Classroom Community Building Activities
Estimated reading time: 5 min.
Feeling safe and comfortable in the classroom helps students to focus their energy on learning. There was a study done in 2018 that found that when teachers purposefully create a sense of safety and belonging by doing things like greeting each student at the door, it significantly improves academic engagement and decreases student disruptive behavior. Here are some activities that create a sense of community and comfortability in the classroom.
- Shout outs – This is a super quick and easy way to celebrate students for doing a good job at something or for attempting something difficult. Encourage students to give each other shout outs.
- Friendly Fridays – Some teachers have adopted this “Friendly Friday” activity. Every Friday let the students write each other anonymous kind and uplifting letters to their peers.
- Paper tweets – create a bulletin board modeled after twitter. Students then can use a template to create a profile. Then students can “post” on other students’ profiles about their weekend or how they’re feeling.
- Class Norms – Let students develop class norms themselves instead of a top-down list of rules.
- Group Salutes – This is a moment shared between students at the beginning or end of an activity. This can be a high five or a fist bump or just expressing gratitude for each other.
- Morning Meetings – Morning meetings are a great way to cultivate community. It’s a great time to bring up sensitive topics and discuss students’ feelings on current events or problems they’re having.
- Circle Meeting – As a quick daily activity for the end of the day, gather the students and ask them to share an appreciation for one of their peers, an apology, or a lightbulb moment.
- Kindness chains – make paper chains with different kind words for students on them.
- Venn diagrams - Pair students up to make a Venn diagram. They will be able to compare lives and find commonalities.
- Give your students a voice – Let your students know it’s okay to express their opinions and to speak out. Create different note cards for example “I wish my teacher knew…”. Make sure there is a safe and secure spot for them to place the notecards.