Building a Caring and Inclusive Classroom
Can my words and attitudes influence the classroom climate? What can I do and say that helps other people feel respected and heard?
In this unit of three lessons, we build a caring classroom culture using literature and movie clips to spark discussions. In lesson one students learn about mindfulness and gratitude to reduce anxiety. In lesson two, they learn how to listen, act, and show empathy in difficult situations. In lesson three, they explore how it feels to enter a new situation, like joining a classroom. The service project provides a concrete step students can take all year to show empathy and practice generosity.
Building a caring and inclusive classroom begins with an understanding of where students are at not just academically, but emotionally. Many students today have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences that affect their ability to regulate their emotions. By teaching children positive behavior and self-regulation, teachers can help improve outcomes for all students. This lesson will introduce students to mindful activities and the use of gratitude journals.
At the beginning of the year we get to create our classroom community. We get to decide how we will learn and grow and play with each other for the rest of the year. This is a new beginning for all. As we start to decide what kind of classroom community we are going to be, we begin by thinking about the importance of the words we use with each other.
Students gain empathy and use language to describe the mixed feelings that come with being new to a community. They watch and discuss video clips and compare character traits. Then they read a book and discuss how the book guides them to welcome new students to the classroom as the year progresses. As a service, they create coupon books for new students to use to get to know classroom routines and people.