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Classroom Management, Teaching Tips & Tricks   |   Jan 1, 2015

An easy way to build individual relationships with students

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

An easy way to build individual relationships with students

By Angela Watson

As teachers, we all want to establish strong connections with students and give them individual attention on a daily basis. But that’s a pretty broad goal that can be hard to put into action, especially considering how many other priorities are vying for our attention. How can we make time for individual connections? How can we ensure we’re dividing our time fairly?

An easy way to build individual relationships with students

If you find that you only have time to pay one-on-one attention to kids when they’re doing something wrong, this strategy is for you! You can break out of the rut of giving only negative attention to challenging students and overlooking the kids who usually make good choices.

An easy way to build individual relationships with students

Here’s what you do: divide your class list into fifths. On your Daily Connections sheet, write in one group of student names for each day of the week. So, if you have 25 kids in your class, you’ll have 5 targeted kids for Monday, 5 for Tuesday, and so on.

Each day, look at your list and see which kids you’ll want to give extra and attention and make individual connections. You could even pray for those students or think positive thoughts for them, if you choose.

When the class is working independently, spend a little more time giving feedback to those kids. Compliment them on things you might otherwise overlook because you’re so busy. Observe them more closely when they’re working, and smile or give a thumbs up to encourage them to keep at it. At dismissal, ask them about their plans that evening or weekend.

An easy way to build individual relationships with students

You might also use that day to spend a little more time reading through and responding to those 5 kids’ writing assignments. You can learn a lot by what students write in their journals! Take the time to write back, asking questions and making comments. You can also make a note for yourself about things kids have written so you’ll remember to bring it up in conversation (“Hey, how was cheerleading practice last night?”)

Of course, students should never know that you have a system for connecting with them! The list is only for your reference, and you certainly don’t want to ignore the other kids.

The goal is to have a routine that makes it easier for you to make sure you’re sending a critical message to each and every student through the smallest of gestures: You matter. I see you, I acknowledge you as a unique individual person in this classroom, and I care about you. 

Download the FREE printable form here!

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. I love this idea and would love to adapt it to high school. With on 45 minutes with each class, I’m thinking it will be difficult to connect with 5 kids in one class period considering how needy my classes are. I do have so many students who won’t function unless I’m standing right next to them and directing them through the assignment. Do you think it would be okay to spread a class out over 2 weeks?

  2. I love this idea of keeping up with my students. I work with special needs students that all need that extra help. The teacher next door and I share students. We each teach every subject except science & social studies. She teaches science and I teach social studies. This will help me keep up with both groups of students. I’m looking forward to hearing about the next great idea you have for us. I left feedback on tpt for this great product.

  3. Love this idea! I want to start as soon as I return back to school on Jan. 5. I need to work on finding time to conference with each of my students, but I don’t want it to be too time consuming or complicated. This really will help. Thanks again, Angela. Have a great 2015!

  4. Thanks for sharing this idea Angela. It’s a lovely way to make connections with students on a whole and not just when they are being disruptive or deemed problematic.
    I will certainly use this idea on my return to school January 5.
    Thanks once more for sharing and I look forward to see other such ideas.

  5. I do this. I call them my Target Students for each day. I even take it one step further. I have a template that is sectioned off for each period of our day. I try to make a note about each target student for each period. What center did each student choose? What brilliant answer did he offer? What did she struggle with? How did he interact with others? etc. That gives me several “snapshots” of a typical day in each student’s folder that I can refer to for conferences, SST meetings, etcetera. I find it especially helpful in meeting the needs of my average students–those who typically slip under the radar.

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