As the second week of “distance learning” begins, many of us are slowly adjusting to this new lifestyle of staying home and keeping ‘social distance’. Everyone is being challenged by all of the restrictions and coping in a different way. During this time, it is necessary for us to be patient with ourselves and those we are close to. More than ever, we need to keep those that we trust and care about close by connecting with them.
For individuals who are social and out going, connecting with others through media platforms such as Zoom or Webex is easier to adjust to, but for those of us who are introverts or on the shy side, this may not be as easy and could result in feelings of extreme sadness and loneliness.
Now imagine our middle school students who are INTERNALIZERS. Students who experience internalizing behaviors typically do so in silence; making it difficult for others to offer assistance. Consequently, these students suffer alone and in silence. Internalizing behaviors are associated with problematic internal feelings, such as anxiety, sadness, fearfulness, and oversensitivity. Can you imagine what they may be feeling during this time?
It is important for us to be mindful of our students who were identified as internalizers on the screeners that were completed by each team. Are these students showing up to your Webex meetings? Are they completing assignments? Are they connecting with anyone?
Here are some activities you can do to connect with all students, but specifically with our internalizers in mind.
Distance Learning Check-In (click)
We know the importance of checking in with our students on a daily basis to get a quick sense of how they’re feeling that day. A simple Google form can help you accomplish that objective remotely. Be sure to respond in a timely manner if a student requests assistance and communicate with your team and counselor.
Virtual Postcards (click)
When we are away from our students, we still need to make sure we are sending them reminders that they are missed, reassure them that we still think about them, and encourage them! Here, you will find a few sample “postcards” that you can add messages to and send to your students via e-mail or “snail” mail.
Rose & Thorn Class Opening Activity
If you choose to hold a Webex homeroom or class, starting each class with an opening activity would provide structure for students. In this quick activity, students participate by sharing roses—something positive going on, and thorns, which are negative, or at least less than positive.
Each student states one rose and one thorn and of course the teacher also participates. The whole process takes five minutes or less. Yet though this fast activity may seem simple, the rose and thorn check-in will allow students to be heard and also hear that there are others who may be feeling similar.
Our school vision states that Kaimuki Middle School is “a place with heart”. Let’s do our best to let ALL students know that we care about them and thinking about them. You never know how the smallest act could impact a student in such a big way.