Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers

Alycia

I live in New York

I teach 3rd grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach sixth grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach second grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach PreK-K

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach 3rd grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach fourth and fifth grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach fourth grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

My Back-to-School To-Do List, Part Two: Creating a Classroom Community

By Julie Ballew on August 27, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Getting to know my students is the prelude to the larger goal of getting the students to know each other and building our classroom community.  In my last post, I talked about one of the ways I get to know my students through personalized letters from their parents.  Now, I want to share with you how I use that information by displaying it on student banners that will be used throughout the year in community-building ways.

 

 

 

 

Creating the Banners

To make the banners, you will need a few materials:

  • Large pieces of fadeless art paper: Construction paper will work too, but I keep them hanging all year long, and the fadeless art paper stays true to its name, while construction paper tends to lose color over time.
  • Individual picture of each student: I take these by the door on the first day of school.
  • Adhesive to attach the picture to the banner: I prefer colored masking tape.
  • Markers
  • At least two words or phrases to describe each student: This is where the information from the letters comes in!

Close-up of Banner

I start by letting the students choose their favorite color and then I cut the paper into a banner shape. Then the students write their names across the bottom of the banner and add some simple decorations.  While they are working on this, I move around the room and attach their pictures.  I use colored masking tape because it’s quick, easy, and makes a nice border around the picture.

After I have attached the pictures, I ask the students to think of one word that describes them.  They write that word at the top of their banner.  The student part is done, so at this point, I collect the banners.  On my own, I add two words to each student’s banner – these are words I have pulled from the letters I previously requested from their parents.  When I’m finished, I hang the banners as a border around my classroom.  The colors are beautiful, and the looks on my students’ faces are priceless!  They love seeing the “extra” words on their banners, and they especially love seeing their faces adorning the walls!

Banners on Classroom Wall

 

Getting to Know You Activity

After everyone has found their own banner on the wall, I assign partners and ask each student to choose one word on their banner to discuss with their partner.  The discussions they have really help them learn about each other, and by listening in, I get a better understanding of my students as well.  I definitely add to my student notes information that I learn during these conversations!

 

Reinforcing Community

There are many ways to create a vibrant classroom community.  Student banners are one of my favorite techniques because they can be used in so many ways throughout the year to build on the cooperative learning principles we establish during those first days of creating the banners. A few of my favorites are:

  • Reminding quarrelling students of each other's best qualities
  • Introducing new students to the class
  • Helping substitute teachers learn about the class at a glance

 

Additionally, the banners can come in handy for other areas of learning such as brainstorming writing ideas with students who are stuck for story topics.

I would love to hear how you build a strong classroom community.  Feel free to leave a comment below!

Comments (5)

So simple, when you see it done, and so smart to have it figured out. I will implement the same in my Wood Flooring store in Worcester .
Vibrant colors, the kids actually picked out? Brilliant..I was always deep yellow.
Stef..a passing admirer.

Check out this amazing school fundraiser www.scholarpon.com you cant buy daily deals and give back to schools.
Video link - http://youtu.be/AN4LBgOXS88

Fabulous Idea! Love the banners! :)

I noticed that you are a literacy coach. How fortunate for the teachers at your school! What do you think are the most important things for new teachers to know when developing a classroom community?

What a great way to honor each student. You clearly have a gift for building a community in your classroom. Very nice!

Post a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Back to Top