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Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond

This is an indispensable book, for novice and experienced teachers, for teachers of young learners or adults, or in the ESL or EFL context. – Scott Thornbury, author of The New A-Z of ELT

Don’t Break the Ice. Build Community.

We all do an icebreaker on day one of class. Then how often do we forget about our keeping strong rapport with students and between students? Until there’s a problem? Community building activities are more than empty icebreakers; they’re a way of ensuring your classroom is a place where students work hard and treat each other with respect.

Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond is a collection of activities that build community in the classroom while students learn. There are a few name games here, because students should learn each other’s names (and so often they don’t). There are getting-to-know you activities. And they serve double-duty, building rapport and having students work in groups, practicing teamwork skills.

The heart of the book is activities that have students working together toward meaningful, and mutually beneficial goals. And the activities are fun too:

  • Plane Crash Survival: Students decide which items are most useful to them after their plane crashes
  • Create a Country: Students choose a new country, draw a map, give it a government, and devise new laws
  • Tell Me About Me: Students try to figure out how much they know or can guess about the teacher. Turn the tables on the typical icebreaker by having them get to know you instead.
  • Settlement: Given a map, students figure out the best place to build a new settlement where they can access food, water, shelter, and stay away from wild animals.
  • Follow Directions: Give each student one part of the directions to communicate to the rest of the class. You can have them build Legos or do a tangram or even origami.

Clear instructions, ideas for varying or adapting the activities, and links to free printable downloads make this a book well worth having, whether you are a new or experienced teacher.

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