For a community to develop and grow into a well-functioning unit, its members need to share a vision of it that they agree to work toward. I have a vision for my classroom of learners. Ideally our classroom community is a safe, happy place for children to learn and play together where all individuals are encouraged to learn at their own pace. Together we revel in our successes and encourage each other not to give up in his/her struggles. Each member is recognized for his/her uniqueness and can contribute talents to make the group stronger.
Through this unit I hope to create a stronger community of learners in my own classroom, a community that appreciates the individual gifts of its members, reflects on its actions and learns from its mistakes and works together to problem-solve challenges. Although the use of children's literature will be my primary vehicle, I have also included some of the community-building activities created by proponents of The Responsive Classroom.
This curriculum unit will be interdisciplinary in scope, incorporating reading, writing and art. My students work in both small- and large-group settings on the activities included in it. Although I have designed this unit with first-graders in mind, I am confident that it could easily be adapted for use by teachers in other primary and intermediate grades as well.
(Developed for Language Arts, grade 1; recommended for Language Arts, grades K-6)