What is a classroom community look like? How do you create a community within your own classroom?
These were the questions that my group came up with last Tuesday. From these questions branched many others; too many for us to answer. We worked together and came up with what we thought a classroom community was, before going online and researching. What we decided was that a classroom community is somewhere you feel safe and free to share your ideas. You have no fear that you will be ridiculed at that it is okay to mess up. We also decided that student relationships with each other and the teacher make a big difference. As a group we decided that we could use a lot of what we had learned from our classmates in the previous presentation to create a community of learners.
We split up the work between the four of us. Ali took cooperative learning and researched how it could help develop a classroom community. Brandon researched how connected learning could help develop a community in the classroom. Taylor researched how Project Based Learning could help create a community. My portion of the project was to determine what a community in the classroom would look like and how to achieve this in the classroom. I also looked up how to build and foster relationships between a teacher and students.
What is a community within the classroom look like?
A community is an environment in which students feel secure, nurtured, and supported. When developing a classroom community it is important to be accepting of your students backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. Students who feel a sense of identity within a group are the most well adjusted and successful in school. Studies tell us that some of the most important skills children need for school readiness and success are “people skills” of social interaction, communication, collaboration, and problem solving.
Here are a few suggestions on how to build a community:
Building Community Through Identity: Let the student’s get to know each other and you through different activities in order for relationships to develop.
Building Community Through Familiarity: Allude to things from previous years to help the students feel at home in your classroom. In an Elementary classroom you can simply bring in books from the previous year at the beginning of the school year.
Building Community Through Warmth and Beauty: Make your classroom inviting, not just white walls.
Building Community Through Trust: Let your students know that you are there to listen to them, use eye contact.
Building Community Through Predictability: Establish routines. This helps your students feel confident and comfortable about what is coming next.
How do we build and foster relationships with students?
“It is our responsibility to get to know our students at different levels, not only academically, but personally and socially as well. You may have the content knowledge, but if you don’t build the rapport with students, you won’t get anywhere,” Eloy Gonzales said.
Asking students about them makes them realize that you as their teacher actually cares about them as a person. This allows students to feel a part of the community.
The following are a list of different projects to help create a classroom. (You can get definitions and instructions for these projects at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/fostering-classroom-relationships-larry-ferlazzo-katie-hull-sypnieski )
-Sharing Weekly Reflections
-Introducing Me/ 3 Objects
-“I Am” Project
-“Find Someone in this Class Who…” Scavenger Hunt
Our questions can lead into questions about existing cliques, opposing students, and classroom management (how it can be used as a management style).