1. Let your students write your a class constitution. Here's a great printable you can use:
2. Help your students get to know each other with buddy interviews. Pair your students with a buddy. Each student will interview his/her buddy. You can use the form below. Buddies will share the results of the interview with the class. While your students are listening to reports, have them fill out the venn diagram.
3. Classroom themes are fun, too. Books such as Curious George or Arthur are great themes for a classroom. There are thematic packs you can purchase at TPT.
Here's one Dr. Seuss fans should check out: Crystal @ Kreative in Kinder made a Seusstastic pack.
Click to go to her TPT store.
Would you like a little "peace" in your classroom this year? Mel D. @ Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations has a groovy packet you should check out!
Click to go to her TPT store.
Michelle @ No Monkey Business has several back to school thematic packets. Themes include: monkey, frog, bees, ocean, giraffe, owl, and mouse.
4. One of my followers from the blog, Every New Beginning, asked for suggestions for building community when you are departmentalized. Teaching 7 sections in one day presents a big challenge. Here are a few of my suggestion. If you have some other ideas, leave a comment below.
How about giving each of the 7 classes a name, with the names having an overall theme. For example if your theme is cartoons, one class could be the Jetsons, another the Peanuts Gang, another class the Looney Tunes, etc. Older students might think cartoons are too childish, so use a theme such as sports teams. One class could be the Spurs, another class the Lakers, etc. This will help each class develop a class identity. You could give class points for things such as 5 points if 90% of the class has their homework, 3 points if 80-89% of the class has their homework, etc.
You could also arrange desks into teams. It's easier for students to get to know 3 or 4 students on a team that an entire class at one time. Give 2 points if everyone on a team has their needed supplies and one point if all but one person has their supplies.
To lessen paperwork hassles, assign each class a color. Example: the Jetson class is the blue class. Students in the Jetson class have blue homework/classwork folders. When they turn in their assignments, captains highlight names on the assignments with a blue highlighter. This will make it easier for you sort paperwork by sections of students plus ensure that everyone has their name on their paper. You will need one highlighter per team. Have captains of your teams highlight the names on class work/homework and then turn in the work to you. Clip the team's paperwork together at the top of the page. After collecting all of the teams' work, put a clip/binder clip on the side of the paper to clip all of the teams' work together. Grade each teams' work, clip teams' work back together, and give graded team work back to captain to hand out to his/her team.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. How do you build community in your classroom?