One of most elementary teachers’ favorite fiction books, Our Class is a Family, by Shannon Olsen is the perfect book to read on the first day of school. This cute book teaches social-emotional skills, social skills, and just how to be a good human in general. Read on to find 10 classroom-building activities and help create a class family; fostering positive relationships and cultivating a sense of classroom community right from the start of the school year!
Teach students about inclusion with the story and then have them complete this meaningful flip book writing activity to display on a bulletin board. This would be a meaningful writing skills activity for the first weeks of school and includes a helpful list of needed supplies.
2. Classroom Family Pudding
Make a delicious family pudding using pudding cups and a variety of candies. When it comes to classroom community building, food gets kids both excited and cooperating faster, so be sure to add this fun activity to your next lesson plan!
Learn more: Hollie Griffith
3. Make Connections
This school bulletin board display and activity set is the perfect companion for Our Class is a Family. This set of activities has a variety of options- use one or use them all! With a focus on making connections and comparing, you’ll want this in your toolkit to start the year.
Learn more: Amy Lemons
4. Incorporate The Book Into All Subjects
Use this wonderful book for all subjects! With word work and an “I like my class” booklet for reading in English class, addition and subtraction activities for math lessons, videos for how other schools are similar and different for social studies, and more, this set will impress teachers of all subjects!
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5. Read-Aloud With Activities
Launch a discussion about kindness by integrating a variety of skills and tasks for social-emotional learning using Our Class is a Family. After reading, complete a vocabulary matching game to learn words like “respect” and “differences” and other vocab that is tied to social-emotional learning.
Learn more: The Core Coaches
6. Class Friendship Bracelet
Encourage a positive classroom environment with a special classroom promise. Each color of the bead represents a quality needed for a positive classroom community. Students will love having this treasure to wear day in and out and be reminded of their classroom commitment.
Learn more: My Fabulous Class
7. Book-Based Activities
Practice reading and making words in this favorite classroom activity! Perfect for use within the first week of school as a reader’s workshop while kids build a positive connection with teachers.
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8. Book Reviews
This creative lesson plan takes Our Class is a Family and creates ownership for the students. Students will read the book and then write a book review that includes a summary, connections to the book, why the classroom family is important, and student recommendations to display on a bulletin board.
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9. Anchor Charts
Create a classroom contract and extend what students have learned from the story. By creating a collaborative anchor chart, learners work together to discuss what roles everyone in their communities plays.
Learn more: What I Have Learned Teaching
10. Classroom Family Portraits
Invite students to bring in photos of their families to strengthen the sense of classroom community by connecting learners even more. Have students host a show-and-tell session so that they can describe their family members to the rest of the class.
Learn more: Learning for Justice