There is a chapter in Dave Burgess’s book, Teach Like A Pirate, that is all about rapport and building a relationship with students. I am a firm believer that the most important thing I do as a teacher is build a classroom environment where my students feel safe and are willing to take risks and be silly!
Treat your students like humans and not people you’re in charge of. Talk to them. LISTEN to them. Get to know them. What do they like? What are their hobbies? Learn about their families. Share with them. I think this is so crucial aspect of building rapport. My students need to see me as a human. As a real person and not just the mythical, legendary TEACHER! I share a lot with my monsters! I always shared with them what I did on the weekend, I let them know if I am having a good day or if something upsets me or makes me happy. They knew my favorite foods, my favorite color, and they even know of my love of Sonic. And I even tell them when the principal calls me to the office and I get into trouble. The point is that we must see our students as little humans and we must let them see us as a big human. Once you know their interests, hobbies and what excites them, you can more effectively engage them!
I love the quote from Dave Burgess because in my classroom, we do silly very very well! Have you seen our silly hats?! Seriously, once Mr. Greg puts on his silly hat, we all want to wear our silly hats. Dancing? I can’t dance. But we dance a lot. One of the most talked about events of our school year was the visit of Debbie Clement. At one point during Debbie’s amazing presentation, Mr. Greg danced. People, do you know that my kids talked about that moment everyday for the rest of the year. They begged for me to dance. Why was that moment so powerful? They saw me be completely goofy and silly. AND THEY LOVED IT! And guess what? They felt more comfortable dancing.
So, with that said, how do we build rapport and create a classroom where silly reigns supreme?
One of the first things I do in class at the beginning of the year is friendship salad! This activity is a fun and very powerful illustration of what we want our classroom to be like!
The salad illustrates how awesome our class is and then a rotten banana shows up and we talk about what rotten bananas will do to our salad/classroom. Trust me. Throughout the year your students will respond to bad behavior with “No rotten bananas!”
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Ah… ice breaker games is a favorite activity to build rapport!
Having discussions about weekends, family, traditions, etc. and joining in on the discussions by talking about my weekends, my family, my traditions. Also, having pictures of my family around the classroom so that the kids know I am more than a teacher.
I love doing the “Weekend News” where the kids draw/write about their weekend and I can discuss their writing with them while getting to know them. Over time this has become my favorite one on one time with my students and has really helped their writing too!!
hnattkemper at gmail dot com
Each day, we have a sharing circle called “JOY” Bear (we pass a stuffed bear around). Students can share one thing that JUST happened to them, ONE place they'd like to go some day, or something about YOU that you'd like us to know. It's great for turn taking, and covers lots of the listening and speaking standards!
This is a major goal of mine for this new year! To foster a community in our classroom and make us a strong team (hoping it will cut down on bickering and tattling!) So I love seeing all of these ideas! I am going to do a 'morning meeting' each day with a quick team building activity, very excited about this coming year!
We have daily news. Each day a few students share something of their choice with the class and we write it down. By the end of the week everyone has had a turn. It's a great way to get the kids talking in front of the group and we get to work on writing skills too. By having just a few share each day the kids don't get too restless before we are done.
LOVE that you do a friendship salad. So clever. I like getting to know my students and I want them to know me. We spend so many hours together as a class how could we NOT get to know each other….and possibly rock the shopping cart dance moves?
Rowdy in First Grade
These look great! I think the way I build the most rapport with my students is just how I talk about my real life with them and bring it into what we do in the classroom (not necessarily an “activity”- I know). When I model writing they always know the story I'm telling and the people in it are real.
My favorite time during our day is the Oral Language Block. The kids pick where they want to “work”(blocks, kitchen, art area, writing, book area). I get to wander the room and facilitate conversations with them about what they are doing and how they did it. In this 50 min time frame I learn so much about my students likes/dislikes, their families, and their hopes and dreams. Plus they see me as playing along with them not as teaching them. It is a wonderful time in the day and I really get to enjoy being with my students.
Sharing, sharing, sharing. Everyday we share something about ourselves. I always share as well. Every day we meet and talk about the good things that happened that day, as well as the “not so good” things. We discuss how we can do things to make the not so good better. The kids always come up with great ideas. I also do a lot of pair and share and movement to new partners at the beginning of the year to help them get to know each other at the beginning of the year.
First off, I'm lovin' you already on Bloglovin' 🙂 You picked my favorite quote! I love creating and doing outrageous things in my classroom so building that warm environment is so important! I love your friendship salad activity. So fun!
Fun in Room 4B
I like the idea of passing the JOY Bear!! Great idea that I might have to borrow! Thanks!
I love morning meeting!!!! We do it every day and it really does make a huge difference in the community of your classroom!!
I love that you write what they share! Such a GREAT idea!! I will definitely be borrowing that idea! Do you write it on chart paper? Do you display it?
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