Back to school is an exciting time! Back to school during a pandemic where we are teaching 100% online is exciting, but in a completely different way!
As we head back to school, I am trying to find as many ways to connect with my students and build community in the online space. We have already done our Getting to Know You Survey and our Video Chat Digital Citizenship lesson. I will continue to do some fun class team building games during our synchronous class meetings too.
Creating a Community Quilt
My friend Megan Rowen does an amazing getting-to-know-you activity with her students every year called the Community Quilt. Each student makes a square that represents their interests, hobbies, personality, family, and friends (see our examples here). She hangs up each square on the all–it’s an amazing collage of the students in each class. She leaves it up all year as a reminder that each person makes up a unique and important part of the whole.
As we were planning for this year, Megan mentioned she wanted to continue to do that assignment, but she wasn’t sure how to continue it for the online space. That’s where my nerd brain went to work and suggested we turn the quilt into a Google Classroom banner image. In the past, I’ve taken a class photo and uploaded that as our header image–this is a fun alternative where all students are represented! Megan agreed and I set to work making the templates and instructions.
Here’s how it works: (watch this video)
- Post the Community Quilt assignment on Google Classroom so each student gets their own copy.
- After all quilt squares are turned in, open each assignment to slide 2, then File > Download > JPG or PNG.
- Open the Google Classroom banner template and upload all the quilt square images to the Google Draw. Arrange the squares within the banner and customize the welcome text.
- Download the completed quilt: File > Download > JPG.
- In Google Classroom, open the class period to the Stream. On the bottom right corner of the banner image, click “Upload Photo” and select your classroom quilt!
Not using Google Classroom? Consider having students post their quilt square to Padlet!
In our online space, any little thing we can do to make our classroom feel like a shared community space is important!