Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Sayings: Community

Saturday...A day by any other name doesn't smell as sweet! Who can resist the smell of coffee and bacon wafting through the house? Who doesn't love to stay in their pjs at least an hour or two longer than usual? If you are like me, Saturday is a chance to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and check out some new ones, too! I look forward each week to Saturday Sayings for some food for  thought for the week to come. I am so excited to be sharing my

Thank you, Tammy for inviting me and others to join you! I'm honored to be in your company! Click HERE to go see Tammy's Saturday Saying!

Sometimes I think more learning takes place at my community gathering time than any other time of the day. As my owlets gather together in our nest to sing, play and discuss the day that lays before us important things happen. We learn to be kind and considerate of others feelings. My students ask questions in a place where they feel completely safe and loved.

How do you build community?  I believe that without a strong tight bond between community members children do not learn as well or as deeply as they could. Community allows children to take risks with out fearing failure. It allows students the ability to ask questions that no one will laugh at. It gives each child purpose, meaning and comfort without anxiety or nervousness. I build classroom community the following ways:

Classroom celebrations:  We celebrate new learning in different ways. This week we celebrated twice. Monday we celebrated the New Year with a New Year's Eve party that ended with the ball(s) dropping to the floor and counting how many times they bounced.  We celebrated learning antonyms this week with a bubble bursting game you can watch below!

Spontaneous Silliness:  I find taking a break from the normal in surprising ways to be very important. We have had a very horrible, terrible, very bad winter so far. No snow. Yesterday we had a snowball fight. All morning I warned my owlets it was coming. They tried to guess what we would use for snow. They didn't guess correctly and were so happy when I pulled out a bag of material labeled  "SNOW"! It was the most fun I've had all year! I wish I had pictures of our "fight", but I was so busy playing that I didn't even think about snapping any pictures!

Classroom rituals:  Singing the National Anthem, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and praying together have all been rituals that children insist on doing together every day. I have a couple of students who are late most days. I am always happy when they get there and we always wait to do our song/pledge/prayer/sticker together.  Saying, "ding dong" when someone knocks on the door, and our daily Lego mini-figure sticker book are some of the things that keep kids coming back for more! 

Expect Respect: I expect students to treat one another with kindness and respect. It's a learning process. Relationships take work and being packed into a classroom for hours at a time can sometimes be difficult! Learning how to work through difficulties one problem at a time Real world problem solving is an important life skill.  

Hello/Goodbye:  Each day I greet my students as they come through the door. I want them to know how happy I am to see them. At the end of the day they choose...A hug a highfive or a handshake. It is usually a hug, but some of them like all three.

So, my friend, I'm glad that we are in the same community! I love learning about your classroom celebrations and rituals. I love your spontaneous silliness and the warmth of each comment. Please leave me with ...


  1. Jenny, I want to be in your classroom. Community is so important, and you've reminded me of some ways that I can do a better job of developing it in my own class. I love this post. Thank you for joining me today!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Thank you, Tammy! You are welcome anytime!!

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  3. Great ideas on building community within our classrooms! Your class sounds like a warm and respectful place. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  4. This is soooo important. I really felt like I failed my class last year-we just didn't spend enough time on it. But this year-I've tried very hard. One thing we just started was a Joy Jar. At the end of the day, which used to be crazy with everyone going different directions for dismissal-we take a few minutes and write down the good things that happened in class that day. Thank you for your suggestions!


  5. I love this. I think communities are the key to everything. When children feel a part of something, they take responsibility for their learning, their classroom, their friends. It is so much more than 2+2. You are the best. Glad to be a part of your community.

    First in Maine

  6. Sounds like you have a great classroom community! I love your hug, handshake, high five idea. After you posted about it after Sandy Hook, I started doing it with my kids. They love it.

    Compassionate Teacher

  7. What a lovely post, Jenny! You are definitely building community. I really like your classroom celebrations...that's something I need to do more.
    What was your snowball fight? We do that, too, with marshmallows:)
    Great bubble bursting game. Your kids are super well behaved. There's no way mine would be that quiet -- ha ha!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs


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