Topics: building classroom community

Student and teacher talking
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What's going well in your classroom these days? At this time of year, especially, it's common for teachers to focus more energy on challenges such as reteaching procedures that aren't going smoothly...
View of a classroom from the doorway
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What's your vision for your classroom community this year? How do you want the room to look, sound, and feel once the first weeks of school are over? In my last post, I shared a scene that captures...
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I started setting up my classroom a few days ago, and of course I was thinking about the first days of school, but what really guided my decisions was a vision of what my classroom would be like...
Two students working together on the floor
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If your classroom life is like mine these days, it's gotten harder to make learning fun. This year in my district we have a new teacher evaluation system, new report cards, new online math resources...
Two students working together
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When they are working towards a common goal, engaged in a fascinating topic, or trying to figure out a solution for a meaningful problem, students feel more connected to school and each other....
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One afternoon in late October, my third grade class laughed together for the first time this year. It happened as we were getting ready to transition from science to math. "Okay," I said, "we need to...
Students working on Morning Message
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In addition to the other tips I shared for getting out of a Morning Meeting Message rut, I strongly recommend making a weekly plan. Instead of trying to come up with ideas for a message each and...
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Reading aloud can be a powerful way to build community and shared understanding at the beginning of the school year. My classes and I used to laugh and talk all year about the picture book Table...
Mudge the dog
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How can you create a powerful sense of community in your classroom? With the leisure of summer, we can ponder questions like this and plan ahead for next year.With a strong foundation of togetherness...
Elementary students from upper grades raising their hands
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Do you work with 4th graders? If so, I'd love to know what you think of "The Leap into 4th Grade," my article in the new issue of Educational Leadership.The theme of the issue is "The Transition...
Students listening in Morning Meeting
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My fifth grade class was about to welcome a new student—I'll call him Mark—who had a number of medical challenges. For instance, he had a feeding tube, and he suffered from uncontrollable and severe...
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One key to success with routines is helping students understand that by following routines, they make their classroom and school a better place to be. When students understand this, they're more...
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"... the first six weeks were rich with modeling, practicing and defining our class community and expectations.  Children rose to the challenges and pulled together to be their best. We proudly...
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I love visiting bookstores, especially children’s bookstores, when I’m traveling. This summer, while I was on the road for work, I discovered lots of new books. (Truth be told, I also spent a little...
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Just like adults, children of all ages need sufficient quantities of good-quality supplies if they're going to do their best work.At the start of the year, teachers (or schools) often give out lists...
Students planting
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I’ve been thinking recently yet again about how important joy is to classroom life and learning. My ten-year-old niece got me started down this path when she returned from visiting a school her...
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When I was a physical education teacher, I was always on the lookout for fun, cooperative games for my youngest students. I learned from experience that five- and six-year-olds need a great deal of...
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Students are often a bit out of the routine of the classroom after a vacation, making this a good time to do activities that reaffirm the group's sense of community. Here's an excerpt from an article...
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The November issue of the Responsive Classroom newsletter is at the printer, scheduled to be mailed out at the end of this month. You'll be able to read all the articles online next week in the...
Students and teacher singing
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Singing a familiar tune or chant in another language can enliven a Morning Meeting, be a fun energizer, and help meet the needs of the growing number of second language learners in our classrooms....
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