Making Over Third Grade!: Building a Class Community
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Building a Class Community

Every year I make sure that I start with several class building activities an that we learn to work in partners so that we quickly establish our class community and "gel" as a class.
Usually, we are on a roll and have that community attitude by day 10. This year we were still struggling through day 16. I felt so frustrated. What was wrong with this class?! What was going on?! After a particularly hard morning (kids swearing and hitting each other at recess) and just not showing respectful behaviors in class (talking over others, still not following basic class procedures) I had had it! Our site had a second grade position open up and I seriously thought of leaving my class to take it - I was THAT frustrated!

I shared my frustrations with some of my teammates and my administrator and took several deep breaths before class started again. After recess, the kids came in and I was honest with them. I apologized to them for my frustration. You see, in my head they are third graders, and third graders can do all sorts of things, but in reality they are still second graders and there are things that we just have to keep practicing. We all took a deep breath and before I could start the afternoon two of my kids from last year who were in the room helping with something asked why some of my kids were talking while I was talking, "after you have just reviewed how to behave." This seemed to be the magic bullet that the class needed - there was a 180 degree turn around in how they behaved and how they responded to each other. Now I feel like we are the class we can be! Now I want to shout:
It is time for our class to get started. I'm ready to get this year underway and now I finally feel like the kids feel this way too! 

How about you? What do you do when your class just isn't coming together? 
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