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4 Key Components of Effective Classroom Community Building!

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

A healthy and supportive learning environment facilitates more effective instruction, so we want to help you be the best teacher possible this week by talking about community building! Provided below are four key aspects of an effective classroom community that you can focus on to deepen cooperation between students. Though not an exhaustive list, we think these will give you the inspiration needed to experiment on your own.

#1: Commonalities

Many experiential and SEL-focused activities use commonalities as a way to help students get to know one another, and there’s good reason for that! When exploring what they have in common with a group, students begin to feel more like they belong and are more likely to find a shared interest with a classmate -- the start of new friendships.

#2: Expectations

Using group norms to make sure students how they’re expected to behave in class provides the foundation for effective community building. With a clear sense of what actions help the class (ex. Lending a hand, supporting others) and which might be harmful (ex. Excluding people), they will be more likely to engage with others in positive ways. Be sure to outline these expectations for students, and better yet, involve them in the rule-setting process!

#3: Respect

So often are youth told to “be respectful”, but is it always clear what is meant by the phrase? As a teacher, it can be so beneficial to your classroom culture to be clear with your expectations surrounding respect (ex. Using respectful language means saying things that support classmates and refraining from using words that might offend them or put them down) and, perhaps more importantly, model these expectations yourself. It can also be helpful to convey to students the importance of respect: it makes sure that everyone in the community feels safe, welcome, and happy!

#4: Trust

Lastly, trust between classmates takes time to develop, but once it does, it facilitates more deep levels of belongingness and support. Furthermore, you don’t have to resort to high-intensity activities like trust falls (which, let’s face it, are scary!) to develop this trait, it can be built in any situation where a group effectively works together to overcome a shared challenge.

Looking for more activities that build community? Check out this week’s spotlighted content creator, Marilyn Levin!

Marilyn Levin and her vast knowledge of activities have been such a big part of Kikori since our inception, so we are oh so happy to make her our featured content creator for the week! We will be sharing out some of her games soon, and you can download the Kikori app for full access to all she has uploaded there.

More about Marilyn: Marilyn Levin, MSW is a social entrepreneur focused on catalyzing the global transformation that is underway. She is an award winning activist, a professional speaker and trainer and the author of “Experiential Activities for a Better World”. She works at Play for Peace, has founded several non-profits, and directed at our Years Go, KINS Innovation Networks, and the We Go High Project. Learn more about Marilyn at

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