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Building online relationships

  • 1.  Building online relationships

    Posted 09-10-2020 07:03 AM
    Good day.

    I am a kindergarten teacher teaching virtually on Zoom. I was hoping someone could share strategies to get students communicating with each other and building friendships while online. I've tried to initiate conversations, role play, puppet play, etc in small breakout rooms to no avail. They seem to just stare at each other as if they are watching them in a movie.
    Help?

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    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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  • 2.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 08:59 AM

    Kathleen:

    As fortunate as we are to have Zoom to work with, it's not easy for young children to make connections through the screen in "class".  Have you tried asking fun questions?  In staff meetings we've used this:https://checkin.daresay.io
    If you click on the "Filters" it gives you the choice of questions that are reflective, creative, or practical.  Some questions are at or can be adapted to Kindergarten level.  Maybe if you started with a question check-in and had a question check-in a couple of more times during class it would spark conversation.
    You've always had a hard job; now it's even more challenging.  And so challenging for the kids, too.  I feel for everyone.  



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    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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  • 3.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 02:36 PM
    Thank you so much.
    I'll try that link and see how it goes.

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    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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  • 4.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-13-2020 01:18 PM
    Thank you for that great resource!

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    Lee Ann Mowers
    Illinois AEYC & UnityPoint Child Care Center
    Germantwn Hls IL
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  • 5.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-14-2020 09:43 AM
    Thanks for this resource, https://checkin.daresay.io, I can adapt it for my caregiver development program. I especially like the way the prompts are divided into categories: reflective, creative, or practical. This helps me to think about the purpose of the day's prompt.

    One further thought about developing relationships via zoom or other remote platforms: While I think younger children are very difficult to reach remotely, and they may not have the technical skills needed to navigate this environment, I was stuck one day when my third grade, cyber schooled neighbor came bounding up the alley to tell me she had made a new friend! The way she spoke about her relationship sounded exactly like a "real" friend, so I questioned her about how this all happened. The teacher had arranged a (remote) field trip to the zoo (San Diego, I believe) and she ended up in a small group (like a breakout room) with a child she didn't know. What was fun for her was choice: They "ran" from place to place. So when she wanted to see the zebras, they went (clicked) there, when her friend wanted to see otters, they went there. I do not know the technicalities behind setting up this situation, but I observed the intensity of real engagement, as well as the excitement over the trip to the zoo.

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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 6.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 02:27 PM
    Do you think they are silent because they do not really know each other yet? You might ask them to bring with them to the Zoom class something that is important to them to share. Perhaps that would help them open up. You could also start with a children's book about making friends. You could ask them to draw pictures of their families or bring photos to share with each other. you could start by sharing about yourself - something important to you, something you love to do, photos of your family and tell a little story about yourself.

    The situation now is very difficult.

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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 7.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 02:33 PM
    Thank you. It could be. I'll give it more time.

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    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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  • 8.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 04:18 PM
    I agree, this is a tough one. What place does it have in a play-based program?

    I keep hoping that NAEYC will come out with a position statement on whether Zoom meetings/lessons are appropriate for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. Nothing about it seems developmentally appropriate.

    Sorry, no suggestions....just more questions!

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    Diane Vujnich
    Junior Kindergarten Teacher
    Rossman School
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 9.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 07:08 PM
    Hi,
    You might consider doing play date type activities with just two children to start with. Invite them to bring a special toy to share with their friend. You could provide some sentence stems to get the conversation started such as "My toy can..." or "I got this toy from..."  You could even get some concept development going by asking students to compare their toys ( size, kind of play, numbers of parts).
    Talking with parents might give you some ideas for who to pair up initially by looking for children that may have gone to the same preschool or live near to each other.

    One teacher I work with signs on at least 15 minutes before class and uses this time as a sort of virtual recess to just casually chat with students as they sign on. She is finding that this is helping her build relationships and get children more comfortable talking to her and to each other

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    Janis Arnerich
    New Teacher Center
    Danville CA
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  • 10.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-11-2020 09:41 PM
    Those sound like good ideas.
    Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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  • 11.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-12-2020 07:00 AM
    Hi, we are a preschool with 3-5 year olds and ran a robust online program last spring and if needed, will do again it school year. We did many of these things: invited children to bring a favorite stuffed friend, introduce their pet, share a picture or a project, introduce a sibling. We had great luck with lunch bunch where we all sat together virtually and shared stories and sometimes guided conversation as we ate our sandwiches. Families really wanted the social interactions for their children, especially those who were only children. We did encourage them to create playdates with each other and that worked well for many children. One time I got a box of animal postcards from Amazon and mailed each child a card with animal facts. Those cards came to our Zoom meetings clutched in their hands - they loved getting mail! We will be encouraging pen pals in the classes should we need to close again. Hope some of these ideas help -

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    Abigail Marsters
    Executive Director
    The Sharon Cooperative School
    Sharon MA
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  • 12.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-12-2020 07:34 AM
    Great ideas! Thank you for sharing.

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    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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  • 13.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-12-2020 01:27 PM
    Hi, Kathleen.

    There have been wonderful ideas from all the others. I wonder if your class is new to your setting versus children continuing from preschool to kindergarten.
    This will make a big difference in getting them to communicate with each other.
    Another idea is to make a graph of the children's names. Do this there in their presence.  Get a long piece of paper. Across the bottom put in the numbers from 3 to 10 or 11 depending on the length of names. Along the side of the graph put in the numbers from 1 to ______. These will be for how many children have names of a certain length. After the graph is made ask children to find their name. Then ask if they can read any of the other names. Then ask them to tell something about himself or herself to that child.
    Good luck!


    Marie Kielty
    NAEYC Kindergarten Interest Forum facilitator

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    Marie Kielty
    Illinois AEYC Board
    Chicago, IL
    Early Math Consulant
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  • 14.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-13-2020 08:51 AM
    I love these ideas.  Do you mind if I post them on my facebook?   https://www.facebook.com/playandarttherapy/  (Reggio  Inspired Expressive Arts Therapy)

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    Connie Gretsch
    Director
    Umbrella Tree Therapies
    Madison TN
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  • 15.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-13-2020 09:12 AM
    Sure, happy to have my school referenced as well - sharoncoop.org. Thank you!

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    Abigail Marsters
    Executive Director
    The Sharon Cooperative School
    Sharon MA
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  • 16.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-13-2020 12:35 PM
    Abigail,
    These are great.
    Thank you,

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    Betty Flint
    Substitute Teacher
    Panama Buena Vista Unified School District
    Bakersfield CA
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  • 17.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-17-2020 01:08 AM
    I'm still working on getting the kids to interact but one idea that works for my kids is to ask the parents to purchase a snack of the day for three of our four days. I give them the list  for the entire month. This week we are eating P sounds: pickles, pretzels and pop tarts. Of course the pickles were not popular. But we got some real conversation going! Also I got the idea about talking to the children for the first ten minutes before class starts from a video I watched from another school. So good to be able to say hello and check in with each child.

    Thank you for the link to questions. I am definitely going to use that! Good discussion!

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    Sherrie Crandal
    Maricopa Unified School District
    Sun Lakes AZ
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  • 18.  RE: Building online relationships

    Posted 09-17-2020 06:43 AM
    Thank you for the suggestions!

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    Kathleen Herrington
    Kindergarten Teacher
    GIA
    Whitsett, NC
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