Here’s how one 6th grade schoolteacher takes time each week to look out for the lonely.
Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. After the students have gone home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. She looks for patterns.
- Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
- Who can’t think of anyone to request?
- Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
- Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
These patters tell her who’s lonely, who’s struggling to connect with other children, who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
While this may not work in other grade levels, getting feedback from students may be one of the best ways to identify who needs help.