When we think of community building, we tend to think of the beginning of the school year. However, when you think about it, we really build community all year long. It’s important to make sure we are constantly building community in our classroom so that our students feel loved, safe, protected, and know that they belong. This is a topic that is big in my heart because I want all my students to know they fit in and belong in our classroom family.
Create Codes Of Conduct Together
This may seem like a back to school idea and it is something I do during the first week of school. However, you can really do this any time and multiple times throughout the year! Codes Of Conduct are the “rules” of the classroom. They are created by the students with your facilitation. I taught in two Leader In Me schools and they use Codes of Conduct, rather than rules. They’re very simple, but they’re important. After coming up with our three, I would write them really big on three big strips of paper. Then, I would separate my class into three groups, so there would be 6 or 7 kids per paper to color it. I love how they would typically start off coloring a section alone and then they would work together on their drawings. I would leave this up all year long to refer back to.
Make every Friday Friendly Friday! Every Friday, have your students write a positive note to themselves or to a classmate. This will encourage and promote kindness, confidence, and self esteem. I am sure they will giggle when you say to write a positive note to themselves, but it’s important to teach positive self talk early on. Think about how we as adults talk to ourselves sometimes. I know I am not the nicest person to myself a lot of the times! So, I think it’s important kids learn to positively talk to themselves and to others. Guess what?! I made a free print version and digital version for you to use on Friendly Fridays! Scroll to the bottom to get it!
Interview Your Class
This one is a super simple idea! Play some music and have your students walk around the classroom. Stop the music and students must find the closest student to high five. Then, ask a question (i.e. what is your favorite pizza topping? What do you like to read?). Students must tell their partner their answer. Then, you play the music again and they walk around and everything repeats! Like I said, it’s simple, but kids enjoy it… Especially since they get to walk or dance around the room!
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