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The Teacher Tip

Take Action to Build a Classroom Community

July 3, 2018

Adapted from Book Love by Penny Kittle. 

Building classroom community is dropout-prevention work. We read, write, talk, and think together in the classroom. There is collaboration and interdependence in our work, and these kids belong together. Everyone belongs. The moments that bind our students, one to another, are the very moments when we need to be most thankful. These are the moments that keep kids connected to school.


Penny shares three things she's learned about building community:

  1. Assign seats. Put kids into groups to mix abilities and interests. If students always choose their seats, they choose their friends and some students are left out.
  2. Change seating assignments every month. Mix it up so that every student comes to know all the other students during the year.
  3. Build talk into everything that happens in the classroom. Think of this talk as sharing thinking, not finding the right answer. 

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