Supporting a courageous elementary school teacher

Written by , in category Remote Collaboration

10 April 2020

- We blurred out the children for their privacy and protection -

In times of crisis we find it important to help others in need of new knowledge and experiences, using the expert capabilities we have. These days it became obvious that many crucial organizations around us were/are not prepared for a digital approach. Elementary schools are definitely one of those.

Thanks to a courageous 1st grade teacher we had the opportunity to design and facilitate a short remote session with his classroom kids. They loved it! Let’s walk you through the layout of the online session we had.

Some were logging in into the work session already 10 up to 15 minutes early and had a nice time having a very unstructured conversation with each other. Something too often forgotten in a professional environment! Use the first 5-10 minutes of an online session to just have some chit-chats.

By the time the official part started we had 19 kids connected and having fun seeing each other back after such a long time. Of course you can’t have all 19 talking in chaos continuously so we prepared a very simple Wheel of Fortune with some topics brought in by the teacher.

You can create your own here: https://wheeldecide.com/

To kick start the session we muted all kids, the teacher welcomed everybody and introduced our approach and shared the “topic selection wheel”. The kids were very anxious to see what topic would come out of it, the element of surprise increased the fun and attention. Once the topic was known the kids were randomly divided into smaller groups of 4-5 to talk for +/-5 minutes about the topic (unstructured). Some kids are just naturals when it comes to starting a conversation, leading a conversation or bringing in some fun into the picture. I loved it!

After a short breakout session on the topic we grouped all back together in the main/plenary session allowed for a minute or 2 unstructured chaotic conversations and then muted all again for a brief summary of the topic. The kid that raised the hand first started and pop-corned it to another kid in the room until we had 3-5 kids speak up after which we went back to our wheel of fortune for another topic.

We closed down the official part of the session after 3-4 rounds and left the kids in the online meeting without any teacher or adult. My kid was one of those kids and I know he continued the online chat with his classroom buddies (10+) for at least another 60+ minutes. The teacher was happy about the session and got familiar with controlling online sessions in the sense of mute all, unmute, structured conversations using popcorn patterns and so on. Let’s see if his courageous efforts will continue in the future.

Mission accomplished I would say. How did you apply your expertise to help out others?

Other fun things you can try at home:

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