making connections; building community


The bell rings.

And a new group of kindergarten kids are mine for the next 10 months.

Mine to get to know;  to build connections, and create community.

Lora from Adventures in Teaching Grade One posted her intention to connect more this school year - be a connected educator, connect with her students, their families, her school colleagues and her district colleagues.   Couldn't express it better, so I won't.

Without connections, there cannot be community.

Here are some of my random thoughts about connecting and creating a classroom community.

I need to let my kidlets to know that they are safe and loved (in an appropriate teacher sort of way) in the classroom and in the school.

That means more listening than talking.  I need to listen to  each child every day.  Hear what they are wondering and thinking and feeling.

Share who I am with my kidlets and their families.

Matt Gomez of My Hullaballo posted about his classroom theme - relationships.  He is putting family pictures in a digital frame.

I love that idea and will be going through some ancient photo albums and scanning some pictures for our class digital frame.  Kidlet family pictures will be added to the photo play list.  

In Designs for Living and Learning by Deb Curtis and Margie Carter (my main go to book for creating a classroom environment) suggests posting an "about the teacher" poster where the kids and parents can see it.  Might do that this year, or might do the "All about Me" family project collage that the kids do at home before school starts.  

Sharing experiences builds community.  

We need to have fun and laugh together. 

Singing songs, old favourites and soon-to-be favourites, reading class participation stories (We Share Everything by Robert Munsch is a beginning of the year favourite of mine), exploring the school forest, our first fire drill ....  all our shared experiences build our class story.  We talk about what we did, what we liked. what we will do differently next time.  That gives our community a past, a present and a future.

Creating our class rhythm and ritual defines our days, weeks, months and seasons. How do we start our day. How do we close our day. Busier times, Quieter times.  Inside.  Outside.  Lunch. Fine Dining Fridays.  Lost teeth.  Birthdays. Special days.  

Nothing brings people together like food.  The creating and sharing of food gives the kidlets the opportunity to act as both host and guest - to offer and be served.  

We make bread (in the breadmaker) every Monday.  Kids who want to, help me measure the ingredients at the beginning of the day.  As we move through the morning, our class smells incredible.  At the end of the morning, we break bread together - literally.  We celebrate that we get to spend another week together.  

During the year, we go fishing, make applesauce, muffins, cookies, Chinese food, pizza, ice cream.  We like to eat together. 

Shannon Weibe (Madame Belle Feuille) posted about creating classroom mission statements.  I love the idea.  At her school, all the classes create their own mission statement for the year and post them outside the classroom. brilliant.  We will be creating our class mission statement this year (and I will be inviting/harassing/cajoling the other teachers to join me). 

Creating our classroom community is a year long endeavour.  At the end of our year together, I know that our connection will change.  The kidlets will move on. It's always happy-sad to see them head off to another classroom.   

And I will open my heart for the next crew.  

That's where we are now. 

Getting everything ready and preparing to love the new crew.


  1. I love how you think. I look forward to every new thing you share. I feel exactly the same about the importance of building community. Thank you for putting the time in to share your great love and work.

  2. Building a community is a year-long process in my classroom also. I always hate losing the sense of camaraderie I have with a group of kids at the end of a school year, only to begin again. :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  3. That is an excellent book, it's on my shelf too! Have fun next week.

    Liz :)

  4. All of your ideas for creating community are wonderful. I think that rituals are so important in establishing community because they let the kids feel "this is what WE do in OUR classroom." I am really looking forward to using We Share Everything when we start school. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the "Pay it Forward" package. I can't wait to share it with my class. I feel so lucky to have "met" you through the blogging world. You really are an inspiring teacher. Thanks!
    Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales

  5. Well said! I love your routines to build community, in fact I'm looking for a bread machine at garage sales!

    1. Lora - I got mine at our Thrift Shop for $10. Some of the best $$ I have spend on my classroom.


  6. Sorry I wasn't finished. I love your blog! Keep it up :)

  7. I completely agree! I have always said, if a child knows that you care about them, you can teach them anything!

  8. Your classroom sounds like a lovely warm place to be:)
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers


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