Share Rituals to Build Community

Routines in the classroom are an important classroom management tool. Knowing what will happen when they arrive, where their belongings are stored, when breaks and lunch happen, are all part of the daily and weekly routines that help students feel safe and secure. The structure in their daily routines and interactions with others helps students know they belong and leaves room in their brains for learning. Although there are many similarities from classroom to classroom, you as the teacher, have your own unique style and traditions that make your classroom unique. These traditions also give you and your students a sense of place and identity; it may be how you break out into song, how you welcome each other into the classroom, how you celebrate mistakes or special things you do on certain days of the week. Your students also come from a variety of backgrounds and hold their own traditions. Discussion of each student’s family rituals and traditions – particularly around holidays – helps children understand and accept each other and empowers them to claim their own heritage and uniqueness with pride.

  • Engage students in an art project to make collages of their family traditions around food, celebrations, – either individually or in small groups. Discuss similarities and differences with support and curiosity.
  • Invite parents to come to school to share family holiday traditions.
  • Read stories aloud which celebrate a variety of cultures and traditions.
  • Have students decorate a holiday card for each of their family members, including an appreciation inside.
  • Ask students to share their favorite holiday tradition with a partner. The partner then shares what he/she heard with the class.
  • Take a gratitude walk with your class around the school grounds. Have them observe the things they are grateful for in their school community.  Make a list to post in the classroom.
  • As the holidays approach, begin a new routine of a daily mindfulness exercise in your classroom, to help with self-regulation.