As teachers, we usually go into the first weeks of school assuming full responsibility for building the learning space. But what happens if we put some of that responsibility in our students’ hands instead? Our new students come to us full of ideas, stories, expertise, and curiosity. These are the essential materials for a strong classroom community. Here are a few ideas for how to put those raw materials to use:
- Creating Class Rules: A Beginning to Creating Community
Students work together to create classroom rules by brainstorming why they are at school and what they need while they are there.
- Our Classroom: Writing an Owner’s Manual
Students write an owner’s manual that helps them get to know their classroom, provides them with a sense of ownership, and lets others know about their classroom.
- Using Children’s Literature to Develop Classroom Community
Conversation and cooperation bring out the best in students when they hold dialogues about their individual strengths, abilities, and talents.
- Opening the Door for Reading: Sharing Favorite Texts to Build Community
In this lesson, students build classroom community by exploring environmental print and a teacher-created display that focuses on a favorite book. They then create and share their own presentations.
- Getting to Know You: Developing Short Biographies to Build Community
How well do your students know their peers? Students transform into investigative reporters as they interview a classmate, compile the biographical data into graphic form, and introduce the student to the class.
Have you tried these or other community building activities? Tell us what works!