Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to Create a Community in the Classroom

One of my main goals as a teacher is to create a community in the classroom where students feel safe and connected. It is very important that students can trust each other and develop positive relationships with their peers.

In my classroom, I create a sense of community by first creating a classroom identity. We begin by discussing who we are and why we are in there. As a class, we create a class creed. This year our creed is:
        We are the first grade class.
        We are here to learn.
        We are kind and treat each other with respect.
        We share, listen, and forgive each other.

The students were able to come up with a wonderful creed with very little prompting. I asked the questions:
  • Who are we? What makes us different from other classes?
  • Why are we here?
  • What do we do here?
  • How to we treat each other?
We say our creed daily, with the eight expectations from Great Expectations. Then we begin our Morning Meeting. Morning Meeting is a practice from Responsive Classroom. It gives students a wonderful way to begin the day by greeting each other. It is very important in our classroom that we address each other by name. This helps to create a climate of mutual respect.

Here are some other resources that have helped me in my classroom:
More information about creeds
Creating a Classroom Community
A Positive Classroom Community: Concrete Ways to Foster Unity from Day One
Ten Ways To Build Community in Your Classroom
Building A Classroom Community and Bully-Free Zone