If you want to create an effective classroom management plan, the best way to accomplish your goal is to start with building a strong community in your classroom. Strong community in your classroom builds trust, work ethic, and compassion amongst your students and directly impacts how your students interact with each other and you.
The emotional environment of a classroom is just as important as the material resources available to the classroom. Unfortunately, too many kids across the US today live in unstable emotional environments. But as was noted in our last post about mindfulness in schools, often good practices nurtured in schools are spread to the homes and neighborhoods surrounding the school. We are featuring 5 of 10 suggestions from Kelly Booth, a guest blogger for We Are Teachers, on how to build community in the classroom:
- Work as a class to create a classroom constitution.
- Have students work together to brainstorm their most important guidelines for a successful learning community. Once students have decided on the five or six most important points, write them in a pledge form on poster board. Have all students sign the pledge and hang it on the wall where the students can see it.
- Make your classroom pledge a mantra.
- Have your students recite the classroom pledge together at least once a week to reestablish its importance to your class.
- Conduct a morning meeting.
- Have students sit in a circle. The first student should turn to the student on his/her right, shake hands and say good morning, being sure to say the name of the student whose hand they are shaking. Once the hand shaking and greeting has gone all the way around the circle, you can open the meeting up for discussion. Students love to share important things in their lives!
- Assign each student a classroom job that changes weekly.
- Periodically invite students to eat lunch with you.
- Do it just because or for something special like a birthday or congratulatory celebration. In the same style as eating dinner as a family, eat lunch with students to give them a time and place to talk about what’s happening in their lives and in your life.
Check out We Are Teachers for the rest of the list!
Want to learn more about how to build community in your class? Check out this series of videos from ChildSense: