A successful classroom community promotes positive social skills and academic achievement. Foster a sense of belonging in your classroom with these tips, activities, and unit plans.
The following activities nurture essential:
- Language and literacy skills
- Social and emotional skills
- Charting and graphing skills
- Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell
- Star stickers, at least 50 per student
- Chart paper for a Manners Chart
- Optional: Yard stick
- Using a sheet of chart paper, a yard stick, and markers, set up a Manners Chart. Write students' names down the left-hand side of the chart, leaving space for students to put a line of stickers next to their name. You may want to draw lines between students' names to help clarify whose stickers are whose.
Day 1: Practice Makes Perfect!
Step 1: Discuss definitions of the following words: "courteous" and "polite."
Step 2: Have children role-play examples of friends being courteous and polite at school by taking turns, saying "thank you," and sharing.
Teaching Tip: Before role-playing, give students suggestions for movements. If a student doesn’t feel secure acting out on their own, encourage him or her to invite a friend to join in. Role-playing is a great teaching tool that can be used to encourage understanding and promote creative expression.
Step 3: Read Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell aloud to the class.
Step 4: Explain that friends have more fun working together and playing when they are using their manners. Ask students to recall ways that Clifford used his manners in the story.
Step 5: As a group, create a list of good manners to use in the classroom. Display the list and review it each day by briefly role-playing each manner.
Day 2: I'm Courteous and Polite!
Step 1: Introduce the Manners Chart to the class. Explain how students can earn stickers by displaying good manners.
Step 2: As the school year goes on, give each student place a sticky star on the classroom chart each time they are courteous and polite, individually or as a group.
Step 3: Set goals for rewards at 5, 10, 15, and 20 stars. Present “I’m Courteous and Polite” certificates to students when these goals are reached.
Step 4: Help your class decide on a group reward when everyone reaches his or her goal. What a fun way to recognize and promote good manners at school and home!
Learning good table manners is important at any age!
- Help children learn more about good table manners by sharing visual examples of people using proper etiquette.
- Show children how to set a simple table with paper plates and plastic serving tools. Then have a classroom tea party or picnic to practice good manners and create good habits at the table. Take pictures to create a “Kids with Good Manners” bulletin board.
- Play the BE BIG: Be a Good Friend Video Clip for students.
- Have students color the "C is for Courteous" Reproducible.
These books support Clifford’s Big Ideas and reinforce valuable early literacy skills:
- Clifford Goes to Dog School by Norman Bridwell
- Clifford Barks by Norman Bridwell
- Make New Friends by Rosemary Wells
Also check out the Clifford the Big Red Dog Book List.