Step 3: Reflect
• Participate in a reflection circle to share developing ideas and identify areas for growth
• Write and share a message of gratitude with partner classmates to deepen new friendships
For students to engage in productive, meaningful conversations, researchers have identified key practices such as listening to each other, expanding on others’ ideas, and seeking and offering clarification. Educators should support students in practicing mindfulness and self-awareness as they share about their own emotions and ideas, and diplomacy and inclusivity as they recognize that their classmates may have different responses and seek to learn from others' perspectives.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
1. Gather students in a reflection circle, and establish guidelines for how students should communicate with honesty and compassion during the conversation (e.g., listening to, and respecting, others’ perspectives and experiences). To learn more about reflection circles, please visit this resource.
2. Facilitate the reflection circle by asking these questions:
- What was your favorite part of this experience?
- What did you learn about our partner class and their community? What is something that you found interesting or surprising?
- What did you share in common with members of our partner class? How did it make you feel to discover these similarities with each other?
- What worked well about our virtual exchange?
- What was something that you found difficult or challenging? Is there anything that we should do differently next time?
- How did it feel to practice empathy, including skills like diplomacy, inclusivity, and collaboration, during the exchange? What, if anything, was difficult or challenging about using these skills?
- Can you imagine other situations in your life where you can apply these skills in the future?
- Do you have any questions for our partner class, or anything you would like to learn more about? What is the next activity that you would like to do together?
3. After your discussion, invite students to use the template below to write letters to their new friends. In their letter, students can write down a question that they are still curious about learning, such as:
- What is your favorite subject in school?
- What is something special or beautiful about where you live?
- What is a book that you read recently?
- What is something that you are looking forward to?
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.