Caring Classrooms

There is a MUST-DO activity that I begin on the first day of school.  Once begun and continued, it changes the entire classroom being.  Students want to come to class.  Students know they belong.  Students are engaged.  It's simple really.  Building a classroom community.  Building a place where students know each other's names.  Know how their classmates spend their free time.  Know that in this classroom all students are welcome regardless of skill level, intelligence, abilities, disabilities, athletic prowess, musical talents, skin tone, hair texture, the list goes on.

Simple, that is, if you begin on day one.  Simple, if you know building a classroom community is as important as tackling learning objectives.  Simple, if you consistently build that community during the first 4-8 weeks of school and then maintain it thereafter.  When you and your students are a community, the magic unfolds.

Many gurus write on the topic of classroom communities, but Laurie Frank is an all-star, in my book.  Her book, Journey Toward Caring Classrooms, is filled with research and gems for this must-do activity.  Activity might be too small of a word.  Let's call community building a movement.

If you want to preview the book before buying or scouting it at your public library, check out the free e-book version on Google books.  Laurie covers everything from active listening, to cooperation, to acquaintance activities, you name it.  It is everything you need to know to get started with classroom community building in one book.

Awesome.  Super awesome.



  1. By creating a caring classroom you let students know that it is ok to be who they are. They don't have to bully or be shy or act out. They can know that this is a safe place to learn and explore. I always liked when teachers would ask if there were any questions then remind the students that there is no such thing as a bad question and that if you are unsure there is a great possibility that someone else has the same question.
    This can be a great way to build emotional intelligence- if students are aware and empathetic with their classmates they will have more time for learning and less time wasted on behavioral issues.
    Emillee C.

  2. This should certainly be at the top of your classroom management plan. Linda Albert states that the four goals of misbehavior are attention, power, revenge and avoidance of failure. Incorporating the above is sure to diminish these misbehavior goals which would wipe out the need for discipline and leave more time for learning.

  3. I agree with Damara that setting up a caring classroom eliminates the misbehavior goals that Albert sets forth. If each students feels they belong and are important and wonderful for what they can contribute you eliminate the need for extra attention. In a caring classroom, there is no need to struggle for the power postion, revenge doesn't exist because everyone is considerate of one another, and each student will know that mistakes are ok and the only way you are able to learn sometimes!

  4. Students are always anxious and nervous on their first day of school. Providing a caring classroom provides the safe and encouraging environment for young students to learn and grow. It is important for students to feel the support of their teacher, as well as the acceptance of their peers.

  5. Creating a caring classroom is very important. If a teacher is able to create an environment where the students respect self, others and property the behavior problems will be at a minimum. The teachers do have to coach the students on the acceptable behavior in the classroom. Ana V.

  6. community building in the classroom is a wonderful way to start off the new school year. Everybody gets to know each other and have some fun doing it. this is a great way for people with disabilities to make new friends and not be shy. just keep in mind to keep the activities appropriate for all of your students.--Cindy B.