I receive Laura Candler's newsletter regularly and I always find valuable teaching content. Today's newsletter had a focus on Creating a caring classroom. She urged teachers to share their ideas for making one's classroom more caring.
One resource that I have found exceptional is based on the "Don't Laugh at Me" song, book and video.
This is an excellent programme and resource. It can be used all year.. There is always so much discussion of differences in people, being kind, treating others with respect.
(By Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin)
At the beginning of the school year I always do " The Torn Heart" activity" (see page 20 of this large resource, mentioned above).
I create a large red construction paper heart that I pin to my shirt. Then I read a story called "The Torn Heart" , which tells the story of a young boy who faces so many put-downs through his day. I give the direction to the children to raise their hand when they hear a put-down. Then I tear a piece off the heart each time their hands are raised. The children certainly recognize those mean words and actions.
Once the story is finished, we try to put the heart back together, by saying encouraging words and using tape. Once the heart has been taped back together, we discuss how much different it looks to its original state.
I stress that this taped heart is like our hearts inside when we hear mean things or are bullied.
The heart is pinned to the wall and will be a constant reminder of how someone feels when they are bullied.
A second way that helps to develop a caring classroom is using the idea of "bucket filling".
I read both of the books "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
and we discuss the ways we can fill each others bucket. We add to this list regularly and I use that term "are you filling a bucket?". It is a very effective way as it is so visual.
There is a very educational website with lots of resources. (The books can be bought here)
Be sure to check here for great ways to create a caring classroom.