Close Up Conversation #1A: Building Relationships

Overview
RECOMMENDED GRADE LEVELS: 6-8

To build understanding, explore the perspectives of others, and openly exchange ideas and beliefs, we must first develop relationships. Our communities shape a lot about who we are and, just like individuals, there can also be a great deal that different communities have in common. This conversation provides a series of questions and prompts to help participants get to know more about one another and each others’ communities. 

Round 1 (~5 minutes)

Read the Technical Instructions

Students: Take turns going around the group and reading each one of these aloud, until all have been read. 

Stick together through the conversation rounds.
Nominate one student to be in charge of telling the group when it's time to click to the next round.  If unsure who to nominate, choose the student whose first name comes first alphabetically (e.g. Amy comes before David comes before John). 

Keep an eye on the time.
Watch the countdown timer to make sure you're moving through the conversation rounds at the right pace. You will not be forced to move through the rounds at a specific pace; students determine the timing.

Keep yourself muted when not speaking.
When you are not speaking, press your mute button to eliminate background noise and echo.  When you are speaking, remember to unmute.

Keep your video on at all times.
Show respect for your peers by making yourself visible at all times during the conversation.  If you are having bandwidth trouble, however, you can turn off your video to improve audio performance.

Avoid outside distractions.
Show respect for your peers by giving your full attention to the conversation.  Do not let yourself be distracted by other people or objects.

Click Support button to report any technical issues or problems.
Click the blue button in the lower left corner to report any technical issues or problems experienced during your conversation. Also let your teacher know about any problems you may have experienced. 
Round 2 (~5 minutes)

Read the Conversation Agreements

Students: Take turns going around the group and reading each one of these aloud, until all have been read. 

Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.

Show Respect and Suspend Judgment.
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.

Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.

Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.

Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.

Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
Round 3 (~10 minutes)

Learn About Each Others' Communities

Students: Get to know each other a bit better by sharing something personal. Each student should answer one or more of the following questions:

  • Share your name, where you live, and how you would best describe yourself. 
  • Have you always lived here? If yes, how long? If not, where else have you lived? 
  • What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of school?
Round 4 (~15 minutes)

Listen and Share to Understand

Students: Share your views -- and listen openly to others' views -- on the assigned topic, without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each student should answer one or more of the following questions:

  • How would you describe your town or city? (Ex. Urban, rural, crowded, empty, big, small, …) 
  • How would you describe your school? (Ex. Big, small, public, private, fun, competitive, boring, stressful, …) 
  • What do people in your community do for work? For fun? 
  • Describe a time, if ever, when you saw your community come together to have fun or face a common challenge. 
  • What do you like most about where you live? What do you like least? 
  • What are some advantages and disadvantages you feel people living in your community have?
Round 5 (~10 minutes)

Reflect and Share Takeaways

Students: Reflect on -- and share with other students -- how it felt to join this conversation. Each of you should answer one or more of the following questions:

  • During this conversation, have you found common ground or similar areas of interest that surprised you? If yes, why did they surprise you? 
  • What are you still curious about regarding each others' communities?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception or understanding of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Round 6 (~5 minutes)

Wrap Up and Say Goodbye

Students: Take turns thanking each other and saying goodbye.  Before closing the browser, take a few minutes to complete this confidential survey so we can learn about how this experience went for you.