Online Class Community Builder: What do we have in common?

I started teaching online last week due to the pandemic. Community building in an online class can be challenging and requires new tools. This is one tool I created for students to find out what they have in common and what is unique about them. It allowed students to get to know each other, to have clear tasks and to discuss with everyone in order to find the items that truly are common with all four students and what is truly unique to them in that group.

In our district online training, I learned about an activity called “What do we have in common? How am I unique?” and decided to do this activity in breakout groups on zoom. To help facilitate, I created a Google Slides graphic organizer. The sample slide is one I made for my family. You should change this to your family or friends to give a personal connection with students. Make sure you “make a copy” for your own files to have editing rights.

How to use this online community builder

  1. Upload the Google Slides file into Google Classroom or another LMS. Give students viewing access for now.
  2. Go over the directions (on slide 2). Discuss the sample slide.
  3. Break students into groups in Zoom or Google Meet (you need an extension to do this on Google Meet). I let Zoom assign randomly since I do not know my students well enough to break them into groups myself.
  4. Let students discuss for at least 5-10 minutes. Check on them in the breakout rooms to make sure they are discussing. Some are shy especially at the beginning of the year.
  5. Change setting on the Google Slide to “editing” for students and instruct them to fill in the slide that corresponds to their breakout group number.
  6. When all students have finished, change the sharing settings to “view only” so that students do not change other people’s responses.
  7. Go into the breakout rooms to check on students and connect with them by asking them questions about their “unique” items or the items they have in common.

This activity takes about 20-30 minutes depending on the age and level of your students.

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