Building Classroom Community with Digital Tools

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Building a positive classroom community and getting to know your students is crucial at the beginning of every new school year. This research-based practice contributes to good classroom management, student engagement, and positive student behaviors and interactions.

As you think about classroom community activities that you will do at the beginning of this year, consider using some instructional technology tools to make the activity fun and engaging! Make the activity collaborative by allowing students to comment on or like their peers' posts or slides. Embed digital citizenship skills by reminding students to respectfully comment to their classmates. And don't forget to do one yourself so your students can get to know you, too! Here are a few digital ideas for building classroom community:

Using Seesaw to Build Community

For younger students, have them introduce themselves in Seesaw. They can take a selfie within the app and then use the drawing, recording, and/or labeling tools to tell about themselves. Explore the class feed as a group or individually to learn more about their classmates. 

For more ideas on using Seesaw to build community, check out this PD in Your PJs: Community Building To Support Learners. And click the picture below to get a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers account.

Collaborative Google Slides Deck

For students familiar with GSuite, use a collaborative Google Slides deck for your students to introduce themselves. Students can each have a slide to share their name, some interesting things about themselves, and a picture. When you share it in Google Classroom you will attach the Slides presentation as “Students can edit.” See the links below for access to Google Slides templates you can easily adapt for your class. Pick the one that best matches your students' (or your) comfort level.

Interested in making your own Google Slides template? Click HERE to read Alice Keeler's blog post that provides directions for creating your own template. 

Using digital tools for community-building activities is a fun way for everyone in the class to get to know each other while practicing and applying their knowledge of technology tools and skills. If you are interested in learning more about this engaging practice, check out this article from Common Sense Education: Use Technology to Create a Positive Classroom Culture. And please share your ideas for using digital tools to build community in your classroom.

***Update: I'm still working on the 17 Things I want to Try in 2017. In addition to the few I've featured so far, I have also used Typorama (no. 11) more for adding images to my blog. When school starts, I'm looking to use it more for presentations for students and teachers. I may also use it to help make my videos more interesting. I recently used WeVideo to create a video introducing parents to the new Seesaw Family app. While my original goal was to make videos for my students (no. 16), I thought that this was as good a place to start. Stay tuned as I continue to whittle away at my list!***


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