Tuesday, April 10, 2018

SOL Tuesday: Classroom Culture

As a new-to-the-building (and content and grade level) high school teacher this year, I’ve thought a lot about the culture of my classroom. I used to think that taking the time to build a positive classroom culture was only required at the beginning of the year through a few get-to-know-you activities and strong classroom management, but I have come to realize that building a positive classroom culture is much more than that. It must be ongoing. Intentional. Purposeful.

In thinking about what I have been doing this year to build and strengthen a positive culture, I decided to synthesize my thoughts using the format of a Skinny Poem:  

Building classroom culture takes time.
Listen,
observe,
respond,
converse.
Listen,
confer,
reflect,
validate.
Listen.
Take time building classroom culture.

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Ultimately, I want my classroom to be a safe space where each student feels respected, heard, and valued as a person and a learner. I believe that students will not be in a position to effectively learn if he or she does not feel respected, heard, or valued.

What do you do to build and strengthen a positive classroom culture?

12 comments:

  1. I agree that culture must be built all year round. We sometimes get lost in the urgency of teaching, but must remember to just value the people! I like the repetition of "listen" as it is sooo vital to culture. Thank you for sharing the structure of a "skinny poem". It is new to me, but I would like to try it.

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    1. People first! Always.

      Thank you for your kind comments. This was my first attempt at a skinny poem. Kind of fun!

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  2. I agree w/ your assessment here. My general speech classes are a bit tough this trimester. I’ve been thinking a lot about the curriculum and their reading skills, which aren’t good. Add to that the fear of public speaking. I don’t know if we’ll get through all we need to do w/ speeches, but I do know helping them feel better about themselves as learners has to be the priority. Then today I arrived at school to learn one of our support staff’s middle school daughter committed suicide. The son is a student in our school, and I’m sure many of my students know the daughter. They need to feel valued and loved more than anything else.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Glenda. I'm so sorry to hear this. The family. Your school. Your community. It's all so painful.

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    2. Police are now saying her shooting was an accident. I’ll email details later. It’s all so senseless.

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  3. All year for sure! For little ones coming back from a break is a great time to reenforce what you've been striving for since the beginning of the year.

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    Replies
    1. I think it is important for everyone... it is important for me, as an adult, to belong to a positive community

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  4. Listen, listen, listen ... love the repetition of that word. So important. We have to get to the heart, before we can reach the mind. Relationships are the foundation of learning and respect. You are on the right track! Best of luck on your journey!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! There are still SO many things that I need to do (including to continue to listen better) in building my classroom culture!

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  5. I was glad to see this in my in-box this morning!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I couldn't agree with you more. :)

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    Replies
    1. xo my friend. I always love to hear your insights!

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  6. People and relationships first is a good mantra to follow. Creating a compassionate learning environment (physical, social, emotional) contributes immensely to learning.

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