Building a Belonging Classroom
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Building a Belonging Classroom

>>Falon: Anything else special
happen this weekend, friends?>>In the pool, I did a cannonball.>>I know how to swim.>>Teacher: You know how to swim?>>I do.>>I know how to blow
bubbles under water.>>Falon: You do?>>Falon: As human beings, one of the most essential needs
we have is the need to belong. In school, children need
a sense of belonging to be able to be productive learners. They need to be connected
to their fellow students, connected to their teachers, to also
be affirmed in who they are in a way that is positive and accepting.>>I take swimming lessons.>>I don’t take swimming lessons.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: In
a belonging classroom, there’s a community being
explicitly built. The teacher knows each child and
things about each of those children that they can mention and draw on.>>Falon: I pay attention, I listen, I’m
really invested in what they tell me. The students feeling loved, students
feeling nurtured, students feeling like they have a place at school. They’re safe, it activates
their brain cells.>>Dr Cantor: Sense of belonging is
one of the most important activators of a child’s engagement in learning. Everything about activating a
child’s cognitive skills begins with activating their
social connectedness. The energy for learning is coming from
the social connection the children have.>>Teacher: But in the end, we’re
trying to come up with an agreement.>>Excellent.>>Kirsten: We’re not going
to comment, question. We’re only going to encourage.>>Kirsten: Because they’re culturally
and linguistically diverse students, I want to really make sure that we
are making them feel connections. All the writing we do in our
class, it’s very much about them. It helps them, promotes
them to find their own voice and to share their stories.>>Anissa: Sometimes people think
every Muslim person is a target or is a terrorist.>>Kirsten: Thank you, Anissa.>>Molly: What did this show us about
what we are good at, as a group?>>Student: Working together
because we often argue a lot.>>Molly: Today, we did an activity that
was really designed to get them thinking about how they’re going
to support each other. I think that reiterating the
idea that we’re in this together, I think it’s hard to find the time
but doing some team building exercises at the beginning of the year and revisiting them can really
help illustrate that point.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: In a belonging
classroom, they have a community that may meet in classroom
meetings to problem solve together, to read stories together, to
tell successes and accomplishments or important events together. They celebrate like families do things that each other have
done or have experienced.>>Falon: Let’s talk about what we
admire about some or our friends.>>Student: I admire Jazara
because she is so compassionate.>>Falon: We’re always talking
about being compassionate, being supportive of one another. It’s to build that deeper
connection, for everyone just to feel like this is their school family,
this is somewhere where they’re loved, they’re nurtured, they’re
taken care of, they’re valued.>>Kirsten: Thank you for speaking.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: The
community becomes a place where you can bring your
emotions, your fears, your needs. You can be honest about what’s going on
and know that there will be acceptance, support and love that’s
available to carry you through.>>Ernie: We all can work together and
we all can try to strategize together and create a better pathway for others to be successful, and
we can make it fun.>>Molly: They’re working together,
they take care of each other, not just personally but academically.>>Student: We’re always
pushing each other.

About James Carlton

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3 thoughts on “Building a Belonging Classroom

  1. Develop a class identity. Allow children to develop their individual identities. Create a school environment where children support each other. All really important.

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