Children attend school to learn. But what exactly are they learning besides reading, writing, mathematics, etc.? They are learning how to engage with other people. Schools can be viewed as a “mini communities”, a community where everyone is working to achieve the same goal. In order for the community to be successful, the participants, in this case the students, must work together efficiently.
Schools across the Unites States and even the world are adopting “community-building exercises” in the classroom. These exercises encourage students to interact with their teachers and peers more so than the average lesson plan would require. By building relationships with peers and teachers through exercises, the student develop a sense of belongingness.
In 2018, a video went viral of a teacher high-giving every student upon walking into the classroom. Another video showed a student doing the same thing. This small gesture, before teaching even began, lit up the faces of each student individually. A recent study mimics the results shown in the video. With the use of positive greetings at the door, improvements were made in students’ academic engagement and disruptive behaviors were reduced.
Examples of community-building exercises:
Sharing Acts of Kindness
All these exercises focus on engaging with peers and getting to know each other more so than sitting in the classroom would. For example, “Paper Tweets” asks students to create a profile page and bio about themselves on paper. Students can create posts about what is going on in their lives and others can reply back to them.
Quick and simple exercises like these have the ability to boost a child’s confidence and foster interpersonal skills as well. Children learn through hands on experience how to interact with everyone in the classroom, not just their best friends. Acts of kindness are taught, applied, and encouraged in hopes of student’s eventually practicing kindness without promoting it. Overall, community-building exercises take up less than five minutes and benefit both the student and the teacher.
At KlickEngage, we are working to ensure that children in low-income communities have equal opportunity to succeed academically. Want to learn more? Ask us a question here.