Monday, September 16, 2013

Creating Class Community and a Freebie

Wow! The first few weeks of school have been nutty! Staying at school until 7 or 8 p.m. most know how it is. Lots of changes at the beginning of the year and such. Things should be slowing down now.
One of my favorite parts of the beginning of the school year is building classroom community. The best way to have a successful year is to set up a kind and caring community right from the start. So here are a few things I do.

Check out this book -->  Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

Everyone has an imaginary bucket. The bucket is filled with good thoughts. All day long your bucket is either emptying or getting fuller depending on how you're feeling about yourself. We read this book and a few more to discuss bucket filling and decide to be a class full of bucket fillers, not bucket dippers. We use this language throughout the year. It helps so much with preventing conflict and resolving conflict after lunch recess.

We have buckets in our class to write special notes to one another. Kids go crazy over this!


I tell my class that there are 26 of us in one little room for many hours each day. So how can we all get along and do our number one job...learning!? We create a class promise. All ideas are created by kids and I'm just there to help type it. You'll never see a list of rules posted in my classroom. Here's our promise:
My teammates and I decided to have students make minions this year as their "signature". We used to make paper plate faces with googly eyes and yarn. These minions are much cuter! Kids were ecstatic to say the least! 


All year we talk about putting "wrinkles" in others' hearts. When you are unkind, you can apologize, but you can never fully take the wrinkle away. I teach my class this little rhyme. (I don't know where I originally heard this, so if you know, tell me so I can give credit.)
"Before you speak
Think and be smart
It's hard to fix
A broken heart"

My class has literally taken this to heart. We're developing kind, caring, and respectful students.
   Now for the freebie. I have this poster hanging next to the heart above. Click the picture below to download for use in your classroom. Feel free to print it for other classrooms at your school.
(The top letters look cut off at the top of this picture, but the actual PDF file is correct.)

What do you do to develop your classroom community?

 photo BlogSignatureCousinKatieFORWEB_zps73658019.png


  1. What a cute blog you have! I love your broken heart comment. I am a 2nd grade teacher from Minnesota and I stumbled across your blog from Caffeine and Lesson Plans! I was wondering where you edit your pictures before posting them on your blog. I love that they have a frame and text on them! I am your newest follower and look forward to reading more about what you and your cousin do in your classrooms!
    Mrs. Olson’s Lucky Little Learners

  2. Hi! I'm your newest follower! I'm also a fourth grade teacher and love that you post so many freebies. Thank you!
    Fourth Grade Lemonade