Community Building Classroom Activities: A Round-Up

Community managers by luc legayHow do you take a group of individual, unrelated people and connect them in a supportive community quickly?

It’s a question teacher face at the beginning of every term. Here are some answers.

Begin by establishing reasons for students to connect. You can’t wave a magic wand and build community. It takes work. What’s the Trick to Building Community in the Classroom? outlines four lessons that lay the ground work for connections, no matter what class you teach or what other community building activities you use.

In the writing classroom, personal stories can be the best way to build quick connections. The writing task can make the connection, as explained in Building Community in 15 Minutes a Day. As students embark on a writing experience, they can build fast connections by talking about their challenges and successes together.

In a similar way, ask students to talk about their work as writers—their best work, their pet peeves, and their biggest challenges. Five Ways to Learn about Students This Fall outlines specific activities that ask students to share their history as writers in this way. Lesson plans for Weekly Writer’s Blogs, Technology Autobiographies, and Extended Metaphors about Writing encourage students to build a community of writers as they reflect on their own experiences.

Tend the fledgling connections writers make with activities that talk explicitly about community. Whether they look at communities outside the classroom or those at school, such discussions can ensure you students continue to Build Community After the First Day.


[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by luc legay]