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 ...