Positive Classroom Community Activities and Ideas
January 2, 2022
Building a classroom community where students feel included, valued, and supported is every teacher's dream. As educators, we want our students to feel like important members of our classroom community. Of course, this happens naturally in the way we interact with students and the way we celebrate learning in our classrooms. However, I've found that it is also effective to include intentional activities that help students build bonds, develop social emotional learning skills, and foster a positive learning culture.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to build a positive classroom environment...
Writing notes to students is a wonderful way to let them know how important they are. Many students have a deep desire to be noticed and recognized. Taking a moment to share a kind note with kids is a perfect (and easy) way to let them know that they matter.
The notes you write don't need to be extravagant. Sometimes a little message next to students' homework assignments or a post-it note at their desks is perfect. You might also want to be more intentional and designate a day in your planning to write notes to students. I've found that it's best to keep a set of notecards at the ready for sharing with students.
Build a positive classroom community by giving students a chance to be kind to each other. One of my favorite ways to do this is to play "Pass the Compliment." Begin by discussing what constitutes a sincere compliment, and how to give specific praise. Explain to your students that a comment like “good job” is less powerful than a comment that begins with “I really liked the way you...” Once they’ve got the gist, have them put their new skill into practice by writing specific, sincere compliments about their classmates by passing around customized compliment collecting papers for each student.
Promote positivity in the classroom with inspirational quotes and writing prompts. One way to do just that is with positive pennant flags. First, students will choose a motivational quote that inspires them. Then, they’ll respond to a writing prompt based on the quote. The writing prompt gives students a chance to pause and reflect. Finally, students combine their writing with a pennant topper with a motivational quote to make a fun and inspiring pennant flag.
These pennant flags make incredible displays. They’re easy to create and impactful to share. Your students will love this community-building, classroom-beautifying, writing-practicing, positivity-creating activity! Check them out here.
Create a "sea" of kindness in your classroom one drop at a time. Build a positive classroom community by hosting a Random Acts of Kindness challenge in your classroom to encourage students to spread kindness at school, home and in the community. In this activity, students perform four random acts of kindness and record their good deeds on “drops of kindness.” The drops of kindness can be collected and displayed in the classroom as a reminder of the power and impact of small acts of kindness.
Get this activity (and 5 more FREE kindness activities) directly in your inbox. Just click here. Give students a chance to investigate positive emotions like hope with the Chain of Hope activity. To begin, you have a discussion about hope with students. Students could share a time when they were hopeful and why hope is an important emotion. Then, give students a chance to create links for a classroom chain of hope. On strips of colorful paper, have students write a hope for themselves, their classroom, their community, and the world. Then, as students share their hopes, link the pieces of paper. Finally, hang the chain in the classroom. Find this activity and more here.
Speaking of emotions, take time to help students build their social emotional learning skills. When students have a chance to explore emotions, they build more self-awareness. As their self-awareness increases, so does their ability to show empathy, build positive relationships, and make thoughtful decisions. Social emotional learning activities are a crucial way to promote a positive classroom community.
One way to help students explore emotions is by having them work collaboratively to create an emotions skit. Assign small groups an emotion. Then, have students plan and write a script that showcases someone experiencing that emotion. Give students a chance to practice their skits before performing them for classmates. Find detailed planning pages and 5 additional social emotional learning lessons here.
I think we both agree, there's nothing better than a classroom filled with positive energy. I hope you've found a few ideas to make your students feel connected to you, their classmates, and the school community. Grab each idea at these links...
--- Free Positive Notecards
--- Free Compliment Posters
--- Positive Pennant Flags
--- Free Acts of Kindness Challenge
--- Chain of Hope (and 5 more activities)
--- Emotions Skit (and more Social Emotional Learning Ideas)
Thanks for stopping by!