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Building relationships with scholars in the classroom

Eyes tracking the teacher. Hands eagerly raised when questions are asked. Students leading activities. Those are the things you’ll notice immediately when you step onto the Alpha: Cornerstone campus. It is a place that fosters joy, relationships, and growth. 

We asked our teachers how they are building relationships in their classrooms and the common themes are positive communication, team building, encouragement, and opportunities to learn about each other. 

“I am building and encouraging relationships in my theatre classes via ensemble and improvisation work. Scholars have to work with each other, make a decision, and then execute their idea for their peers in only 5 minutes. We also have established the rules of this work which are: Say “yes, and” to each other’s ideas, be safe, and do something new. Similarly, we are working on giving constructive criticism: Why do you this this? Provide evidence for your opinion. What’s one thing they are doing well? How could they adjust to make their work more clear?” – Halli 

“My favorite way to build strong relationships with students is through one on one time! I love having lunch with a different group of students each week. Students seem very motivated by this and it allows me to make stronger connections with them.”  – Hilary

“So far this year, Jessica and I have built relationships with our scholars and families by doing different ice-breakers and team building activities the first two weeks. Since then we have sent home parent questionnaire forms, and used an app to communicate with families. We check in with our scholars in the morning to see how they are doing.” – Candace

“I’m building relationships in the classroom by saying good morning and goodbye to every student every day, including using fist bumps and high fives.” – Pierce

“I am building relationships in my classroom by giving students opportunities to discuss their lives and interests in our morning meetings, do now prompts and connections to our texts. I also share about myself during these times.” – Herman

“I like to write small sticky notes with compliments on them. “Great job participating today!” “Thank you for letting me share your work!” Things like that. 🙂 I also just really enjoy talking to them so 1:1 or small group conversations are always fun!” – Nicole

“In my classroom, one thing I am doing to build relationships is shoutout Fridays. Each Friday morning, my scholars are given a post-it and are asked to recognize one of their classmates for either one of Alpha’s Leadership Principles or 7 Habits. They then personally deliver this note to their classmate. Also, when I announce scholar of the week at the end of the day, they are all responsible for choosing which principle or habit the winner has shown most, and back it up with examples from the week.” – Tori

“I am building relationships with my students during class breaks, joining them during their lunch and recess and also spending some down time with them in the afternoons at dismissal. I have also made time to “chat” with my students about our class culture so that they know how important it is and also shared personal (relevant) stories.” – Josie