I truly believe that if I encourage social skills and values in my students, then I will be able to promote a positive, caring classroom community.
Recently I wrote a little bit about this in my article, The Top 5 Behaviour Management Strategies That Have Worked For Me. I spoke a bit about establishing a shared list of rights and responsibilities and how I have used community circles to create a caring classroom. If you want to learn more about what I wrote then visit the link above.
I wanted to share with you some more practical activities you could carry out in the first few weeks of the school year that encourage values and social skills, but will also help your class get to know each other. I have found that by using these activities along with regular community circles, we begin to establish a caring classroom.
1. Unique Hands
- Provide each student with a sheet of coloured paper or card.
- Get your students to trace around their hand on the paper.
- Each student writes their name on the palm of the hand.
- Split students in to groups of 5.
- Students write what they think is unique about them in one of the fingers. This could just be a word, or a short sentence.
- The students pass their hands around the circle, and the other students write a unique quality in a finger about that student.
- Once completed, cut the hands out and make a poster with all the hands glued on to display in the room.
2. For Sale Sign
- Provide each student with a large sheet of paper.
- Students can draw a picture of themselves in the centre of the paper, or if you have a camera take a photo of each student and glue that to the centre of the paper.
- On the left side of the paper each student describes themselves. Encourage students to not only list physical qualities (such as, I have blue eyes), but also list internal qualities (such as I am kind).
- Each student swaps their for sale sign with another student. On the right side of the page the partner also lists positive qualities of the student.
3. People Bingo
- Provide each student with a people bingo sheet.
- Get students to move around the room finding people who can do the things in each box.
- If a student can do one of the things they write their name in the box. They cannot have a person sign the sheet more than once.
- Students continue collecting signatures. When a student has 5 boxes in a row completed, they call bingo.
- Finish with a whole class sharing. Ask students to introduce others to the class by the information that they collected.
- Download the people bingo sheet here: PeopleBingo
I hope you are able to use some of these ideas to help create a caring classroom.
If you’d like to read more about caring classrooms, then head over to Laura Candler’s blog: Corkboard Connections. She’s having a Caring Classroom Link Up, where teachers are sharing their ideas of how they create a caring classroom.