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Make Classroom Connections with Authenticity and Smiles

Every day, educators can change the world one child at a time. They do that by making connections with each person in the class. The skill of making genuine connections is an important life lesson.

Consider classroom connections lessons as   These are short but effective daily or weekly sound bytes of information that focus on the concept of connections.

Why is it important to target connections?

In the post-pandemic world, we know children lost a sense of connection because they lived for several years. For all children, these were formative years that lacked opportunities to learn relationship skills and develop connections in face-to-face situations. The online version of connections, during this time, was . Most students were connected online but they were not making real-life connections. For this reason, focusing on connections right now is important.

What do connection lessons look like?

Personal connections with others also hinge on sincerity and respect. This is a way to gain the confidence of another and make honest connections.
Personal connections with others also hinge on sincerity and respect. This is a way to gain the confidence of another and make honest connections.

of our ability to make connections. If we are not true to ourselves, we cannot be true to others.

Lessons relating to authenticity begin with understanding the concept. It was my experience that too often we make assumptions about a child’s knowledge base. They might be familiar with the term but reluctant to admit they do not understand the meaning.

Start with the basics. . Use real-world examples. Discuss and why being your authentic self is essential for your well-being.

Make it real for them by discussing authentic people in the world.

Ask the questions:

Who is authentic in our world? Who is not? How do you know the difference? Why? Expanding the topic to social media influencers and entertainers is an opportunity to connect to their world. Who is authentic in their opinion and why do they feel that way? 

Take the discussion further and ask them to identify the consequences of not being authentic. Extend the discussion by reviewing and inauthentic people in our world. Where are they? Why is it tolerated? How do they feel about dishonesty? What effect is it having on our world?

Then bring it back to their own lives and consider why authentic people are important to them.

These discussions are particularly important. They are deep topics that require . Research suggests that, for a variety of reasons, . The future needs citizens who can connect and think.

Personal connections with others also hinge on sincerity and respect. This is a way to gain the confidence of another and make honest connections. For students, it also demonstrates the capacity to move beyond themselves to , a pillar of . Being socially aware both within and without the classroom is a powerful connection tool. Deeper, stronger relationships will be the result.

The benefits of strong connections in life .

Smiles Matter

In our distracted world, we can forget to smile because our minds are in a cloud of preoccupation.
In our distracted world, we can forget to smile because our minds are in a cloud of preoccupation.

Unlike the spectator domain of social media, real-world relationships require good listening skills, eye contact, undistracted time, and .

is about being present in the conversation. It requires eye contact and smiles to encourage the speaker.

In our distracted world, we can forget to smile because our minds are in a cloud of preoccupation. If we are not engaging with the world and making a real connection, then there is a good chance we are not smiling at that world.

Benefits of Smiles

Smiling makes an appealing classroom topic because everyone smiles. Smiling is a remarkably universal subject, yet there is much to learn about smiling. It has many health benefits which include.

Smiles are a positive way for your students to connect with others. It is often an involuntary response, but it can and often should be intentional. with a child smiling about four hundred times a day and the average adult only forty to fifty times a day. A discussion starter would be why we smile less as we age.

Genuine smiling has a which is a good reason to smile more.

Smiling has enormous learning potential in a classroom. Another topic expansion would be considering the smiles of characters in book illustrations. What does their smile tell you about them?

Fun Fact to Explore with Your Class

Extend the topic by challenging their . According to research, . Make it a team effort for students to determine, name, and photograph those nineteen types of smiles. Students can include family and outside friends in this project. Compare online pictures of people smiling. Further, develop this topic in any way you can create.

In 1963, gave us the iconic yellow smiley face. The first Friday of October is honored as World Smile Day.

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

Willliam Arthur Ward

Encourage smiles and authenticity with your students to touch their future and positively impact our world. 

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Linda Simpson
Linda Simpson was trained at The Peace Education Foundation which opened the door to a decade spent facilitating conflict resolution and social-emotional learning (SEL) workshops and conferences across her school, school district and at the university faculty of education level. For several years, she blogged for Huffington Post Canada with the focus of the writing centering on parenting issues, life after divorce, and the occasional social commentary. She writes a divorce coaching column Letters to Linda, personal essays and poetry for The Divorce Magazine UK. She has just published her first book in a parenting series on Amazon.

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