Becca teaches special education and is completing her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Classroom Community Defined
Let's meet Katie. During every teaching interview that she had, she was asked how she planned to create a classroom community. The interviewers used words like ''create'' and ''plan'' because building a classroom community takes intentional effort. Teachers need to design activities into their daily classroom routines so that students feel they belong to the group of learners in the classroom.
A classroom community is formed when students come together as a class to work towards the common goal of learning. A classroom community helps students feel valued and connected to the teacher and other students in the class.
Before discussing strategies that can help teachers build a classroom community, let's understand the importance of creating this type of classroom environment.
Classroom Community: Benefits
There are many benefits of fostering classroom communities. Here are just a few:
- It fills students' needs for belonging because they know they can both contribute to the community's success and benefit from its rewards.
- It provides a way for all students to be included.
- It allows students to form and maintain positive relationships.
- It teaches students social skills, the importance of collaboration, and a sense of responsibility towards others.
Classroom Community: Strategies
Now that we know what a classroom community is and why it's important, let's take a look at some strategies teachers can use to help foster this type of environment.
1. Introductory Letter
Teachers can begin the process of building a community before school even starts. Teachers can send students a letter of introduction over the summer that lets them know how excited they are to have them in class.
2. Classroom Rules
Instead of having the classroom rules posted on the first day when students arrive, teachers can work with students to create a shared list of classroom rules together.
3. Classroom Decorations
Teachers often work really hard to decorate the entire classroom before students arrive. Consider leaving some areas of the classroom undecorated so students can help personalize the classroom with their own decorations.
4. Classroom Responsibilities
Giving students classroom responsibilities can help them really understand how important they are to the community and show them that they have something important to offer the class.
5. Classroom Meetings
Weekly scheduled classroom meetings can help the teacher and students communicate with each other about important issues. This time can be used to talk about important class issues or to vote on upcoming activities.
6. Class Mural
A class can work together to create a yearlong project of a class mural. This type of project can be very meaningful as it allows students to work together towards the same goal for an entire year.
7. Class Plays
Classroom performances that students plan, practice, and perform together can really contribute their unique talents.
8. Sharing Work
Having students share work that they have done can really boost self-esteem and help them appreciate others. Allow students to share stories they have written or art projects they have made.
9. Class Goals
Have the class work together to create a weekly class goal. Students can keep each other accountable, provide support, and celebrate success.
10. Service Learning
Find a service project in your school or community for students to engage in. Students can help keep the playground clean or organize a food drive for the local food pantry.
All right, let's now take a moment or two to review. As we learned, a classroom community is formed when students come together as a class to work towards the common goal of learning. We also learned that a classroom community can be a great thing when it manages to help students feel valued and connected with the teacher and other students in class. Taking the time to create this type of environment can help students feel included, can help them learn important social skills, and can teach them about responsibility. There are many activities teachers can use to foster a classroom community such as holding classroom meetings, assigning classroom jobs, or participating in a service-learning project.
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Building Community in the Classroom: Strategies and Activities Quiz
Instructions: Choose an answer and click 'Next'. You will receive your score and answers at the end.
Which of the following strategies can teachers implement before the school year begins to develop classroom community? Choose the best answer.
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