Friday, January 11, 2013

A Classroom Community

This week I found out I was called back to work after being laid-off. Although, I will miss my 4 month old and being home when my 9 year old gets off the bus, I am very fortunate to return to a job. Starting in a classroom 5 months into the year comes with a whole new set of nerves. I know I can teach, I know I have a huge repertoire of skills and activities to choose from, but I wonder what I will be walking into. What type of structure has been put in place? What are the class rules? Homework policies? Morning routines? I know one of my biggest obstacles will be to not "throw out" all that has taken place in the past 5 month, but adjust where necessary and make a smooth transition. My first order of business is to observe what type of classroom community is present. Then make it even stronger!
Why is setting up a classroom community so important? When children feel like they are in a safe learning environment, where they can be free to show their personality, make mistakes in front of others and show emotions without fear of being ridiculed - real learning can take place!
Two resources that I have found to be exceptional in the area of creating a classroom community are The Morning Meeting Book and The First Six Weeks. Both books teach why and how to create a classroom community as well as, explains activities to use. The First Six Weeks is also great in teaching structure and the power of routines. I've used these two resources in 1st, 3rd and 5th grades. Certain years the children take to it better then others. Some classes couldn't wait to do a "greeting" activity and other years the kids were like,"You want me to do what?!" So, needless to say I made adjustment that year, but regardless of the intensity all classes learned from this structure, brought some laughs, and we learned to respect each other more.
What activities do you do in your classroom to promote a classroom community?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy. Love your blog! It's super cute!
    To answer your question above...
    We do a lot of 'Mingle To Music' activities where the children walk around to music and when the music stops, the children have to do something directed by the teacher, such as tell the nearest person 3 things they are looking forward to today or something they did at the weekend. They love it and it gets them chatting to someone they might not necessarily chat to.
    Good luck in your new post!
    Sarah

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