Activities to enhance classbuilding (part – 2)

Activities to enhance classbuilding (part – 2)

  • Find Someone Who

‘The Find Someone Who’ activity is a very entertaining hunt where students move around the classroom to find some classmates with defined characteristics. Students are given a worksheet at the beginning of the activity with these special characteristics and they go around the classroom asking questions to find a match. Once they find this match, they write the name of their classmate and find another classmate to ask questions. Greetings here are important to develop good relationships and you may insist that students greet their partners correctly.

  • Guess games

On pieces of paper, students write in secret one thing they absolutely love and one thing they absolutely hate. After collecting the papers, the teacher reads the results out loud and students have to guess who it may refer to.

  • Class projects

Class projects are keys to develop classbuilding and a supportive learning  community.

Class projects are keys to develop classbuilding and a supportive learning  community. When we think about class projects we can think first of all about the rules created by the students. It will be like a contract agreed both by the teacher and students and displayed in the classroom that shows do’s and don’t’s.

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Class projects may also include a birthday chart where students write their birthday and name and that is displayed in the classroom to share presents.

Not to mention the creation of the class name. What about the Amazing Group, the Fantastic Bunch, the Invincible etc. ? Finding a class name can be empowering and leaves your students with a sense of belonging.

Once you have decided on a seating plan that will help your learners best, why not giving some names to the groups as well?

You may also agree on giving students some nice pets names like Miss Smile, Mr Brilliant etc. You just need to make sure these pets names have a positive connotation.

Class projects are varied. You may also consider preparing a play, a musical, prepare a powerpoint presentation, conduct a school survey, engage in a research project, create a class blog or a class newspaper etc.

Activities to enhance classbuilding (part – 1)

Activities to enhance classbuilding (part – 1)

When we start a class with new students we may sometimes be a little anxious. No doubt that the first day in front of a classroom can be stressful and not only for us as teachers but also for our students. No matter their level, no matter if you have adult learners, teenagers or children, many of them will need some help to build on their confidence.

On the first few weeks, our students will be expecting a lot from us. They will be watching and testing your limit and theirs. That is the reason why the first lesson is essential to build a good rapport with our students. The first class should be aimed at promoting a positive learning environment where evaluating levels, desires and needs of our students should leave room to fun activities to know one one another.

Classbuilding activities can be entertaining and they are here to help us to build a good class rapport. Our students will be working together for a while so the sooner they get to know each other, the better the learning environment will be.

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Here are just some examples of these powerful tools that you can use with your students no matter their level.

  • Name chain games

You are sure that you will make an impression on your students and they will acknowledge that you are truly interested in them as individuals.

Sit your students in a circle or semi circle if possible. Ask the first student to say his or her name and something he or she likes. There are plenty of variations for this warm-up. Alternatively instead of saying what they like they can say their favorite word in the target language. Then the next student must repeat all of information of the preceding student and include his or her own information. The next one repeats the information about his or her preceding classmates and so on and so forth until the last student. It is quite challenging but it is a sure way to remember each other’s names and our students’ tastes. A nice trick to do is to go last as a teacher. You are sure that you will make an impression on your students and they will acknowledge that you are truly interested in them as individuals.

  •  Truths and a lie

Instead of introducing yourself right at the beginning of the lesson, an idea would be to give the opportunity to your students to discover a bit more about you through the ‘2 truths and a lie’ game. You simply have to give 3 statements about yourself, your family, hobbies and friends for example and your students guess which are facts and which one is a lie. It will develop your their curiosity and it is a good way to model this classbuilding activity so that I can be done in pairs. A follow-up activity to this can simply be a whole class feedback to engage everybody.

How to build our classroom

How to build our classroom

Classbuilding is key to ensure the success of our students.

Classbuilding is the first step that will provide them a positive support for the acquisition of their knowledge. As students and teachers spend most of their time in the classroom, it’s important to create a comfortable, respectful and positive learning-teaching environment where each individual will find an opportunity to express himself while engaging in cooperative activities.  Our classroom must not be any classroom, it must be a place where our students feel safe and where we –as teachers- can engage with our students on mutual respectful grounds.

Classbuilding means first of all breaking the ice. We need to allow enough time at the beginning of the year to get to know eachother.

Classbuilding means first of all breaking the ice. We need to allow enough time at the beginning of the year to get to know each other.

Not only does it mean getting to know our students’ weaknesses and strengths, it also means knowing them on a more personal level. For example we need to know about their likes, dislikes, family, hobbies, talents, skills etc. as we must remember that through classbuilding we create a link with their personal universe. The classroom becomes an extension of their world and they need to know eachother to feel safe to share ideas and interact. Our classroom is a mirror of a small society and we must keep in mind that nobody should be left isolated. For this reason it is vital for the success of your classbuilding to spend the first few teaching hours in trying to develop strong and honest links with your students and your students need as well to create trustworthy bounds with their classmates. The stronger the links we build, the less drop-outs or withdrawals in the future.

 

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Once you know your students’ personality and you are both acquainted to the classroom the next step to classbuilding is to engage your students in creating a class identity. As mentioned previously your classroom is not just any classroom. It must have a personality, as it is unique! We need to encourage our students to be part of the classroom community by being involved in projects, by being part through classroom displays, classroom common rules, classroom extracurricular activities. Our classroom is unique and we must be proud of it!

 

Classbuilding is a long and complex process simply because we are human beings and as human beings we are all different. Students will come from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We also know that their gender will have an influence on their learning. It is our role as teachers to promote and embrace this diversity. Our classroom must be the nest for mutual respect and active support. Team works, pair works, group projects will be key to achieve this goal. Classbuilding must be a synonym for cooperation where individuals can blossom in a micro society where they are fully respected and valued and where team work help them achieve better.