Class builders are an awesome tool for keeping your classroom community tight. They are honestly one of the secrets to students’ relationships that last beyond the school year.
Throughout my time in the classroom, I have seen these activities perform miracles, but have also seen them go totally wrong. Let’s take a look at five things people commonly get wrong about class builders.
1. Using Class Builders Only at the Beginning of the Year
This is probably the biggest thing I see people getting wrong. The first week or two of school is class builders galore. You love them, your students love them.
But then, it stops. Where you were doing at least two every day, suddenly you are doing none at all.
Class builders are NOT only for the first week of school. They are for all the time! You cannot expect to keep your classroom community bonded without working on it all year. That would be like saying once you are married you no longer have to work on the relationship, which is certainly not true. (Says the single lady.)
2. Only Using Them for Fun
I have met a lot of people that view class builders as brain breaks and they most certainly are, BUT they can also be used with content. When you use a community-building activity with content you are getting more bang for your buck because students are engaged in learning and building relationships at the same time. What more could you ask for?
Check out this post with ideas for class builders that are great for content.
3. Not Modeling Each Class Builder
Once you do something once your students totally know how to do it until the end of time, right?
Not so much.
I see a lot of people who are not modeling their expectations. Some don’t even model them the first time. Wild, I know!
Each time you complete a task you should model your expectations or better yet, have students model them for you. This will save everyone some stress and make your day smoother.
4. Always Using the Same Class Builder
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have my favorite class builders, but I try new ones too!
I have seen some classrooms that use the same 2-3 class builders every single time, and while this is better than none at all, the routine can get a bit stale.
Try to aim for 7-10 different class builders that you can rotate through with different content and topics. This may seem like a lot, but start with two and add one each month until you get there. You and your students will both appreciate the introduction of novel activities to the classroom.
5. Staying Seated During Class Builders
Class builders operate on the idea that students want to talk, move, and interact with their peers. You need all three of these elements to truly be successful.
This is not to say that sometimes students stay seated during a class builder, but it shouldn’t happen every time.
Activities such as quiz quiz trade, find someone who, or who am I? allow students to get in some movement while working with multiple peers. Win-win!
The Key to Class Builders
The key is to have fun! No really, these community activities should be fun for everyone. The purpose is to build relationships and this is achieved through enjoyment and finding common ground.
Try a Class Builder Today!
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