Today’s Teach it Tuesday concerns feeling good. In my grade 8 class we do Feel Good Friday every Friday, but last week I found myself with my students for an extra block, so I decided to jump on the opportunity to spread some goodness. We’ve been working really hard on the whole concept of community for some time now and we have engaged in several in class community building activities; however, last week’s activity has been my favourite community building experience with my class so far.

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Here’s what we did! First, we moved our desks into a circle and everyone took a blank sheet of paper and a coloured marker. Then we wrote our names on the top of our paper with the words “you are” following our name (eg. Karley, you are…) Next, we passed our papers to the right and wrote a kind comment about the person whose paper we got. We spent about one minute writing our nice comments and then we passed to the right again. We did this 27 times so that every student had the opportunity to write to every person in our class (I participated, too). The end result was outstanding! The students were excited to collect their papers full of colourful, kind comments. The energy in my classroom was palpable!

Once my students had the opportunity to read through their comments I collected the papers and later that night typed up the “Top 10” comments for each student. My next project will involve creating a Top 10 bulletin board in my class where all students will have their names and top 10 comments posted for all to see. The best part about this bulletin board is that it’s going to be entirely student generated because they wrote the comments about one another. I’ll post photos of the Top 10 board once I have it complete. Until then, I’ll share this photo with you.

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I snagged this photo at the end of our colourful commenting day because this was the first day my grade 8s successfully sat in a circle. It was truly a monumental day for me because I adore teaching in a circle. I hope we can hang on to the circle teaching thing for a while…so far, so good.

Feel welcome to share your favourite classroom community building strategies with us!

Karley