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Building a classroom community
Old 06-14-2007, 01:01 PM
 
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What kind of activities do you do to build a strong classroom community and students self esteem?



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Old 06-14-2007, 01:42 PM
 
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Although I am not formally trained in Responsive Classroom, I model my first six weeks of school after their recommendations. Lots of cooperative games and activities, lots of "getting to know you", lots of talk, lots of explicit instruction about things that we don't usually think to teach about (ie. how to use a crayon...yup, I do a 40-minute guided discovery on crayons with my second graders).

I also teach routines explicitly. I spend A LOT of time teaching routines and procedures at the beginning of the year. Knowing what to do and when to do it helps children feel more confident. When they are more confident, they take more risks in their learning. Routines and procedures also build community, because they know that "this is how we do things in room 12".

We write a class promise (our classroom rules) and we all sign it.

This year I used The Daily Five plans to build stamina for independent work. I feel that this really built my students' confidence...they couldn't believe for how long they were able to read! I don't use The Daily Five in my classroom, but their suggestions for building independence are fantastic.

I really recommend the Responsive Classroom books:

The First Six Weeks of School
Rules in School
Morning Meeting Book
Classroom Spaces that Work
Teaching Children to Care (I haven't actually read this one, but I know that it is the foundation for RC)

Next year I need to learn how to explicitly teach group work. I really feel that I failed here this year...I just couldn't get my kids to work cooperatively with more than one other person. As soon as they were working in groups of 4, I had to spend all my time running around and putting out fires. Anyone have any recommendations on books or websites for teaching children how to work collaboratively?
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Super!
Old 06-14-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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Love your suggestions!
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A book that has really helped me out...
Old 06-14-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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The first days of school by Harry K. Wong is a really amazing book to read! Most def. a worthwhile read!
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Morning Meeting Question
Old 06-14-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Can you have your Morning Meeting at any time of the day? I have students who are pulled out as soon as the announcements are over. It seems counter productive to have a class meeting so children will feel valued and included if some of them are gone. Can it be done after lunch or in the morning when we switch from one subject to another?


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sure
Old 06-14-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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we had to have ours right after lunch last year because of students in and out of the room...just call it your "class meeting" then you can have it any time of day!
works great!
the kids had no qualms about it!
Kym
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Positive Discipline
Old 06-17-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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The book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson is wonderful. It works on community building and class meetings. There are lots of versions as it has been out for a long time but no matter which one it is great.
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Random
Old 06-18-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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I read The First Six Weeks of School but I still don't quite understand guided discoveries. Can you explain how you do it?
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Kagan Cooperative Learning Activities
Old 07-28-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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I use books called classbuilding and teambuilding, both have great activities. http://www.kaganonline.com/Catalog/index.html
The Kagan company has great conferences too but they are expensive. http://www.kaganonline.com/AboutKaganFrame.html
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