Melisa Hayes discusses the importance of building community and how classrooms and people can unite despite the pandemic
During these stressful times, it’s so important to have the support of family, friends and community. When you hear the word community, what words pop into your head? For me, it’s not only the community I live in but my Twitter, Voxer and educator communities. These categories seem to interchange and can be expressed in only one word, FAMILY. As an educator, I want these amazing individuals to not only be a part of my life but my classroom too!
Each year my kids mystery Skype with different states around the U.S. and even the world. During the last couple of years it has involved every state in the U.S. other countries in the world. This year it has looked a little different with Zoom calls, but nevertheless we are still on our way zooming with every state in the U.S. and beyond. My kids are so excited each week to see who they will meet, where he/she is from, and if they will be able to guess their location? Mystery Zooms not only tap into a child’s geographical skills but also their leadership, curiosity, mindset, and more!
During this pandemic my Twitter and Voxer communities have been essential for both my sanity and happiness! Working from home and conversing with family on social media has been a great way to connect socially. I wanted my classroom family to feel that same connection so I publicize that our family is looking for amazing friends to mystery zoom with:) The response is always overwhelming and I am so grateful to schedule these amazing events all year! My kids are overwhelmed with excitement each day to see who our mystery zoom guests are and where he/she is located. My kids also create #zoomsnaps which was spun off Tara Martin’s #booksnaps where kids use all the information gathered from each Zoom session to create a PicCollage. This collage showcases pictures of information learned about the state and person using only pictures and added #Zoomsnaps.
There’s no doubt that this year has been stressful and frustrating, but I have to say this school year has turned out to be just as memorable and just as exciting! The only thing that would make my year even better would be to see my classroom family face to face and for us all to be able to hug, laugh, and dance together! I am determined to do this and if the year ends we will meet when it’s safe. You can guarantee that:) Another dream, which hopefully will be a reality soon, would be to see my Twitter and Voxer family face to face! I would highly recommend you dive into Twitter and or Voxer to find your peeps: share, connect, uplift, collaborate, listen, and more! What are you waiting for? Your Professional Learning Family is waiting for you….building community is so important!