Classrooms, Relationships, and the First Five Minutes of Class

We’ve been saying it for two and a half years, but it can’t be overstated—things are very hard in schools right now.  Not to mention, education has never been exactly easy.  The pandemic and its fallout, social media, the divided social and political landscape… these things are hard on everyone, and they absolutely affect students in the classroom.

However, educators have an extremely powerful tool at their disposal: positive relationships.  We all know that positive relationships can soothe the rough edges of hard days and motivate us to regulate the difficult emotions we sometimes feel. Positive relationships and social connections strengthen classroom culture and create trust, foster empathy, and provide a sense of belonging.  It has never been more imperative to support kids (and ourselves!) through the positive relationships that are created with restorative practices.

This may not be an easy task, but it’s worth any growing pains.  Creating a climate and a culture where students are supported and where they learn to be bedrocks of support for others is paramount.  Thankfully, the good folks at edtomorrow can help us get started with a simple, easy, step-by-step tool: the First Five.

Every morning, subscribers (don’t worry—it’s free!) receive an email, specially curated for their classroom, with quick, effective activities to use during the first five minutes of class.  These activities are akin to icebreakers, but they are far more creative, meaningful, and useful than the typical beginning of the year icebreaker.  The First Five email contains several options to create authentic opportunities for students to open up and connect with each other.  If done daily, the connections and relationships forged during the First Five will build stronger relationships within the classroom and develop a shared community.

The First Five is a tool that helps teachers create a classroom climate that fosters community, care, and connection—the Three Cs of edtomorrow, their framework for restorative practices.  Other components of their framework include Community Building Circles and various strategies developed by edtomorrow to learn accountability and skills for repairing relationships.

You can find out more about edtomorrow and its founders John Whalen and Doug Overton on their website.  And you can sign up for First Five emails here.  Sign up today!  The first of the 2022- 2023 First Fives starts on August 15th.

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