Thursday, August 27, 2015

Building Communities

As we start the school year, it is so very important to build that classroom "community" within your courses or grade level. To create those moments for students that allow them to get to know each other, share themselves and find things in common. I really like the beginning of the school year for this reason! I want my students to start bonding and for everyone (me included!) to get comfortable and settle in for the school year ahead!

Ever been to a tech conference? They know how to crank up community building there! One of the favorite places for many at these conferences are "photo booths", a place/area participants visit to don wigs, goggles, hats, and other fun party favors and have some fun. The purpose? Encourage playfulness, snap a selfie and share out with others! This activity taps into everyone's inner child and encourages the spirit of fun and togetherness while learning together. 

How about taking that idea to your own classroom? Go browse the closeout area of party stores or visit garage sales to find any prop or party favor for your own "photo booth" in the classroom. Then, bring your camera, tripod, set up a small corner of your class and take photos of students having fun posing for posterity. You also can share your pics with your students as well- they will love seeing themselves and also will want to share their moment in your class with others on social media! 

For me, it was a success and worth the extra prep work and I would absolutely do it again. I loved seeing the bright smiles and goofy expressions of my students this year as I photographed them. It helped everyone take a break from the material and encouraged team-building, and was a nice brain break for about 10-15 minutes. This activity helped my class gel more as a learning community.

Why don't you give it a try? Setting up a photo booth in a corner of your classroom for a couple of days with your students is a valuable use of class time. It helps cultivate a stronger sense of community among everyone, leads to increased support and togetherness and is a fun way to let kids just be kids! 


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