How can community building exercises be conducted at school?

We see that sometimes this back-to-school season feels different for educators preparing to meet a brand new cohort of students online as we have seen mostly. As soon as they hear\ that teachers and students in the district would start the fall semester in a 100% distance learning setting, they began to brainstorm how they might create a safe virtual classroom where students feel accepted as well as connected by integrating community-building activities into the instruction as well. We see that the learning management system can be of great help in such a case. We know that by accomplishing group tasks, students learn to listen, trust as well as support each other while developing life skills such as communication and collaboration as they are the skills that can’t be learned from a textbook, interactive or not. We know that learning to get along with peers, for example, isn’t something they can pick up through memorization as well. They can work by dividing the class into teams and presenting them with a problem related to their course material. We see that their team member writes down a solution as well as passes the sheets of paper along to the next team member, who builds upon that idea as well as then passes it along to the rest of the team. We know that the paper is passed around until each team member has added to the original solution as well. We know that when their time is up, a spokesperson can present their ultimate solution to the rest of the group or the class as well. We see that this activity helps develop students’ problem-solving as well as collaboration skills, with learners working towards a common goal. We see that while this team-building game is ideal for art and design students, we see that it can be used in any classroom to get learners out of their comfort zones and allow for team bonding as well. We know that when they divide students into teams of six to eight as well as supply them with newspaper, tape as well as scissors. We see that the participants are given a time limit to design as well as create an item of clothing out of a newspaper, which requires group brainstorming and delegation of tasks. We are aware that they can provide bonus points if somehow it relates to their course material. We see that one person in the group could ‘model’ the finished product when their time is up as well. We see that in this icebreaker, there are small groups of students who imagine they’re stranded on a deserted island as well. We know that this activity can help students build on their leadership skills. We know that after dividing students into teams, they can provide them with a list of items for survival. We see that students must prioritize and rank those items—first on their own, and then as a group as well. We see that not only does this test their problem-solving skills, but it also helps them differentiate between the needs of the individual as well as the needs of the collective at the same time. They can also change up their usual think-pair-share activities by posing an open-ended question to their class and asking students to come up with their best answer as well. Next, we see that they can pair peers up and encourage them to agree on a response as well. We see that they combine two pairs and have a group of four accomplish the same task as well. They can also make sure to continue until half the class goes head-to-head with the other half, as well in a way defending their stance. We know that this way, students benefit from hearing their peers’ perspectives, as well as getting to practise their debate skills which can be a great way to go ahead in the community skills. The lms portals can be a great way to keep the students connected as well. They can also ask them to write down a list of questions about the source material they are viewing or respond to a discussion prompt related to the material to generate conversation as well. These activities are likely to be uplifting as well. 

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