Maintaining a Positive Community Remotely

Over the weekend, a friend shared a video with me that you may have seen as well, as it has been widely shared on social media. The video was taken in a neighborhood in Naples, Italy, a country that is currently under national quarantine. Despite that restriction, the residents of this neighborhood have all gone out onto their respective balconies to sing together in an act of collaboration and togetherness. A caption for the video explains that the sing-along started with just a few people, but soon others joined, then others, then people began drumming on pots and pans to accompany the melody. The unity captured in this video is a reminder that our collective need for belonging, significance, and fun are truly essential. Regardless of circumstance, humans are social beings who always find ways to connect with others.

It is no surprise, then, that as educators have begun taking on the task of moving their classrooms online, the question that we have been asked most frequently is: How can we continue to hold Morning Meeting or Responsive Advisory Meeting with students virtually?

Center for Responsive Schools is here to support you in this transition. Below are a few ideas and tips to get you started. We will continue to use our blog posts to provide you with resources, and we also encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where you can share your ideas and gather more ideas from others in our community. We’re all in this together.

Virtual Ideas for Morning Meeting or Responsive Advisory Meeting

How you conduct a virtual Morning Meeting or Responsive Advisory Meeting will depend on your unique set of circumstances, including what resources are available to students and teachers. However, here are some general considerations:

  • Embrace a growth mindset. Recognize that using an online platform changes interaction and impact. But where there is a will there is a way, so view this new challenge as an opportunity to stretch your creativity.
  • Don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel. Utilize the resources you have, such as The Morning Meeting Book or The Responsive Advisory Meeting Book, and adjust activities to adapt to a virtual platform.
  • Take time to establish rules for your online meetings. You will need to create new expectations for your online classroom, so be prepared to explain, remind, and reinforce.
  • Start small and grow. Just as you needed to scaffold the meeting process for students in the classroom, you will need to do the same for them in the virtual space. Consider starting with one of the components, then adding more throughout the next few days or weeks.

Whether you’re using a video platform or a chat platform to connect with students, here are some options to get you started, along with some ideas you can try out right away!

Morning Meeting

Virtual Morning Meeting Ideas
Greetings and Activities can be found in The Morning Meeting Book.


Responsive Advisory Meeting
Virtual Responsive Advisory Meeting Ideas
Acknowledgments and Activities can be found in The Responsive Advisory Meeting Book.


Written by Karen Poplawski, CRS Director of Programs
Tags: Building Classroom Community, Transitions, Virtual Learning

63 Replies to “Maintaining a Positive Community Remotely”

  • I have been using the 4 components of morning meetings in my zoom class. The kids really like it because it is familiar and makes that connection to the classroom.

  • Hi Karen,
    Thank you for starting your article with such a great and timely story. I think your suggestions for successfully connecting with our students during this time are great. I have found that taking the time to set and enforce rules for my online classes via Zoom has been particularly effective, and I encourage others using video platforms to admit students individually so that each student gets greeted. I am going to try placing an opening message for students to interact with at my next meeting!

  • These suggestions are good for classes that meet regularly during the remote learning, thank you for helping us out. Many teachers have gone to internet platforms of providing a daily assignment based on choice and allow the students time between to complete those assignments. I feel that meeting every day is harder for middle and high school students because they have a lot of other responsibilities with their other classes and we may not know what is going on at home. I like the point about starting small with the components, and I think it would be a good start to see what participation one would have with establishing a routine time for students to check in and meet with that teacher.

  • I’m wondering what type of celebrations people are planning using for virtual learning with middle schoolers this fall. Anyone have ideas?

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