Relationships matter. Period. Building positive relationships in the beginning of the year is important because the more we know about our students, the more likely we are to reach our shared goals. Positive relationships foster:
Trust between students and teachers
increased student motivation and engagement
An asset-based culture, focused on the power of “WE”
Better understanding of what students need, leading to improved academic achievement
There are lots of ways to build relationships—the important thing is to do it regularly and to use the intel you get from the experiences to foster relationships across a learning community and to fuel instructional decisions.
Give students a snack size M & M [or use Skittles, gummy Lifesavers, or jelly beans]. Note: if you prefer to not distribute candy, you can substitute bingo chips or colored slips of paper.
Ask students to sort their treat by color.
Project the image below onto a screen or distribute the note catcher Get to Know You: Colors to each student. Reminder: Change the color choices depending on what treat/item you choose.
For each color, students will share the number of answers based on the number of items. For example, if a student has 4 red M & M’s, they will share 4 things that they label as a favorite such as:
My favorite ice cream is chocolate
My favorite color is blue.
My favorite team is the NY Yankees.
My favorite day of the week is Saturday.
Give students time to jot down their answers.
Divide students into trios and give them an opportunity to share. This is a great opportunity to launch into small, flexible groups. #whatareyougroupingfor
As students share, listen in [or kidwatch] so that you get to know students as they are getting to know their peers.
If students are sharing and it leads to some conversation—embrace it. The more kiddos know about one another, the more they can learn with and from one another.
If you are an Administrator or Instructional Coach—this works for building relationships with and among colleagues, too. This is great for PLC’s, Team Meetings, Staff Meetings, PD/Workshops, etc. Change up the questions to fit your interests or needs.