No matter what grade you teach, starting a conversation with students can be exciting and challenging. Some love to talk while others are slow to open up. With Along, you can connect with students one-on-one and get to know them at the pace that works best for them. Along’s technology fits right into how students prefer to communicate, whether that’s video responses, audio reflections, or text messages. With National Mentoring Day taking place on October 27, now is the perfect time to tap into the power of one-one-one teacher-student connections. Along will allow you to gain insights about your students so you can support and inspire them individually, no matter their preferred communication style
So, where do you begin? While there’s no wrong way to use Along (seriously, pick any question and start the conversation!), we’ve got some helpful ideas to get going:
Get to know your students
With a new crop of students, sometimes it’s best to start with the basics. Talk about what they like to do and the kinds of things they value. Open up yourself and let them know a little about what you like to do outside of the classroom. These foundational questions can give them a chance to warm up and give you a sense of who they are.
1: Tell me about your name. Do you know where it came from? Is there a story behind it?
2: What do you like to do with your family, friends, or others in your life?
3: What is something that you really value? Why do you value it?
Once you have a sense of what your students like, you can start to explore their interests and their goals, both concretely and hypothetically. Looking at interests and goals from multiple angles can help students understand their potential and pinpoint what they want to work towards. Hearing how a teacher has goals they’re still working towards can also show students that learning is a lifelong process and it’s okay to not have it all figured out. Here are some suggested questions about goals you could ask students:
1: A spark is a talent or interest that brings joy to a person’s life. What is your spark? Why do you love doing it?
2: What is a long-term goal you are working towards, or would like to be working towards?
3: If you could explore a new topic just for the fun of it, what would it be? Why would you choose this topic?
Understand students as learners
The research has shown that when we know students, they learn better. Ever find yourself wondering how exactly your students tackle their homework assignments and how you can better support them? Well, try a series of reflections on your schedule to gain insights, moving from individual skills to the student as part of a community. The level of reflection and candidness will likely grow with each question as students better understand themselves as learners. Example questions are:
1: What helps you stay focused when you’re working?
2: What do you do when you get “stuck” or don’t know how to move forward?
3: Who helps you grow academically? What do they do to help you grow?
Remember, there’s no wrong way to use Along, and there’s no right or wrong way of getting the conversation going. Pick whatever path feels right to you. Visit your collections page and start mapping out the reflection questions you want to send and try to stick to a routine. Happy connecting!