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Vermilion Parish Schools

Activity 5: Building Classroom Community (GLEs: 23, 24. 25)

Materials List: Tops and Bottoms, 6 x 6 colored construction paper, class journal or log

Discuss that each student has special gifts, talents, and abilities which make him/her special.

Next, discuss the importance of showing appreciation for others, and how that contributes to making their classroom a more pleasant place. Then discuss the importance of being able to have and express opinions. Ask students what it means to cooperate? Discuss working together and working alone. Suggest reading books that show students the characters working together (e.g., Tops and Bottoms).  Brainstorm (view literacy strategy descriptions) ways that show people cooperating and getting along.  Help students gain a better understanding and sense of respect for each other. Pair students with someone they do not know well. Have them list ways in which they are alike and different. Have students share their findings.

Ask students if they have ever seen a patchwork quilt. Tell them that many different smaller pieces add to the uniqueness of the larger quilt. Explain that they will create a paper quilt from squares, which will represent ways in which their classroom community can show good citizenship. These squares, when pieced together, will reflect the uniqueness of the class as a whole. Give each student a quilt square (a 6 x 6 piece of colored construction paper). Instruct them to write their names on the squares and draw themselves doing something that would make them responsible citizens in the classroom. Then glue the pieces together and hang them on a wall within the classroom.

Address diversity through the use of class meetings. Hold class meetings during the first half-hour of the school day. Students and teachers should sit in a circle and discuss the day ahead, special projects, etc. Meetings should also provide students with the opportunity to share ideas, concerns, stories, news about family, successes, etc. Keep a log (journal) of ideas and concerns discussed at meetings. This may be used as a foundation for building and improving the classroom community. 

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