Connecting During School Closure

Building Community and Belonging with Care and Connection

Dear Educators,

The prospect of facing school and district closure and the daunting task of preparing to transition to supplemental education in an online environment can feel overwhelming, at best. Here at the SOESD we understand, and we want to support you in answering these questions: How do I foster community and belonging in the face of so much upheaval, and from a screen, no less? Where do I even start?

We hope what we have compiled and curated below is a manageable set of excellent resources to help you foster a caring and connected school community during this time of school closures.


Your SOESD Attendance Team

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A Musical Message for You... You've Got It in You

BANNERS - Got It In You (Lyrics video)
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We Have to Maslow Before We Can Bloom

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs should be next to Bloom’s Taxonomy in every classroom. While Bloom’s evaluates students’ path to mastery of a subject, Maslow circumscribes what students need in order to reach higher levels of understanding.

8 Strategies for Building Belonging Virtually

Virtual belonging building: "Students with a high sense of belonging are happier, healthier, and more engaged learners... and less likely to skip school, abuse substances, have emotional distress, or be involved in fighting or bullying behavior."

Positive Discipline Resources from Dr. Jody McVittie

Dr. Jody McVittie has been opening hearts and minds to a new approach to discipline throughout our region. The resources in this folder are shared with the intent to reach educators and parents to continue that journey through Distance Learning.

Creating Conditions for Care and Connection

Students must Maslow before they can Bloom... this is the foundation of ODE's Distance Learning for All guidance. This new tool is designed to help educators care for and connect to the whole child while considering appropriate learning experiences.

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Building Powerful Partnerships with Families: Webinars

Teachers and families are relying on each other to support our children. This webinar series will help school practitioners partner with families to support learning at home and sustain the growth and development of children during this crisis.

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Building Educator Resiliency: Ricky Robertson

"Educators play a critical role in supporting the social-emotional well-being of their students. However, that responsibility carries with it considerable stress and emotional labor for our teachers.” Ricky offers practical support in this webinar.

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Sources of Strength for Educators and Students

Sources of Strength believes in the power of educators as leaders and as a relationship bridge to students. Educators are humans first. These resources make self-care for educators and their students a strengths-based and manageable priority.

Staying Calm and Reconnecting: For Challenged Parents

An infographic that walks parents through the steps of staying calm, reflecting and reconnecting with their child(ren) during challenging behaviors. It is easy to read, practical and very helpful for all of us during this incredibly stressful time.

Staying Calm and Reconnecting: En Español

The same infographic resource in the above button, available in Spanish.

Trauma Informed Educators Network: Facebook Group

This Facebook Group is by educators, for educators and contains resources and discussions that are geared toward supporting students who are living with trauma as they navigate the education system.

Building Care and Connection: Old School Style

When students and families don't have access to virtual tools, educators can still care for and connect with them in many ways. As a society, we have only recently developed the technology that we depend on so heavily today. However, care and connection have always been a human need... all we have to do is harken back to the times before cell phones and the Internet to find the methods that we relied on to satisfy those needs in the past. (In all communication to students and families, please refer to your district guidelines for keeping educators and students safe. Some new guidelines have been created by OEA and are posted here.)

  • Snail Mail: Everyone loves getting letters in the mail! Write to your students and families, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope so that you can encourage two-way communication. Every age group will enjoy this activity, and they will always be keepsakes of this historic time we are experiencing.
  • Care Calls by ALL: Expanding the phone call team beyond the teachers will also expand the connection and care provided (and received) to everyone involved. Every adult employed by your school can make caring calls home to students and families, and the students would love to hear from their librarian, educational assistant, counselor, custodian, their cafeteria teams and more!
  • Care Calls for Teachers: Our teachers have never been under more stress to accomplish tasks that they are not trained or equipped for professionally or emotionally. They need care calls, too. School counselors reaching out to teachers at this time would be incredibly supportive and appreciated by our overworked and anxious teachers.
  • Sending Personalized Videos: Not all of our students have cell phones, but almost all of their care-givers will. Sending short, personalized videos to a care-giver's phone for students who can't access videos or other resources online will allow them to see and hear from their teacher in a way that will show that they are truly cared for. This can be a special method of connection saved for those students who do not have Internet access at home.
  • Promote Safety, Belonging, and Significance: No matter how you choose to communicate, always prioritizing these feelings at this time is paramount. There are innumerable modes of communication, but knowing that we are loved, heard and that our feelings are valid will go much further than any other lesson we can teach at this time.
  • Translating Caring and Connection for All: There are many translation services that will help educators to connect in many languages through a cellular device. For example, Talking Points, Bloomz, and Remind are all free and highly rated in supporting teachers and families in reducing language barriers through texting.
Social & Emotional Ed: Tips for Educators and Students

CASEL, the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning, has created and curated tips and resources for educators and students contending with these challenging times.

