#PearDeckChat: Building Better Communities

Illustration by Kate Moore

Yesterday our friend, Kyle Pace, guest hosted our monthly #PearDeckChat in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. The discussion was so rich (no surprise there) that we wanted to make sure nobody missed the highlights, even if you missed the chat!

Read on to see how educators just like you are building community with their students, showing appreciation to their fellow teachers and more!

Thinking back to when you were in school, what were specific ways your teachers made you feel a sense of belonging and that you were important?

Nathan Perry @n8than_thomas
One of my high school teachers allowed me to create my own semester-long assignment which I eventually submitted and displayed to the school board.

Kristin Kochheiser @mrskochheiser
Ts often knew something that I enjoyed doing outside of school and asked me about it (music, writing, traveling, etc). They also knew how to say and spell my name…a little thing. :)

Tori Cameron @STEAMuptheClsrm
Morning meeting, talking to me about my interests, coming to birthday parties and sporting games!


What are your favorite ways to build community with your students?

Kara Guiff @KaraGuiff
Give Ss a part of the room to decorate with what they like — posters, etc. (school appropriate of course)!

Amber Marshall @Mrs_Marshall261
About me presentations that they present to the class. They always get excited when they see someone who has something in common with them.

Christine Lion-Bailey @clionbailey
We build community with our students by providing them with opportunities to have voice and choice in their school experience. It is through this that students develop pride both in themselves and their peers.


What are ways education systems can better meet the needs of the whole child?

Andrea Cook @acooktweet
Take care of Maslow’s by creating a relationship with the child, the family, and the community the child lives in. Home visits is a good start.

Angela Dandridge @4XSoccermom
We could work on meeting them where they are and helping them get to their next level. Positive home visits, building family connections, helping families understand how they can jump in and lend a hand in schools or at home.

Kristin Kochheiser @mrskochheiser
Start with the student first; stop evaluating based on test scores and begin celebrating student growth through authentic work and student expression. Help Ss become innovators, creators. Promote student voice & choice.


What kinds of partnership strategies work best in bridging the home/school connection with parents? 

Lindsey Petlak @LindseyPetlak
Recognize that your kiddos are their kiddos & their most precious asset — even if the Ps don’t act that way. Meet Ps where they are & understand reasons they may have fixed mindset scour school. Find a way to connect with them, no matter how difficult.

Heather Storey @storeyh21
Transparency. I contact home before big tests or projects, send home study guide keys via email, send an email or call with results of class projects or presentations to celebrate!

Robyn LaTorre @STEMseeker
Having students email their parents/guardians every two weeks (cc’ing you of course) about how they’ve performed, give some goals and some accomplishments, and some things they need to work on

Kyle Anderson @AndersonEdTech
If you do #PBL assessments, having parents come to serve as judges is a great way to get them involved


What about during the summer? Are there things that you all do to bridge that home/school connection then?

Amber Marshall @Mrs_Marshall261
Keeping your Google Classroom open during the summer to have kids post what they are doing, show them what you’re up to, give them challenges, etc.


What is your favorite way to show appreciation to a teacher?

Kara Guiff @KaraGuiff
Offer to make copies for them, offer to help out in their class during my prep, put notes of appreciation on their doors (anonymous).

Eric De La Rosa @EricDe_La_Rosa
We bring in a wellness company and Each teacher gets a 15 minute massage if they wish during their lunch break!

If you enjoyed the highlights from last night’s chat, you can catch up on the whole discussion by searching #PearDeckChat on Twitter. We hope you’ll join us for next month’s edition! To keep up on all the latest chats and giveaways, follow us @PearDeck!