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Archive for the ‘classroom community’ Category

Together we Stand

Every year, building our classroom community is one of my ultimate favorite things to do! I love it because I feel we begin to build our “family.”  We learn how we can work together as a team, support each other, and be the best we can be!  Every year our classroom community looks different.  We have a basic foundation to our framework but each year the children lead us.

This year, I decided to use the book The Peaceful Classroom: 162 Easy Activities to Teach Preschoolers Compassion and Cooperation By Charles A. Smith, PhD as a supplement to my teaching.  This book offers activities to build and then support the classroom “family.”  One of our favorite songs from the book so far is below. We are currently using this song to  start our group.  In the book the rhyme goes as follows:

Hands together, make a group

Hands together, make a group

All together, here we stand

This is our group, so lend a hand

After trying to follow the lyrics, the children condensed it and made it their own by chanting:

Together we stand and we lend a hand!

A few days ago, I forgot to begin group this way.  I was quickly reminded it was time to link hands and chant.  When a friend had to get up to wipe his nose and wash his hands, we all waited to make sure he was a part of the song.

Teachers: What is something you do to build classroom community?

Families: What is a ritual from your family?

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The Power of a Child

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a training called Engaging Young Minds which was taught by the WONDERFUL Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard. This conference taught me many things that I use on a daily basis in my classroom. One of the ideas that we were taught at the conference was the idea of having a treasure chest. A treasure chest is a container with materials for the children to represent with anytime. At the conference, we were broken into groups and each had a project of our own that we started and finished. We had to fully engage in each of the three phases of the projectOne of the items that I used when I represented for the project I did during the training was aluminum foil. Prior to this conference, the only time I would have used aluminum foil would have been to cover my food up at home! This morning, I set out the treasure chest for the children to represent several bird’s nests that we had been talking about over the course of the last few days. I had recently added aluminum foil as one of the items to the chest.

One of our children worked with the aluminum foil for an hour and a half. After he was done, he encouraged his friends to join him to see his accomplishment. The friends gathered and began to clap for him sharing comments such as, “I knew you could do it! You worked so hard!” “That is amazing!” and “Wow! Can you teach me?”

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