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Get inspired with these teacher stories about using Along

It’s amazing what can happen in a classroom where teacher-student connections come first. When students feel that their teacher understands them, they come to class more willing to learn and to engage.

And when we see that happening, we get excited to share how teachers are doing it! Educators at several schools within the Pasadena Independent School District (PISD) in Texas recently shared with us some of their success stories connecting with their students using Along.

Take a look at these inspiring stories:

Denise Martinez, math teacher, Melillo Middle School
“The second or third time I asked a question, it was, ‘If you could travel to any place, where would it be and why?’ And one of the students created a world that they would like to go to. I would have never expected this student to be that creative. It’s a student that I really have to work with to mentor. Ever since that one question, now they are much more open to talking to me. For some reason that was their interest. It was based off of Harry Potter and changed up a little bit. It was great to see that side of a student that you just wouldn’t get to see. This student was also a bit of a behavior problem, and it also helped because he saw that I had genuine interest in this world that he created and then we talked about it. That was really interesting. He created a currency and told me why. I used the currency he made in a math problem. It really touched him.”

Tyler Oakes, reading teacher, Melillo Middle School
“With this specific age group, they are finding themselves and they are going through lots of hormonal changes. They are trying to figure out who their friends are. This is their first time traveling classes. Part of the struggle is they have a lot of adults they are introduced to when they get to middle school and they are struggling. How do they work through that? And so, you meet them where they are and progress from there. You want kids to have somebody on campus who they touch base with. I remember a question in Along that I asked: ‘What is something you feel like you’re “too old” to do, but still enjoy?’ That was a big one because they were very sheepishly responding, but a lot of the stuff they answered, we still do! We still go to parks and we still ride bikes. To hear an adult still does it, oh my gosh. Even at 10, they feel like they’re too old for some things and I’m like, ‘What?’ It helps open up a lot of dialogue.”

Heather Nielson, special education teacher, Thompson Intermediate School
“I really found that with my students, [Along] gives them another tool to use their voice. It helps them connect to me. It helps connect them to the world around them and with everything that’s going on. I think that’s really critical in today’s world where everything is so digital. It gives them a tool to use to have a voice, but also to use those social skills. They really lack those things coming into my classroom. It’s very vital to my classroom. I really like that Along has incorporated that multiple choice aspect because it gives my students a way to respond because they don’t always have an answer. They don’t always have thoughts of their own. They do struggle with that. That’s something that we work on in my class in particular for students who have autism. It gives them a starting point.” 

Melissa Graciano, math teacher, Bondy Intermediate School

“There was one [Along question] where I asked, ‘Is there anything in life you regret and you wish you could go back and apologize?’ I told them [in my answer] about when I was in middle school and there was a girl who used to get on my nerves and I was mean to her. I wish I could go back and apologize. I didn’t know who I was. I tried and I couldn’t find her. When I asked that, a student told me, ‘I didn’t know you had that feeling!’ The students are very tough in class. They try to show that they’re tough in front of their friends. With Along, some of them are a bit more open because they know no one but me will see it.

Nicole Horne-Sherman, leadership teacher, Thompson Intermediate School
“Recently I had a question posed [in Along]. It was, ‘What brings you value? What do you value the most?’” And I remember that question took so much of my time in class that I had to [look at the responses] over the weekend. And I said, I was late in reading it this time because you sent me so much. And they did. We reflected on the question in the next class. And we just talked about it and they loved it. If they like the question and it’s from their heart, they’re feeling it, they’re going to engage.”

Are you feeling inspired yet? We continue to highlight school leaders and educators who are finding ongoing value using Along to help them connect with their students—right here on our blog. For example, school leader Nicole Fisher shared how she is working with her whole team to prioritize relationships at her campus, where students only attend for one year. And educator Ashley Snider uses Along to help her juniors and seniors prep for life after high school.

There are so many ways to use Along to spark connections, in your academic classrooms or advisory time. Check out 5 ideas for how and when to use Along in your classroom and 5 ways to use Along in your academic classroom for even more tips and tricks!

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