Quick and Easy Classroom Community Builders for Middle School

 Have you ever felt like you don’t have time to build classroom community? I mean, you have enough to do, right?!
 

You need to plan engaging lessons that align with state standards, differentiate those lessons to meet individual student needs. Then you need to actually teach the lessons, grade student work, provide meaningful feedback, attend (sometimes pointless) meetings, respond to parent emails, and maybe…just maybe, take a minute to drink your coffee or go to the bathroom!

But…in the back of your mind, you know how important classroom community is!


 

Building community In the classroom

doesn’t have to be just another thing!

Group of middle school students participating in activities to build classroom community. One girl is raising her hand and students look happy.

 
To build a strong classroom community, you need to build relationships with your students AND provide opportunities for them to build relationships with each other. 
 

Three quick and easy classroom community builders

 

Build community every day:

 

Add an icebreaker question of the day type activity as a bell ringer or warm up. Answers could be shared as a whole class discussion, with table partners/small group, or individually.

These are a perfect solution for that noisy first 5 minutes of class when students want to chit chat while you’re trying to remember to get attendance taken!

Using a mix of questions including funny, though-provoking, and ones that help you understand home life and social emotional skills will keep your students entertained while you really get to know them.

Try using the Question of the Day in your classroom!

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Tracking data can build community:

 

You’re probably thinking that you track enough data already, right?! This is a different kind of data though…and it’s more important than all of the other data combined!

As you learn new things about your students, whether it comes through the question of the day activity or other source, keep track of it in a spreadsheet so you can talk to them about it later! Getting to know your students and showing them you care about what they tell you, by remembering it and bringing it up again later, is central to creating a positive classroom culture.

Why a spreadsheet? Well…honestly, I was never able to remember it all! Typically, middle school teachers see more than 100 students in a day…that would be A LOT of information to try to memorize!

This student information tracking spreadsheet is set up to help you record the important information that students share with you.  It is preset with common categories of information middle school students share – You can add to or change the categories, as needed. Created in Google Sheets, it can be easily shared with your team and/or student support services.

Example of Student Data Tracking Spreadsheet in use on laptop

 

Student Data Tracking Spreadsheet - Multiple categories of information

 

Student Data Tracking Spreadsheet in use on iPad

 
 

Building community through rewards:

 

As much as we would love them to be, many teens are not intrinsically motivated and may need a little incentive to get stuff done!

Cue printable classroom reward coupons.

As you start to build those positive teacher student relationships, you will learn what they like and what it important to them.

So, why not capitalize on that and motivate/reward with things that actually matter to middle schoolers?! Things like bringing snacks and drinks to class, working with a friend, free time, and assignment passes were always in high demand in my classroom!

Printable Classroom Reward Coupons -

 

Printable Classroom Reward Coupons -

 

Printable reward coupon to

 
What other quick and easy classroom community builders do you use?  
Let us know in the comments below!
 
 

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