Saturday, March 6, 2021

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 6: Accentuate the Positive

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 6:

Accentuate the Positive

What's something that's been positive for you lately? This week I began my senior level English classes with this community building question.

I heard a diversity of responses from my hybrid and virtual learners:

  • The weather has been great!
  • I reconnected with old friends
  • I got a raise at Wal-Mart
  • The kids at my internship make me giggle
  • We are moving to a new house
  • My grades are really good right now
  • I finally convinced my parents to let me go on a trip to NYC this summer 
  • My friends
  • I had my best time at the 100 Freestyle 
  • I learned how to make a pie
  • My parents got a new car so I got their old van
  • I've been reading more books
  • I have been using my new longboard 
  • I've been spending a lot of time with my family 
Following our conversation, I shared with my class how it was good to hear about the positive happenings in their lives. I reminded them that sometimes focusing on positive things in tough times makes a huge difference. It was a good reminder for myself, too. 

For the first time in my teaching career, a portion of my students are 100% virtual, and I have never met them in person or even seen their faces. Yet, I also have students who are learning in-person. I have been working hard to connect with all of them and finding ways that they can connect with each other. 

Since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, I often begin my classes with a Community Building Question. Sometimes I look on-line for a question. Other times I create a question as a link to what we are studying. A favorite resource is Table Topics (Teen Edition). Asking Community Building Questions is one small way that I have been working on connecting with my students. 

What have you been doing this year to connect with your students? 


  1. I love this question and am totally borrowing for Monday! I was doing community building questions each day earlier in the year and then moved away from that. I think I need to bring it back. We have a block schedule and the first day each week, we do one of those "which are you today memes"--"On a scale of llama, which one are you today?" Etc. I enjoy finding fun ones to share. On the second day each week, they fill out a Google form check in and let me know if they'd like a personal text or email from me. Those have been great for building connection. It takes about an hour each week to send out all the "hey! How'd your week go?" messages and then respond to what they share, and it's so worth it!

  2. Thank you so much for reminding us of the need to ask "what's something that has been positive for you, lately?" I love this question. In fact, I found myself smiling. First, I smiled as I read through your student list. Then, I smiled because your question had me thinking about those things in my life that are presently positive. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Like Elizabeth, I am totally borrowing your question for Monday!

  3. I love this. It shows students you care about them as humans and not just students. I didn’t need to see “pie,” however; now my stomach is looking for a cherry pie, and that’s not in my diet. I bet the community building questions make students more engaged w/ the lesson, too.

  4. Fantastic, meaningful approach - these affirming thoughts build community in challenging times, and even when times are less challenging. I loved reading your students' responses.


Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting  a slice of my life , hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Challenge #21...