Some of the things that I do to build classroom community is to really get to know each child and their family. One of my first show & tell themes for the year is for each child to bring in a photo collage of their family. Then, I give each kid a chance to share their collage with the class. I also work with the class to create classroom agreements in order to establish ground rules and a sense of ownership over the class. I also have class jobs that rotate each week, this way the kids are able to take on specific tasks (messages, table cleaning, assistant, calendar, etc.) that give them responsibility within the classroom.
Each year, I make a community wall titled "Our Community of Learners" and have students make big name cards that go on the wall. I also teach students what a community is and what it means to be part of a community. I read books like Chrysanthemum, My Name is Yoon, Ish, Swimmy, Molly Lou Melon, Hey Little Ant (and many others) and we discuss them and the qualities they promote. Here are some other ideas: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2012/09/building-classroom-community-picture-books
I also highly recommend Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey.http://humaneeducation.org/blog/resource/black-ants-and-buddhists-thinking-critically-and-teaching-differently-in-the-primary-grades/
It's a great guide to building community in the classroom.
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Creating a classroom "agreement" together with the students input is a great way to start. They will need some guidance, but it will serve as a great way to work together as a class and give the students ownership over their classroom rules. I also like the idea of pairing children up multiple times of the day with new and different partners to do a task so that at the end of a week, every student has had the chance to be paired up with each other.
I think humor is important in the classroom. There's always concerns about boundaries and student perception, but simple things like using funny graphics as part of the lesion will help.
Every year we made a community quilt by sending home project "Al About Me". In this project family create a collage about their culture where they include pictures of traditional costumes, a family picture, traditional food, and any other pictures from heir culture that are relevant for them.
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