Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Step One: Build Community

One week down, folks! It's been a very busy week in and out of the classroom. I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who has been cashing in early mornings and late nights. Although, I've said several times that I've been anxiously awaiting having an actual to do list. Now my to do list grows everyday! I've noticed that I've been adding things on the list that I know I can easily accomplish. For example: wake up. check! eat breakfast. check! You can see where I'm going with this. Other things, such as grading assessments and cutting out tribal tickets seem to be reoccurring events that haven't quite been crossed off. 

I wanted to share some of the community building and back to school activities we've been testing out this year. In return, I would love to hear how you're promoting a positive atmosphere in YOUR room. I do love bloggy collaboration!


I talked in great detail of my personal Scrabble woes and my plan to use it in the classroom here. It was AWESOME! I handed out the cut up tiles and challenged the students to create their name (in some way). We had nicknames, last names, and some first names. Students approached our class Scrabble board (butcher paper) and placed their tiles to spell their name. When others were stumped, I had several students chiming in suggestions to help out. It was a beautiful, collaborative, and student driven activity. 

I wish I could show you our finished product, but since it's full of my student's names - you'll have to pretend!

Toilet Paper.

Yes, I busted out three rolls of toilet paper in my classroom. I was very vague with my details as I tossed around TP.  All I said was, "take some toilet paper!" The kids thought it was hilarious. Kids were looping it around their hands while some were taking one single square.  Then, I dropped a community building bomb on them. The rules were that for however many sheets of toilet paper they grabbed, they had to share that many facts about them. Cue the groans all over the room. After they got over the trickery aspect, they had a good time!

Establishing Classroom Norms & Rules. 

Earlier in the summer, I shared my ultra-exciting guest blogging experience HERE with Really Good Stuff. As a class, we came up with a list of our norms. One student asked, "what's a norm?" Before I could chime in an appropriate answer another gentleman replied, "Umm.. it's something you wear to the beach." 

Not quite. Then we had a reminder mini lesson on raising our hand. :)

Job Applications.

As of Monday, students were officially hired for jobs in the classroom. After the excruciating job application process (I kid.. I kid), I reviewed the applications and assigned our first quarter jobs. Two days in and my heart rate isn't near as elevated at the end of the day. Read more about my job applications here!

Later this week, I plan on sharing a few writing and "get to know you" activities! 

Th-th-that's all folks!


  1. Wow, it was a busy week for you! Cute activities!


  2. "What is a norm?" Hahahahaha!!! I would have had to ask what he thought it was! Sounds like you've had an awesome first week. Thanks for sharing!

    Tales of a Fifth Grade Teacher

  3. I love how you had the kids come up with class norms. What a great start to the school year.

    The REAL Teachers of Orange County

  4. These are such great ideas! I get to see my first classroom on Sunday and I can't wait to see how it takes shape :)

  5. I'm in love with the Scrabble idea. So great! We did job applications too. Some of them wrote the cutest responses about why there qualified. Priceless! I started morning meeting this year to kick off our community building. We have been doing group activities and practicing how to greet each other in a friendly and respectful way.

    The Teaching Thief


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