Top 10 Tips to Create a Classroom Community

Learning Spaces

10.  Inviting Environment:  Make your learning space inviting.  Use music. Grow plants. Alter lighting. Collect props. Display personal pictures of yourself and your students.

9.  Gifts without Strings:  Extend courtesies and privileges that are not contingent upon academic outcomes or social behaviors (Belvel, 2010).

8Student Work:  Display it! What you put on your walls communicates what you value.

7.  Celebration:  Acknowledge meaningful achievements of all kinds, giving all students an opportunity to experience the proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

6.  Class Meetings:  Hold  class meetings regularly that students lead, using democratic processes that facilitate problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution (Styles, 2001).

5.  Student Responsibilities:  Have students apply, interview, train, and rotate job positions in your classroom. Rotate responsibilities according to students’ interests and have students train each other as they rotate. To get you started, here’s an awesome list of jobs that can be used at any grade level:

Sanitation Engineer          Courier                            Time Keeper

Data Manager                  Numbers Cruncher          Ambassador

Computer Tech                Administrative Asst          Electrician

*Microbiologist                 *Lumberjack                     Distributor

Media Specialist               Botanist                           Hall Monitor

Line Inspector                  Materials Handler            Special Jobs

Fact Checker                   *SWAT                            Collector

Noise Ordinance Enforcer

*Lumberjack sharpens pencils. Microbiologist handles sanitary wash.  SWAT indicates Students Without Assigned Tasks who are trained to handle any situation, including job responsibilities of students who may be absent.

4.  Choice:  Build choice into your assignments, due dates, and procedures.

3.  Procedures:  Establish procedures for everything. Practice and review them regularly.

2.  Agreements:  Engage students in the establishment of classroom agreements. The process not only creates community but also promotes self-governance.

1.  Relationships:  Build and strengthen relationships before school begins (teacher-student, student-student, teacher-parent, teacher-community, teacher-teacher, teacher-staff). Nothing is more an important than relationships.

Resources:

Belvel, P. (2010). Rethinking classroom management: Strategies for prevention,  intervention, and problem-solving. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Styles, D. (2001). Class meetings: Building leadership, problem-solving and decision-making skills in the respectful classroom. Portland, ME: Pembroke.

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