Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Community Building

Community building is an important part of any classroom. When students feel united as a class, they are less likely to be unkind to each other and much more likey to encourage each other to succeed.

With the pressures of teaching the core before CRTs roll around, sometimes it's easy to let community building lessons slide. This year, I've done something simple every week that I think has brought my class together and has helped them learn how to compliment each other.

Each week, we have a spotlight kid. At the beginning of the year, I bought a package of pre-printed posters from Oriental Trading that the students colored and completed. The poster highlights the student's age, family, and interests.

On Tuesday, one student shares their poster. Then they can call on three students to ask them questions about their poster. Finally, I lead the class in singing a song. The words are set to the tune of "Are You Sleeping." It goes like this:

Who knows something
Who knows something
Nice about _________
Nice about _________

Then the spotlight kids calls on the other students in the class who share nice things about the spotlight kid. It's so fun to hear the nice things my students have to say about each other. The spotlight kid always ends up beaming and the rest of the class is smiling, too.

(A special thanks goes out to Mrs. Schlappi, the wonderful teacher who first taught me the song.)

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