Five Ways to Create an Inclusive, Loving, and Respectful Classroom Community


No matter where you live, who you are teaching, or what grade you teach, you may have observed or overheard conversations between our children related to the election and transition. If you're like me, you've probably been unsure how to address it. You may have some families who voted one way, and others who voted another. That's the way it is with elections, but alas, we all may find ourselves needing to support our kids, help them work through their fears and questions, and teach them about how our government works in order to help them understand. We need to stick to our tasks in a neutral position politically. Yet, it is important to ensure that our classrooms are for ALL students and that each grows to be the best version of themselves.

Today, I'm joining in with the Teachers Pay Teachers community to share ideas and resources that will help you and your classroom community as we come together and move forward. You will use the hashtags, #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths to find all of the FOREVER freebies. I have a resource I'm sharing as well as five classroom teaching ideas with a literacy twist to help you out:

Use Literature for Teaching Themes

Classroom Community starts with the classroom teacher. This post includes five ideas to help you build a positive classroom community all year long. These titles may help you work in themes of kindness, community, diversity, and goal setting.
No matter the grade you teach, great literature can ALWAYS support you in your teaching. We can model so many skills with literature, and as we do that, we model comprehension, thinking skills, listening skills, and how to have positive dialogue with others. Using quality literature to spark conversation leads to deeper thinking. The more kids discuss their reading and concepts, the better. High level questioning can do wonders. If you'd like a go-to author for starters, I highly recommend that you look at Julia Cook's books. You can visit her website [here]

Write, Write, Write

Writing can be VERY therapeutic. One of my friends who has been a counselor for years told me that that's her go-to advice for many of her clients. She tells them to get a journal, share how they are feeling in their entries, and that they'll find a sense of calm and ease. This may be very helpful for our kids (especially in the upper elementary grades) who may be personally impacted by some of the changes that may be coming. Writing gives our students power, and practice helps our students learn to write better. 

Quote It

Our kids need to hear positive messages, and sharing quotes from positive people, great authors, and leaders in our country. This week, we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. This quote came through my Facebook feed (Chesepeake Reading Association). I just loved it. The quote shared with this image was, "Teach Content of Character through your Words and Actions." We can use quote to model character traits and have our students analyze their reading for quotes that demonstrate character. Great activity idea, huh?

Teamwork Matters

At the beginning of the year, most teachers spend the first few weeks getting to know their students and work to build community. We encourage friendships, playing together, respect, and classroom routines. In today's workplace, it is more important than ever that we work together as a team. There is great value in pulling out the best in each teammate and recognizing his/her strengths. 

In my building, we work as Professional Learning Communities on the teaching/learning cycle. This applies to our kids too. We take them further if we can identify each child's strengths and use them to work on the "grows". One teaching option that is great for teamwork is Project Based Learning. PBL projects start with a problem. They are typically content driven and include research. 

Classroom Community starts with the classroom teacher. This post includes five ideas to help you build a positive classroom community all year long. Freebie included.I have always enjoyed doing projects with my students, and although they were not always PBL projects, they were fun for the kids. This resource will require some classroom research, but the intent with it is to help teachers build an inclusive, supportive, respectful, and KIND classroom. We can't get enough of these traits, can we? We owe it to EACH of our students to value them and ensure that they are treated fairly. To download the resource, just click the image or [HERE]. With the project, the kids will:

-Write about themselves.
-Interview a classmate to learn about them.
-Describe what makes their classroom special.
-Sort Friendship Builders and Breakers
-Identify how we benefit from friendships with all types of people, and
-Set goals for how they can practice being a friend to others. 

The complete book is just eight pages, so it won't take long to construct, but hopefully, it will give your kids time to think about how important their actions are.

Encourage Friendships

Finally, as the leader in our classrooms, we need to encourage our kids' friendships. I loved this DIY Kindness Project. The directions look pretty easy. Check out the video and see if it works for you.

Another Option:

Classroom Kindness ChallengeIf you aren't into DIY, you could grab this print/use resource from Blair Turner. I love both options. Blair's calendar is for 180 days, so you can get use from it...all...year...long. For busy teachers, it's well worth the $4.00 price.

I hope these tips and freebie help you in your teaching journey, and more importantly, I hope that your students grow reading skills as well as positive friendships, character traits that lead to being citizens in our communities, and that your classroom is an amazing place to be.

For other great resources, check out the hashtags, #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths and have a wonderful, wonderful day.
Classroom Community starts with the classroom teacher. This post includes five ideas to help you build a positive classroom community all year long. Freebie included.

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