Even though during this pandemic we have to be distanced from each other, communication and collaboration are still important skills to be practicing! Last week, the Grade 9 Learning Strategies class learned about interpersonal skills and collaboration. They discussed what interpersonal skills are, why they are important and how we can best practice them (in a safe way!). They also discussed what it takes to be strong communicators and active listeners.

To put these ideas into practice, we did a “front to front” drawing exercise. In non-COVID times, this activity would be done “back to back”…but 12 students in a room with masks on talking back to back would likely be a bit too tricky! Students were paired up and asked to identify as Person A: The Speaker or Person B: The Listener. Person A was given a picture and Person B was given a blank sheet of paper and a (sanitized) pencil.

The rules were that Person A had to describe the drawing to Person B using as many details as possible! Instead of just saying “draw a circle”, they were encouraged to dive deeper and say “draw a medium sized circle, about the size of the palm of your hand in the exact centre of the page”. The catch was that Person B could not talk at all! They had to really listen to their partner and focus on what they were saying in a room filled with other distractions.

Once pairs finished the first round, they then did another and switched roles. After, we had a discussion of what strategies worked and what didn’t. Some students liked being both Speaker and Listener while others were drawn to one over the other. Overall, the activity was a blast and comparing the drawings in the end created lots of laughs. Not to mention, some of them were really accurate! It was nice to see students enjoying themselves and connecting with fellow students, despite the strange times we are in!

Socially Distanced “Front to Front” Drawing

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