I love how quickly community can be built in a classroom if one makes the effort. I'm at a new school this year and the teachers I work with in my grade level have made it a tradition that students bring a grocery bag with a few items about themselves to share. It's really a simple thing, but it has turned out to be a wonderful community builder. We just finished our second day of school, but it is amazing to me how quickly community has been built. Sure, by the 27th bag that had been shared, kids were getting a little weary, but I spread it out over the two days not listening to more than 4 students share in a row. The 27th sharer did get a huge round of applause when she was finished sharing!
I already know that I have a student who collects elephants, a few aspiring gymnasts, some avid readers, some painters, some crafters, a couple aspiring bakers, some sports enthusiasts, one who has 500 silly bands, and that family is very important to many of my students.
I also shared a bag about me. If you've seen very many of my photos of the day, you will know that I'm a crafter/sewer/baker. Today as I left, a couple students asked when I was going to wear one of the dresses I've made soon. After the second day.
We're building community, and I can't wait to see where it goes!
How do you build community in your classroom? How do you show your students that you want to know them as a whole person?