The work you do at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the rest of it. That’s why we put so much time and effort into building our classroom communities. During that first month back, we create classroom agreements together, do icebreakers to get to know each other, kick off class meetings, and so much more. For some fresh, new ideas for building classroom community in grades 3-8, we love this Timely Topic from Blue Apple.
Find four 15-minute mini-lessons that go a long way toward creating that positive classroom culture so essential for learning. Do one or do them all! These no-prep lessons are ready to go and can be done in virtual or in-person environments.
Nothing like a STEM challenge to promote collaboration! Assign your students one of five challenges to complete in small groups, from classics like the spaghetti skyscraper to newer ideas like creating something from eight random items (it’s a Goo Goo Doll!).
The Baboons’ Dilemma
This fun game of fishing baboons reveals the power of cooperation. Students will play five rounds with five different partners, each time getting the opportunity to cooperate or betray. When they add up their scores at the end, they’ll realize that if they’d cooperated every time, each student would have caught 75 fish. Yep, acting selfishly is as bad for you as it is for others.
Made for Me
Fostering friendships among your students is a key part of building classroom community. In this activity, students conduct an interview or play a memory game to get acquainted and then plan a handmade gift for their new buddy. We love that everything is included, from game cards to a planning sheet to photos of student examples.
Crafting Our Classroom
If you’ve been doing classroom contracts for a while now, this activity will be a nice refresh (building out the contract digitally? Yes, please!). And if it’s your first time? The slideshow will guide you through developing norms with your students around big questions like: “How do you want to treat each other?” and “How should we handle conflict?”
Ready to try these lessons? Download the Classroom Community Timely Topic.
And be sure to check out all of the free Timely Topic Lessons available, as well.