A quote by Margaret Mead states “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has." I believe that a classroom of diverse children is the place to teach community cooperation. Connections made in classrooms can be a powerful part of present and future lives. I am looking forward to this aspect of teaching. These are some of the opportunities for community building I will present to the students in my classroom.
Contacting parents before the first day of school will begin building high levels of community. I will do this by emailing to them and introducing myself. Included in this email will be two more community building pages. Page one will be a get-to-know-you page about the student. This will be an opportunity for me to become acquainted with the individual student strengths, preferences, and personalities. Page two will create the opportunity for me to get to know the parents and their interests that might be shared to deepen the educational experiences of the entire class.
The get-to-know-you-pages will be an active building community tool. These pages will be used throughout the entire year. Spontaneous spotlight time for every student will celebrate individuality and diversity. We will discover unique talents, commonalities, and differences. Each student will receive papers from fellow classmates after they fill in the blank, “This is what I appreciate knowing about you_________________.”
The third strategy for community building is organizing table teams. These table teams consist of players from a variety of sports. New sports and team positions will be changed throughout the year, promoting increased interaction and a broader scope of friendship. I will use soccer as an example. On a soccer team there are a variety of positions such as forwards, midfields, guards, goalies, and sweepers. Table teams will be organized into positions played on a soccer team. The students that want to play a forward position will all sit at the forward table. This seating idea will expose the students to a new set of students with which to associate, promote common interests, encourage physical activity, and possibly connect them to high school, college, and/or professional people that share the same interests. These strategies contribute to community on many levels.
Daily Community Activity (DCA) is the fourth community building tool. Our DCA’s will consist of pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States, stating the district, school, and class motto. An increased understanding of community size, common interests, and values will create greater understanding and lift the scope of each child’s vision and their influence.
The fifth community I will build will be a learning community. This community will be constructed in class by the students and me. We will discuss elements of community that create a positive learning atmosphere. Topics such as respect given to all, risk-free learning, and appreciation of diverse culture will be aspects of our learning community. Appreciation of cultural events in and outside the classroom will be discussed and promoted. Parents of students will participate by sharing how they contribute to our community through work and personal interests. Individual and group success will be displayed and appreciated by all members of our class learning community.