How Can I Connect with Students and Build a Classroom Community From a Distance?

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Many once-in-a-generation challenges await educators this fall. With that in mind, the blog will be a little different this summer. It will still have a writing instruction focus, but it will also focus a great deal on how we might continue to have relationship-based, workshop-style instruction in classrooms that, if COVID cases aren’t significantly lowered, are looking increasingly likely to be somewhat or completely distanced or socially distanced for those of us in the United States.

Much of this thinking will be a lot more conceptual than I normally publish. This is because most of us have so little idea of what our classes will be like beyond the fact that they will undoubtedly be very, very different. Still, even though the horizon is filled with question marks, there exist many established voices and best practices that can potentially be of use in lighting our way down the twisting and uncertain paths ahead.

The organizational structure for the blog this summer is that each week I will pose a question that I and the writing teachers I know are grappling with and then go in search of answers to that question. Also, if you have questions you are struggling with, I encourage you to send them to me here.

This week’s question is based around something I’ve been thinking about since school ended, which is that the pandemic hit near the end of the school year, at a time when most teachers have firmly established relationships with their students. The same will not be true this upcoming year–many of us will have entirely new students–which has me wondering and worrying about the following:

How can I Connect with students and Build a CLassroom community if most or all learning is Distanced or Socially Distanced?

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