Here at Along, we’re all about providing new ways to strengthen teacher-student connections. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. One of the added benefits of using Along is that it also strengthens the relationships that students have with one another. By empowering your students and giving them the tools for stronger relationships, Along sets the stage for building a more connected classroom — teacher-to-student and peer-to-peer.
If you want to foster a culture of connection, here are four ways Along can help…
1) Classroom activities
While you know that Along provides check-ins outside of the classroom, did you know the tool also provides ways to connect inside the classroom as well? Our classroom activities are designed to create fun and meaningful experiences for the entire class, provide opportunities for students to practice social skills, and understand their peers in new ways.
For instance, to build bonds between students and help them practice deep listening, we suggest the activity called Participate in “Colorful” Conversations. After passing out multicolored candies (think Skittles or M&Ms), you’ll divide students into small groups and have them answer questions that pair with the color of their candy. It’s a sweet way to encourage students to be open with one another — and to share things at their own comfort level.
2) Reflections about friendships
While students see one another almost every day (virtually or in-person), they may not be thinking deeply about their close friendships. Along provides a safe place for this type of reflection. Here are a few reflection questions to get your students thinking about the role and value of their relationships…
- Who is someone you have a very strong relationship with? How do you know this is a strong relationship?
- Who are the people who matter most to you in your life? How or why do they matter to you?
By asking your students to reflect upon what makes these bonds particularly special, they’ll gain more appreciation for their connections with friends and loved ones. This creates a domino effect in how they move forward with relationships at school.
3) Conversation starters
We’ve quickly (and happily) learned that students enjoy sharing their reflections outside of Along. Even though students are not able to view each other’s responses, they often talk about the weekly prompts with one another. Kayla Matlock, an English Teacher at Thompson Intermediate School in Houston, TX, shared: “Now that [students] use Along, they’ll talk in a group about the reflection questions. Before, they didn’t really know each other, but Along is making them more of a family.”
Not only are students sharing their reflections with one another, but they’re also boosting their social skills. When you check in with Along, you’re modelling how to start a conversation and how to listen to what someone else is saying. In turn, students take this knowledge and apply it to their daily interactions. That’s a win-win.
4) Space to share fun
As we all know, there’s more to school than grades, quizzes and lesson plans. Along encourages the other side — the social side — to shine. Silly stories, hallway banter, semester-long jokes…these things play a very important role in an education.
This is why Along makes room for students to share their non-academic lives, whether that’s a tangent about weekend plans or a play-by-play of their last soccer game. By sharing these stories, students feel more comfortable bringing their most authentic selves to class. Creating a classroom that welcomes individuality is the best way to teach in an environment that feels safe and supportive.
When students and teachers connect with one another, the positive outcomes are endless. Students become more focused, are more active participants, and listen better when they’re comfortable in the classroom. In short, this culture of connection creates a positive experience for everyone.
There’s no reason to wait to build more connections. Check out the Along Content Library now to start checking in.