What's Happening in Character?

3 "Low Prep" Ways to Build Connection in your Classroom

Posted by Joe Beckman on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 @ 09:10 AM

“OMG!”

“LOL!”

Joe Beckman.jpg

“BFF!... 4-EVA

3 letter acronyms (along with selfie’s, snapchats, and poop emoji’s)                                are taking over the world.  

Instead of running from this phenomenon, I’ve decided to add my contribution to the mix.

“BCQ!”    Build. Connection. Quickly. Let me explain…

When I’m speaking to students in schools, (schools just like your schools) many days I’ll ask…

“How many of you, when you heard you were coming down to the auditorium to hear a ‘motivational speaker,’ thought to yourself, ‘this is going to be the longest 45 min’s of my life?’”

Nearly every hand shoots up in the air.  It’s like I’m at an auction and EVERYONE is bidding.

They DO NOT want to be there...

(Except 1st graders.  First graders love my talk. Because first graders love everything!)

Here’s my point...if I don’t build connection quickly, I’ve lost.

Whether we’re teaching Algebra, or Biology, or Character...the most impactful educators know...

Feelings matter more than facts

Empathy trumps accuracy (and that)

The pre cursor to any content has to be connection.

Here are 3 ideas on how you can BCQ in the first 5 min’s of your classroom.

Connection Tip #1:  Become a ‘Youtube Ninja’

Youth watch Youtube.  It’s the #2 search engine in the world behind only Google.  Here are a few ways you can use this platform to build connection.

Music Playlists

  • It’s been said that music is the “universal language of all time” so here’s my suggestion. Every morning, go on Youtube and look up  2-3 songs. When the first kiddos walk into your classroom that hour, hit play.

Funny Videos

  • Guess who they associate the funniness of a funny video to?  YOU! (Which means you could literally be the least funniest person in the school, but to your students, you could be HILARIOUS!  #winning).

Inspirational Messages

  • Contrary to popular belief, kids these days love inspiring videos.  They’re hungry for purpose, and when done well, a short inspiring video can open a heart.

Now I know what you’re thinking... “if I have to go out and find songs, and funny videos, and inspiring messages…that’s going to take me hours!”

Not anymore.  

I’m incredibly excited to share with you our brand new educator resource.

The Complete Youtube Guide to Building Connection Quickly;

  • music suggestions,
  • funny videos,
  • and inspiring messages!

Connection Tip #2:  The Sweet Greet

Maya Angelou says, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What does it feel like to walk into your classroom everyday?

I had an English teacher named Mr. Rosengren. Everyday he would stand outside the door, shake my hand and say, “Mr Beckman, welcome to class.”  

I never loved English.  I always loved that handshake.

Want to make an long-term impact? Take the time to...learn a name, pat a shoulder, slap a hand, ask a question, give a compliment, pound some knucks, create a feeling!

You want to make an immediate connection?  Deploy the Sweet Greet!

Connection Tip #3.  Quick Hitters

Quick Hitters are short activities that have connection built in. Could be as simple as...

  • Discussion Questions
  • “If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be and why?” (discuss with a partner, or triad, or group of 6 or more)…
  • Class Riddles
    • A man leaves home...makes 3 left turns...sees 2 masked men...who are they?  (please share your answer in the comment section!)
  • Group Games
    • ‘Heads Up 7up’  still reigns!

And friends, I’m merely scratching the surface of what’s possible.

I encourage you to ask others (or make it topic at your next meeting), “what do you do to build connection in your classroom?  What’s working for you?” There’s wisdom within your workplace, and most people are willing to share!

1 final thought...

Human Connection Matters. And we need it more than ever.

  • 160,000 kids these days will skip school because of bullying
  • The average age of depression is 14.5 years old.
  • 5,400 kids these days will attempt to commit suicide.  Not in a year.  Not in a month.  Every. Single. Day.

These are the kids that are walking into our classrooms.

We are the adults they are craving connection from.

For some, we might literally be the only positive person that student sees on any given day

So take that small window at the beginning of each class, to BCQ.  Those who do will go down as the TOI. Teacher of Impact.

                                                                              Youtube Guide


Over the last 15 years Joe Beckman has spoken in educational settings all over the world. Whether it’s a Middle School in Minneapolis, a Professional Development workshop in Montana, or an International Conference in Malaysia…Joe’s had 1 core mission; to reclaim human connection. Join him for his session at the 2017 National Forum.