As students grow up in our classrooms, one of the most important duties we have as teachers is to help our students make our classroom community safe and loving for all. We want our kids to become contributing members of society. They need to know right and wrong, and although teachers do not bear full responsibility for how a student behaves toward others. It is an important role that we all play in this process. Today, I’d like to share five tips you can use to help your students learn to include others, to treat others with respect and dignity, and to develop a positive self esteem.
Books that Build Community:
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 about Ways to Build Classroom Community
Share Quotes that Inspire Teamwork
Our kids need to hear positive messages, and sharing quotes from positive people, great authors, and leaders in our country. Today, we celebrate 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 quotes to model character traits and have our students analyze their reading for quotes that demonstrate character. Great activity idea, huh? Quotes are wonderful for morning messages and class meetings too.
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.
n my building, we work as Professional Learning Communities using 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 AND teamwork
In my building, we work as Professional Learning Communities using 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 AND teamwork,
Projects you might like:
Paper Bag Book:
I have always enjoyed doing projects with my students, and although they were not always PBL projects, they were fun for the kids and included cross curricular skills (writing, research, reading, and science/social studies content). This resource will require some classroom research, but the intent with it is to help teachers build an inclusive, supportive, respectful, and KIND classroom. Get your students talking! Help them learn each other. We can’t get enough of positive traits, can we? We owe it to EACH of our students to value them and ensure that they are treated fairly. To check out this resource, click HERE or the image to the left. 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 for Classroom Community
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.
Kindness Calendar for Building a Classroom Community:
If 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. HERE is the link to the resource, or you can click the image to the right.
I hope these tips and resources 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 classrooms that foster positivity for each and every child.
Other Posts About Classroom Community:
- Teaching Theme with Each Kindness
- Building Character in the Classroom with Meaningful Literature
- Martin Luther King Jr.: Leading Us Now and Always
- 5 Ways to Build Character in the Classroom
- Building Positive Relationships Starting with Day One
Kids grow up quickly in our classrooms, but it’s up to us to help them make our space safe and inclusive for all. We want all our students to become citizens that make our society a better place.