A FREE downloadable K-12 resource is available in this post…read on!
The beginning of any school year engenders a full range of emotions for teachers as well for our students. The anticipation that leads to the first day, the uncertainties of new procedures and expectations, and the promise of fresh starts can stir up emotional highs and lows for all.
In recent years, our awareness has been heightened regarding the impact of bullying that occurs everywhere from the sandbox to the staff meeting room, and might wonder in what dark cave kindness has been stuffed.
As a teacher who has experience working with children and with adults, I have found that one way to support and nurture a classroom of compassion and consideration for others is to dedicate time for its members to not only have “show and tell” moments, but to also discover commonalities amongst each other. After all, in a classroom of 5 year olds or adult educators, our desires and preferences do not diverge that greatly, and often a seemingly minor connection is what can bind people together to develop compassion and respect.
So what is one way to engender this esprit de corps? One of several activities that I have used with success with all age groups is an activity that I was introduced to called, “Characteristics Connections.”
This is an activity that is a go-to whenever a new group comes together, such as a class at the beginning of the year or a new term, or in elementary schools where flexible class groupings may occur for ELD instruction. (Access a printable resource on how to do this activity, by clicking HERE.
In the meantime, view the following video from Soul Pancake, entitled, “Take a Seat, Make a Friend?” which is an in-depth version of Characteristics Connections.
I’d love to know if you have other routines, practices, or activities you utilize that nurture your classroom community!
I first saw this activity in a workshop you facilitated and I was a participant. I have used several times since, and it is highly effective with adults and young children and everyone in between. Thank you for sharing your great ideas and resources!
I’m glad to hear that you’ve use it with success as well. As teachers, we are always striving to find meaningful and worthwhile activities, and I’m glad to know that this one was of use to you. Thanks for the feedback!