Activities for all grades to build community in your class this year.
• At Kensington Avenue School in Springfield, Mass., teachers build community every day through morning meetings that encourage daily greetings, sharing and group activities.
• Lisa Anderson of Hull Elementary School in Livonia, Mich., embraces the chaos of the first week of school, using it to create a sense of community. She asks students to describe the best and worst classroom they could imagine, then works with them to create a behavior contract for the year.
Middle and Upper Grades
• As the migrant education coordinator in Aubrey, Texas, Kristan Taylor learned a simple spiral notebook can help create a profound sense of community.
• Invite even the youngest of students to learn about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights by working together to build a classroom constitution. What "rights" will guide your teaching this school year?
• A garden plot, small or large, can become an effective tool for building a sense of community. Tie it to a service-learning project and that sense of community broadens beyond the classroom. Read Acres of Understanding and A Bountiful Harvest to learn about garden projects in schools in Clarksville, Tenn., Gallup, N.M., and other cities.