This Classroom Was Made for You and Me: Building Community through Curriculum

Our communities are as diverse as our classrooms. How do we build a unified community in the classroom, while supporting the individual needs of each student? We can begin by looking beyond the classroom.

The places where we live help shape who we are, which is why we’re focusing on the neighborhoods, towns, and cities that we call home in this month’s theme unit: Our Communities. Each student has a unique set of needs—and a unique perspective formed by their cultural, geographical, and social values. 

Let’s talk about some fun, fresh ways for students to see the differences that make communities unique—and the characteristics that unite us all. 

• Honor difference through role-play: 

Role-playing is a useful strategy to help students with special needs learn social skills, but it can also be a tool to teach empathy and strengthen community. Encourage imaginary play that allows students to see the world from different perspectives. 

Offer students “badges” or “I.D. tags” to get them in the spirit. The November theme unit includes community-themed badges to personalize the material for each student. Badges can also be used as fun props for role-playing activities. 

Bring students together with games:

Games are another strategy to improve socialization skills for students while bolstering team-work and community

Split up matching pairs of pictures and prompt students to find their friends with matching pictures.

The “Who Has the Community Location?” game asks students to identify a place in their community, and then find the student with the matching location. Students at the reading level match written labels to pictures.Click the image to the right to download this activity!

• Plan field trips that showcase communities: 

Community outings show students life in the world outside the classroom. Take students on a field trip to a local community garden where they can work together in the dirt, and reap the fruits of communal work. 

Building a community in your classroom doesn’t have to be a grueling task! Check out this month’s theme unit for more ideas on teaching diversity, while bolstering community!