Step 4: Build

As your implementing systems that'll help ensure your classroom is engaging it's important to know that no engagement strategies work without relationships.

How do you build relationships:  

1 - Be yourself

2 - Ask students questions that build on your prior knowledge of them  

3 - Go to your students activities / connect them to community resources. 

Case Study: James

I had James in my math and science class three years ago and we still email regularly. He's the funniest and silliest kid and like 70% invested in his schoolwork. 

I don't know what he thought of my at first and that really didn't matter. I asked him what his favorite food was one day and he responded by saying "jelly toast." I asked him what exactly that was and it lead to a full on debate about the merits of putting butter under jelly when making toast with jelly The next day I was sure to publicly eat toast WITHOUT butter under the jelly. So it was silly but we had a connection, an ongoing low stakes debate we could return to at any time. 

I went to James' games, asked him to teach me the coolest new dances and continued to make jokes about jelly. It mattered to him that he impacted my life and that I thought of him when I ate toast.  

More case studies are coming soon and you'll get to hear from students themselves about how to build with them!