Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Belonging Before Bloom: Using Apps to Create Relationships and Increase Positive Outcomes

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Dr. Ilene Winokur  
How can educators ensure that every student feels a sense of belonging, an essential condition for learning? During this workshop, learn what belonging is and how to use a variety of activities like Buncee and Adobe Spark to create relationships and a safe, inclusive space for students.

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Buncee:
Topic: Social emotional learning
Grade level: PK-5
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Belonging is a human need and has been studied in different ways for centuries. However, we rarely read or hear about how to ensure that each of us and every child in our classroom feels a sense of belonging. The purpose of this session is to emphasize the importance of creating a sense of belonging within the class and among the students to ensure learning and achievement. Students who don't feel a sense of belonging have difficulty learning.
Attendees will experience how edtech tools like Buncee and Adobe Spark can help teachers and students create the safe and inclusive space needed for feeling a sense of belonging. Each tool will be explored in practical ways within lessons that emphasize the CASEL SEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making. The presenter will share examples of activities and show participants how to create their own within their subject area or context. Participants will leave the session with several activities they can use with their students and how to create other activities using these tools.


What is belonging? (15 minutes)
How can activities create a sense of belonging in class? (10 minutes)
Description of edtech tools to be used including Buncee, Adobe Spark, etc. (10 minutes)
Examples from SEL lessons and content learning that reinforce the use of edtech tools to create the necessary environment for relationships and belonging to thrive (15 minutes which will include participants sharing their ideas and experiences)
Participants follow basic instructions to create an activity using Buncee or Adobe Spark Post to share their stories and feelings. This will be a model they can use to show their students how to create and communicate their feelings. (20 minutes)
How to give focused feedback that validates each students' submissions and creates a safe environment with examples. (10 minutes)
Participants share their ideas for how they will use these tools with their students (10 minutes)

Supporting research

Bray, B. (2020). Define your why: Own your story so you can live and learn on purpose. EduMatch®.
Hoffman, E. (1988). The right to be human: A biography of Abraham Maslow. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.
Taplay, A. (2018, October 18). What does belonging mean to you? Wordpress.

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Dr. Ilene Winokur, Gulf University for Science and Technolo

Dr. Ilene Winokur has lived in Kuwait since 1984 and is a professional development specialist supporting teachers globally including refugee teachers. Prior to retiring in 2019, she was a teacher and administrator for 25 years. Her blog and podcast focus on the importance of feeling a sense of belonging. Ilene is a Wakelet and Buncee Ambassador. She hosts the early monthly Wakelet Twitter chat.

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