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Building Community in the Classroom: Strategies and Activities

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Instructor: Rebecca Harkema

Becca teaches special education and is completing her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Building a classroom community teaches students how to work together as a group in order to reach a common objective. Learn about the definition and benefits of the classroom community, and explore strategies and activities to build one. Updated: 10/24/2021

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.

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  • 0:04 Classroom Community Defined
  • 0:51 Classroom Community Benefits
  • 1:20 Classroom Community Strategies
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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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.

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