Passport to Success
Building Community in the Classroom

Get ready for the "First Three Weeks with READ 180"!

The following ideas can be used throughout the first three weeks back in school. The activities help to build community within the classroom. 

When students feel welcome in a classroom and feel at home, they are more likely to listen to you and challenge themselves throughout the year. We all have striving readers that haven't had the greatest successes in school, so we need to build a culture of greatness where students make strides to become the best reader and student they can be! Let them see that school can be fun, teachers are kind and helpful, and classmates can encourage them to be their best!

Try the following activities the first three weeks of school:

1. "Next Step: The World"

When my students walk into my classroom, I hand them a shoe print sample. Each student writes their first and last name on the paper shoe. Next, the students write their favorite hobby on the shoe print. Thirdly, the students write goals for the school year and goals for their personal life. The students also decorate the shoes with color pencils, markers, and crayons. After decorating their paper shoes, it is time to share with each other. Set the class timer for five minutes. At this time, students and teacher will walk around the classroom sharing their "shoe statements" and getting signatures with each other. The students sign their name to the back of each other’s shoe. I display the shoes all over the classroom as a reminder to us all that we have dreams and desires that we all want to accomplish! Also, it reminds me to walk in my students' shoes while I am teaching!

2. "Two Circle Meeting"

Number the students around the room #1 or #2. Have the number ones form a large circle around the room. Number ones should be arm's distance apart from each other. Next, the number twos will form a circle inside of number one's circle, arm's distance apart from each number two. Number twos will face number ones. #1's will stand still when the music starts. #2's will rotate clockwise while the music plays. Once the music stops, number twos will share their name and something nobody knows about them with the number one in front of them. You can continue this activity until everyone meets each other. You can also have the number ones move counterclockwise so everybody has a chance to move.

3. "Videoing Introduction"

Type three questions or statements onto a power point slide. 

For example: 
1.  State your first and last name.
2.  What is your favorite hobby?
3.  Name your favorite animal, and tell your partner why it is your favorite.

4.  Comment on your best birthday.

Use any questions or statements that you think your students would enjoy answering.

Next, have the students high five three people in the classroom. Their third high five classmate is their partner.

Then have students turn their phone onto the video camera. Partners will then video-tape each other answering the questions. After each partner is taped, have the partners find another set of partners and introduce each other by showing the videos that were just taped. Your students will get to know each other and get to use their technology! After the interviews have been shared in class have all students delete the videos made.

4. "Rock, Paper, Scissors Champion!"


The teacher will introduce this activity by modeling it with a partner. The teacher will play Rock, Paper, and Scissors with the student. Once there is a defined winner, the loser stands behind the winner and becomes the cheerleader. The two look for another winner and then play Rock, Paper, and Scissors. Again, when a winner is found, the losers join the winner by standing behind the winner and cheering on their player. When two players are left, the team has two minutes to come up with a cheer to support their player. The teams cheer their player on until the champion is defined! Again, it's another way to engage your students into getting to know one another!

5. "Building Relationships with Rock, Paper, Scissors Game."

The Rock, Paper, and Scissors model is a good way to build relationships. Students find a partner. Everybody in the class starts off as an egg. Everybody places their arms straight above their head grasping their hands until they play Rock, Paper, and Scissors. The winner of the game becomes a chicken. The winner clucks and places their hands under their arm pits and finds another chicken to play the game of Rock, Paper, and Scissors. Meanwhile, the egg finds another egg to play with. When the chicken wins, it becomes an eagle. The winner puts their arms straight out and raises them up and down. The eagles can play the game with an egg or chicken, but everyone else has to play with its likeness. If a chicken loses, it stays a chicken. It can only move up. We are all moving forward positively into our future. Do not allow anyone in the class to stay an egg or a chicken. Make sure the whole class becomes an eagle! Your class is your family, and you will all work together to help everyone succeed!

6. "Positive Energy"

Supplies: 18 balloons, 3 garbage bags, 3 water balloons, 18 pens

Have everyone get one balloon. Blow it up and tie a knot. Have all students write positive comments and statements on their balloons. Have students number off from 1-3. Have the students gather in their same numbers and place their balloons in the garbage bag and tie a knot. The students in the group make a circle and toss the bag in the air, keeping it afloat. The positive comments are weightless in the bag. After a few minutes, have one student per group get one water balloon and add it to the garbage bag. Now, try and keep the bag in the air. Let students see how one negative person can affect a whole classroom by the visual of the water balloon and garbage bag activity.

These are just a few relationship-building activities that can be added to the HMH Stage A, B, and C program. Please let me know if you try these and how they work in your classroom! I look forward to hearing from you on the HMH Community News!

Stage C READ 180 Educator

Philosophy of Teaching All of my life, I have enjoyed working with children and have always desired to teach. It is my belief that no matter what socio-economic background, everyone deserves to achieve his/her educational goals. It is my ambition to facilitate this process.Growing up in the Houston area, I have always been aware of the Cypress-Fairbanks School District. The district's reputation of excellence is well known, not only in the Houston metroplex, but throughout the state of Texas. As a professional educator, it is important to be associated with a school district whose goals for its students are aligned with my philosophy of teaching.