Classroom team-building activities create a strong foundation for your classroom community. The classroom meeting is one of the basic steps for inclusion in the classroom - bringing your students together and building relationships that last.
Some teachers advocate a meeting every day. I believe this approach takes up too much valuable instructional time; team building shouldn't replace instruction, it should only enhance it.
Besides, I don't think it is necessary to have a daily meeting as long as there are other team-building interactions occurring throughout the day (as outlined in greater detail here). A full-blown, gather-on-the-floor, take-turns-sharing class meeting has become my Friday afternoon activity.
The meeting will come to order
I usually wait until the 3rd week of school before having a meeting so the kids can settle in and get to know each other a bit on their own; this makes them feel safer about sharing in a group setting. By the way...
TIP: Those uncomfortable "ice breaker" activities that we endure at training sessions don't go over so well with kids! (And they are barely tolerated by adults!)
For a community meeting, elementary kids do best gathered on the floor. The agenda is very simple:
First, I take care of business by making announcements of upcoming events. Then, I randomly pull cards with the kids' names until everyone has had a chance to speak. They have three options:
You'll hear lots of simple, fun things from the hearts and minds of children:
"Thanks Tom for playing with me at recess."
"My brother got a new dog and it loves to fetch."
A class meeting is nothing more than an organized session of getting to know each other better, communicating feelings and learning how to be kind and polite. Inclusion in the classroom is as simple as that. By the way, there is a time and place for the kids to share concerns, but not during a "formal" classroom team-building activities.
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