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Fifth Grade Virtual, In-Person Students Connect Through Breakout Rooms
Andrew Mouzin

To help better connect their virtual and in-person students, fifth grade teachers Alice Kroh and Sally Miller began creating breakout rooms during their morning arrival and lunch periods for their students to talk with their friends in a social setting.

Alice said that they meet with their virtual students once a week, and early on a running theme was the need to feel a part of the community socially. They found that the best way to do that was to have them experience community time in the morning and at lunch. "All the students are excited to be involved," she said. " It started out with just one student joining them in a breakout room, but now sometimes we have three of four students together during lunch in the Zoom call."

Sally said having that connection with the virtual and in-person is really important. “When you are in the classroom and doing a Zoom meeting, you don’t necessarily get that organic interaction between students. With the virtual lunches, they really get to keep those relationships with their friends alive, despite not getting to see them in-person on a daily basis."

Alice added, "Virtual students have a lot going on, and we ask them to stay organized and alert from their home environment. I view this social time as dessert for a job well done. They are showing up at lunch and morning time every day, because they can't wait for the time to connect with a friend. When they do return, they will feel much more connected to their classmates."