know we are all busy, but that time will do wonders for your relationship with that student!

For help planning your online lessons so that you can form those relationships with your students, check out my Lesson Design Email Challenge by clicking the image below!