For Teachers: Developing a Sense of Belonging Online

This is an online course and toolkit for teachers who want to learn how to create a sense of belonging for their students in an online environment.

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Self-Regulation: FREE Resource from Dr. Jody McVittie

Sound Discipline is offering their incredible stack of self-regulation cards for FREE during this time of need. Download, print and use them for yourself and your family and online with your students during recorded or live classes and Flipgrids.

Facilitating Online Community Building Circles

This resource is from Resolve and is intended for use over Zoom in order to build community online.

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Decreasing Social Isolation During Physical Distancing: Leveraging Social Media to Stay Connected and Build Belonging

Connecting with Facebook or Instagram Live

Facebook and Instagram Live have been utilized recently and creatively by all kinds of people who are wanting to connect, inspire, and uplift their community through the social distancing or quarantine experience that has become our current reality.

Educators can join in, too! Why would you want to?

  • You can connect with the whole community that follows your account with a few clicks
  • District and school leaders can make announcements and provide updates with a personal touch
  • Interact with your audience by answering their questions live
  • Allow educators to connect with students/families if another method isn't available to them. (If this is your objective, posting a schedule of times that certain educators will be live is helpful so that optimal participation is reached.)
  • Invite your audience to join the video and co-star with you (Instagram)
  • Use in-app features that increase audience participation and fun (see links below this post)
  • Since these platforms are both widely used by students and families, it is already accessible

If your district or school already has a Facebook or Instagram account, accessing the Live feature is just a click away. If you have both accounts, many people live stream from each, using two different devices at the same time (an iPhone for one and a Chromebook for the other, for example).

See the articles below for more information on how to utilize these platforms to continue to connect your students and parents with your school and district community in order to decrease social isolation during social distancing.

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Creating and Nurturing a Culture of Community Virtually: Make it FUN!

Zoom and Google Suite also offer the ability to connect to and see one or more person at a time, with a gaggle of tools that allows the sharing of everything from screens to ideas... but stops short of the sharing of germs.

If your organization already has access to these tools (Zoom is now offering free accounts to all educators!), here are some ideas that others are utilizing in order to stay connected to their students/staffs, beyond teaching lessons:

Spirit Week Style Ideas for Virtual Learning:

  • Show us your pet
  • Wear your favorite school appropriate jammies
  • Wear a school appropriate costume (80's, Super Hero, etc.)

Gathering Beyond the Lesson:

  • Host a virtual lunch break for your students where they can share their favorite school appropriate YouTube videos or TikToks
  • Host a virtual tea party: everyone can show their fun tea cups or baked goods and dress up in tea party attire
  • Host an arts and crafts session and ask your students if they would like to host one, too! (Learning new crafts or hobbies from each other during this time would be a relief to many parents!)
  • Set up breakout rooms in Zoom for students to meet with each other and work together on projects of interest

Nurturing Your Staff:

  • Create an agreed upon time for a "virtual staff room" during which educators can gather together and discuss, collaborate and co-plan... just don't turn it into a staff meeting!
  • Create the opportunity for a "virtual happy hour" so that staff can get together to share in their down time and socialize
  • Use Flipgrid to create topics of interest for staff to discuss asynchronously, allowing them to better get to know each other (see resource below)
Using Flipgrid for Asynchronous Video Collaboration

Flipgrid is a fun and interactive option for teachers who will not be utilizing any of the live options for connection. This is a fabulous tutorial for teachers who have never used it.

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Indigenous Students Connect and Learn Using Facebook

A Facebook page is connecting indigenous students and teachers with online lessons for K-8 students.

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How Do I Talk About Coronavirus with Kids?

A Comic for Youth Exploring the New Coronavirus

This comic has been developed with an equity lens and is appropriate for all ages.

Talking with Youth About Coronavirus: Guidelines

This resource is from the National Association of School Psychologists and is geared toward parents but can be utilized by anyone talking with children about the coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools

It's important that schools share accurate information about coronavirus with all school staff and families, including families of English learners. These resources include multilingual fact sheets and infographics. Updated frequently!

COVID-19 and Homelessness: FAQ

This document was put together by SchoolHouse Connection for schools to know how to better support our McKinney-Vento students during this time of uncertainty.

The Vietnamese Dancer Quang Đăng's Catchy Hand Washing Dance Moves: TikTok Ready!

VŨ ĐIỆU RỬA TAY - GHEN CÔ VY | by Quang Đăng

This page is updated as frequently as changes are happening and answers MANY questions you may have at this time. Check back frequently! If your COVID-19 related questions are not answered here, reach out directly to ODE:

Distance Learning for All in OR: Guidelines/Resources

Guidance from ODE and HOT NEW RESOURCES for teaching online. This page will be updated frequently.

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