School is about learning. The reason we do classroom team-building activities to create strong classroom communities is because dysfunctional ones get in the way of learning, while strong ones magnify every teaching moment in the day.
TIP: Never miss an opportunity to turn an event into a community builder, even if it takes extra time, effort and yes, even unpleasantness.
Easy things include sending a note home to a parent about something amazing their child did in school, or asking for a round of applause for a classroom volunteer.
Harder things...well, here are a few case studies about bullying in schools to illustrate.
As sweet as these kids can be, there is a little mean streak running through most humans. That's the little voice that whispers to all of us at all ages to gossip, or pile on when someone is down, or make fun of differences. These cases require special handling or they will form little wounds that weaken your community.
Click on each of the following links to open a pop-up window with details.
Note:If you have pop-ups disabled, you'll need to enable them in your browser, or, if you prefer, you can review all case studies at once in this PDF document.
There is nothing in any of these case studies that reveal some aberration of parenting, some impact of low socioeconomic status, or some defect of the education system.
Rather, these cases reveal nothing more startling than the fact that children are human and unless they are guided appropriately, they can easily display all the things that make humans disagreeable.
If you are willing to confront some unpleasantness and expend extra effort, you can use any teachable moment to strengthen your classroom team-building activities and your classroom community.
Take at look at classroom community books for good read-aloud ideas.
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