2 & 10 Rule
One of my favorite classroom questions is asking students to spell love, and then eliciting "T- I- M- E." I love this idea that we express our love and caring for one another by spending time together. I think this is so true, even at school. Struggling students often don't feel connected while at school. Once a student thinks they aren't liked or don't belong, it becomes difficult for them to engage in productive group activities and accept feedback meant to move them forward.
One way to validate students and help them to feel more connected in the classroom is to follow the 2 & 10 rule. The 2 & 10 rule is simple. Spend 2 minutes for 10 consecutive days chatting with students about things other than school. (i.e. their interests, family, hobbies, etc.)
Showing you students that you care about them will help to build a vital and productive relationship. This is also an excellent opportunity to model how relationships are formed and how they should work. In addition, you can use your 2 minutes to gather data that you can use to create relevant math situations, to help students connect learning to their own lives, and to discover texts that students are interested in reading. Two short minutes can do so much to help your students feel connected to the community and to learning.