August 30, 2014

How to Build a Classroom Community Atmosphere

As the school year begins, we all want to make sure our students treat each other with respect and become a classroom community. In my classroom I refer to my students as "friends" so they always know that I treat them as a friend and they are to treat each other as friends.  I'm going to share with you some of the activities I do in my classroom to help student learn how to work together and learn what being a friend means.

Below is our "friendship web" that we do the first week of school. Before a student can throw the ball of yarn around the circle, they have to say the name of the kid they are throwing it to, along with something nice about them. This not only helps with learning names, but also helps build self esteem. My students loved doing this! One students wrote about this activity in her Kindergarten Memories book at the end of the year; that's how impactful this can be!

Another 1st week activity is our friendship puzzles. I split the class into 2 groups, give every kid a puzzle piece to decorate, then they have to work as a group to put it back together. We had a kid absent so they wanted to leave 1 piece blank so that student could decorate it another day.

At the beginning of the year, I go over some basic school rules. After a few weeks of school, we then revisit the rules and this time the students get to come up with the rules. Scary I know! However, they came up with SO many rules, I had to cut them off LOL! I like that their rules are in kid language and things that they really find important to make our classroom run smoother. We decided as a class if we should put the rule on the poster or not. #12 says don't lie (looks like he) Don't you love rule #10 :)

If you are looking for more activities to do to help build friendships in your classroom, check out my Building a Classroom Community bundle. It'll be a great start to your discussions on what make a friend, how to treat a friend, and meeting new friends. Below are a few pictures of what's included.

I don't like to tell me kids they are "bad", so if they don't do the right thing, I like to say they made a "poor choice".  As a whole group, we sort these cards into the 2 categories and discuss each card as to why it is a good/poor choice. We also discuss what to do if someone made a poor choice. 
Creating a family atmosphere is very important! Unfortunately sometimes our students spend more time with us and their classmates, than their own family. It's important that they feel welcome, comfortable, and loved. Grab this FREE worksheet so your students can interview each other and get to know one another better! This will be a great ice breaker for the first week of school!
FREE interview a friend worksheet

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