With teaching lessons, prepping for standardized tests, and making sure students hit certain benchmarks, equally important things like building a strong classroom community can take a back seat. Still, a strong classroom community is integral to students’ success. So how can teachers build one with so little time in the day?

Below, we listed our favorite ways to build classroom community. The best part? They don’t take forever to do. In fact, we’re sure they’ll be a highlight of the school day.


1. Use note cards to share fun facts.


This activity works well with any age group, and it’s especially good for middle school and high school, where it can be challenging to build classroom community. Have students write down facts on note cards and then share throughout the year.

2. Make kindness chains.

SOURCE: All About 3rd Grade

The visual of this one is great. As you work on it throughout the week, month, or year, it grows and grows to show your students just how much progress they’re making. You can theme it around kindness, like Anna did in this idea, or come up with something else that works for your classroom.

3. Talk about filling buckets.

SOURCE: Teach, Plan, Love

Use an anchor chart to talk to your students about how to fill someone’s bucket. Have everyone contribute their ideas!

4. Work together toward a reward.

SOURCE: Chris Cook

Students will have to learn to work together in order to get that final prize.

5. Play the gratitude game.

SOURCE: Teach Beside Me

This game is adorable, and we give full credit to Karyn of the blog Teach Beside Me for it. She uses it with her own kids, but you can definitely adapt it to the classroom by using pipe cleaners, paper straws, or even different colors of pencils or toothpicks.

6. Get in a circle and share compliments.

SOURCE: The Interactive Teacher

For help on how to do this in your classroom, check out these tips from Paige Bessick.

7. Pair students up to make a Venn diagram.

SOURCE: Teaching With Jillian Starr

We’re all the same and all different. This is a lesson that should be embraced, and this is a perfect activity to bring this message home. You can pair up different students throughout the year so they really learn about each other in new ways.

8. Give a quick shout out.

SOURCE: Head Over Heels for Teaching

The classroom door is the perfect canvas. Just grab some Post-it notes to create this awesome community builder. The combo is a perfect way to build student camaraderie throughout the year.

9. Give your students a voice.

12 Ways to Build Strong Classroom Community With Students

SOURCE: Teaching With Jillian Starr

Let your students know that it’s okay to have opinions and to speak out, even if they express themselves via note. You can learn more about these on Jillian Starr’s website. You could also create different notes and themes that work well in your classroom. For instance, how about a fill-in-the-blank sheet about what students want their principal or classmates to know about them?

10. Set goals one week at a time.

12 Ways to Build Strong Classroom Community With Students

SOURCE: The Animated Teacher

It can be great to set a long-term goal with a big reward, but sometimes shorter, even weekly, options are even better. It helps students focus on a single task and keeps them motivated each week.

11. Keep a scoreboard.

12 Ways to Build Strong Classroom Community With Students

SOURCE: The Animated Teacher

This is one more idea from The Animated Teacher, and we love how visual it is. She keeps a simple scoreboard in her classroom to remind her students of goals and how they’re doing.

12. Hold regular class meetings.

12 Ways to Build Strong Classroom Community With Students

SOURCE: Once Upon a Learning Adventure

What is a class meeting exactly? It’s more than just morning calendar time or sharing about the star or person of the week. It’s a way to regularly check in with your class as a group. Here are some tips on how to hold one, courtesy of Once Upon a Learning Adventure .

What other ideas do you have for building classroom community? Come and share in our  WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus,  icebreakers that even middle school students will enjoy.

12 Ways to Build Strong Classroom Community