Many of us strive for a strong classroom community with our first graders. A classroom community refers to the level of respect and kindness that your students show to each other. A classroom community is formed when students come together as a class to work towards the common goal of learning. It helps students feel valued and connected to the teacher and other students in the class.
Benefits of a Classroom Community
There are many benefits of fostering classroom communities. Here are just a few:
- It provides a way for all students to be included.
- A classroom community allows students to form and maintain positive relationships.
- It teaches students social skills, the importance of collaboration, and a sense of responsibility towards others.
- Communities create a safe environment, which makes space for all students to learn.
Establishing a Community Early
Before your students even enter your classroom, there are ways to establish that sense of belonging! Two of my favorite ideas include:
Welcome Your Students with a Postcard!
Send each student a postcard! A quick note telling each child that you are excited to be their teacher will instantly make them feel a part of the class family.
They will come to school on the first day knowing that their teacher is anticipating their arrival. If each of your students feels that way, you will be met with a room full of kids who are happy to be there, and excited to meet you!
You can grab my postcard freebie in my Fan Favorites section of my Facebook page!
Label Your Classroom!
Label things with your students' names! When students enter the room, seeing their names on display in multiple places will help them feel like this classroom belongs to them.
Decorate your door with names, label desks, cubbies or hooks, classroom jobs, etc. Need cute classroom door decor? Check out this post all about Unique Back to School Bulletin Board Ideas!
This establishes that each student has a place in your room. In turn, as you introduce expectations and routines, you will see more buy-in from your students!
One of my favorite ways to welcome my class is using these darling personalized labels for their backpack hooks. I go through the yearbook and match up a kiddo with a similar label. Then, I laminate the cards and hang them where their backpacks go. Kids get SO pumped to see a “picture” of themselves right away! I've even heard kids say, “How did she know what I looked like?!”
You can find the personalized student labels available for purchase HERE.
The students love seeing their faces and names! Plus, it gives you a chance to practice learning those names and faces pretty quickly at the beginning.
Using these ideas, your classroom will feel like a family right away! Happy teaching!