When classrooms are considered a community, students will be more engaged and will benefit academically, behaviorally, socially and mentally. But what happens to community when the classroom is no longer a shared physical space? This was the question that we all had to consider when the COVID pandemic forced schools online.
As teachers, we worried about our ability to build a meaningful community in an entirely online space, while still meeting students’ academic needs. In response, we embarked on a design-based research (DBR) project for the 2020-2021 school year. As we prepared to design our classroom for this uncertain year, we discovered that theoretically the practices that support online classroom community parallel powerful writing instruction practices, as both call for positive, student-driven interactions within the classroom space. In everything we have done this year, we are constantly asking ourselves: How can we engage students' writing to foster our classroom community online?
And because our students are brave and unafraid to share parts of themselves in their work, we have been able to build community online through their stories. So we invite you to engage with their writing and grow our community even further. Thanks for coming.