Building a Belonging Classroom (A Community of Learners)

Google Doc version (to print or share): Building a Belonging Classroom


To synthesize strategies for creating a remote/hybrid classroom where all learners know they belong.

The estimated time for this activity is 30-45 minutes. 

Stop & Think

Key (T – teacher; SL – school leader; DL – district leader)

In this Edutopia video, Building a Belonging Classroom, the narrators share that one of the most essential needs we have is a need to belong. Though this video was made pre-pandemic in a physical classroom, consider the points that are made. 

  • How might you translate the messages here to a remote/hybrid learning environment? (T, SL)
  • How can you curate a belonging learning community for your colleagues and students in a remote/hybrid learning environment? (T, SL, DL)
  • What are some ways you can activate your students’ social connectedness in a remote/hybrid learning environment? (T)
  • What are some examples of academic assignments related to your content area that can draw on your students’ experiences? (T)
  • How can you create opportunities for students to problem-solve together in a remote/hybrid environment? (T)

Brainstorm & Design

Use the graphic organizer below to brainstorm some ways for how you might use the tip and ideas presented in the left-hand column. Use this time to generate as many possibilities as you can! Share your ideas with your team, co-teacher, or content partners, and then come up with even more ideas!

Tips and Ideas

  • Embed what you have learned about students’ interests and hobbies (for example, through forms and surveys) into your lessons and instructional activities.
  • Create opportunities for students to participate asynchronously. Not all students will be able to attend live instruction due to circumstances out of their control (limited technology access, familial obligations, some students may have jobs).
  • Dedicate some time for nonacademic social and emotional learning (SEL) check-ins. Allow students to share their voices and personalities without the risk of compromising their grades.
  • Provide opportunities for students to read and write about their experiences, without a grade attached to it.
  • Allow students to collaborate to solve a problem of their choosing. They will be able to build connections based on similar interests and hobbies.

Graphic Organizer