Creating a Learning Community

June 20, 2016

 Starting a new school year can be very overwhelming for a teacher who will be receiving a new group of students as well as for a new teacher teaching for the first time.  So now imagine the students starting a new grade level or the students that are going to school for the very first time.  This is a place they may have never been before with people they are meeting for the first time.  I would imagine anxiety levels are high, fearing the unknown, or maybe just scared straight about starting a new school year.  This will be a place that the child will spend the next 177 days for 35 hours a week.  How can teachers make this transition more calming, fun and a safe place to be day in and day out? 

 

When students first arrive, greeting each one at the door by name with a smile and a handshake can give the message that each student is an important and special person.  Also, taking the time to get to know each student will help form a relationship and build a bridge for learning.  Creating a morning routine or ritual such as singing a welcome song can go a long way.  I personally witnessed how my students felt they were part of the classroom community as they joined in to the “Hola Amigo” (Hello Friend) song every morning.   

We often get so wrapped up with academics that as teachers we forget the importance of relationship and community building.  If we take the time to build those relationships up front we’ll get so much further down the road with learning.  So find your favorite morning song and plant yourself at the classroom door, and you’ll reap the benefits throughout the school year. 

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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