Before Content Comes Community
COVID-19 has undoubtedly had profound impacts on education. Because students may have fallen behind academically due to the pandemic, educators may be tempted to hit the ground running with content. Although the desire to gain academic ground is understandable, the truth is that students are in dire need of building social skills and positive relationships. Therefore, it is essential that before content comes community.
The foundation of every successful classroom is community-building. This community isn’t simply built of students, but it’s created among all stakeholders. This includes students, teachers, parents, classroom aides, behavior interventionists, school administrators, and many others. Community-building fosters both social skills and classroom engagement. Increased levels of engagement allow educators to teach more effectively once they do begin content instruction.
Teacher Resources for Building Community in the Classroom
These resources are designed to help ease the transition back to the classroom as well as build a sense of community:
- 10 Simple Icebreakers for Elementary Students
- Icebreakers for Middle and High School Students that Really Work
- Building Community with Restorative Circles
- 60-Second Strategy Shout Outs video
- Getting Started Establishing Ground Rules
- Building Community and Social-Emotional Learning in the New School Year
Community as the Foundation for an Inclusive and Productive Learning Environment
Since having a class with a strong sense of community makes such a lasting impact upon learning, we believe that it’s worth the investment of time and recommend setting aside 5-10 minutes daily at the beginning of the school year for community-building. According to a study by Bryk and Schneider (2004), “healthy relationships build trust which in turn leads to inclusive and productive learning environments.” To continue fostering positive, healthy relationships among students, be sure to schedule community building activities on a repeated basis.
Thank you for reading our resource on building community in your classroom, compiled by our team of educators. We hope you find it a useful addition to your teaching toolkit. Don’t forget to bookmark these resources for future use!
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