6 Books & Activities to Reinforce Classroom Community

Building a strong classroom community is critical to ensuring all students have a positive and meaningful educational experience. To help reinforce this sense of community, we have compiled a list of six books and complementary activities that promote respect, empathy, and acceptance in the classroom.

1. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

This heartwarming novel tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a young boy with facial differences who experiences both the challenges and joys of entering a public school for the first time. Activity: Host a “Choose Kind” campaign where students create artwork and messages encouraging kindness and inclusivity. Display these around the classroom to foster a positive atmosphere.

 2. “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi

In this story, a young Korean girl named Unhei struggles with adapting to her new American classroom where her classmates can’t pronounce her name correctly. Activity: Encourage students to research the meaning behind their names and share with the class. This helps develop understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity within the classroom community.

3. “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson

This book teaches an important lesson about the power of kindness through the story of Chloe, who learns she missed opportunities to be kind to her classmate Maya. Activity: Start a “Kindness Jar” in which students write down acts of kindness they witness in school. Read several examples during weekly circle time or class meetings to celebrate these positive behaviors.

4. “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig

This touching tale highlights the importance of including everyone in the school community by telling Brian’s story – a quiet boy who feels invisible until he is finally noticed by a caring classmate. Activity: Have students create personalized cards or notes for each person in their class to remind them they are valued and important members of the classroom community.

5. “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña

This beautifully written and illustrated book tells the story of CJ and his grandmother’s journey through their diverse neighborhood to serve others at a local soup kitchen. Activity: Organize a class project to support a local charity or cause. This will teach students about compassion, empathy, and giving back to their community.

6. “The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates

This metaphorical picture book uses an umbrella as the central element to symbolize inclusion and acceptance. No matter how many people come under the umbrella, there is always room for more. Activity: Provide students with art materials to create their own unique umbrellas that represent themselves and their cultures. Display these around the room as a celebration of diversity.

Incorporating these books and activities into your curriculum can help build a stronger foundation in your classroom community, where all students feel respected, supported, and part of the group. By promoting respect, understanding, and empathy, you set the stage for students to thrive academically and socially.

Choose your Reaction!