Building Classroom Community through Inclusion
It’s back to school time! During the first few weeks, I always spent a lot of time working on building an inclusive classroom community. Building trust among students (and myself) and creating an environment where everyone was accepted and supported was crucial to our year-long success. One of my favorite ways to begin building our community was through read-alouds and class discussions.
6 Back to School Books that Foster Community through Inclusion
Here are some of my favorite picture books to use at the beginning of the year. I like these books because they incorporate diversity and themes of acceptance and kindness.
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This book is about a diverse group of children’s day at school, where everyone is welcomed. Kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps.
This book is great to open up discussions about how we accept and learn from diversity.
This is the story of two best friends who have a lot in common, despite their cultural differences. The two friends learn to appreciate their differences and develop an even stronger friendship. This book is written by Her Majesty Queen Rania.
This is truly one of my favorite books. If you’re looking to use it into your classroom, I created an entire unit based around this book that you can find here.
Harry was born with no left hand. He has a prosthesis and faces a lot of questions when he starts school, but he doesn’t let his disability stop him. Harry makes a lasting friendship with Willy and Carrothead.
Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress. Her classmate wants to make her feel better and wonders, “What does it mean to be kind?”
This is the story of two pen pals, Elliot who lives in America and Kailash, who lives in India. Despite being in two different countries, the boys learn how much alike they are.
Unhei just moved from Korea to America. She worries about making friends at her new school. She also worries that no one will be able to pronounce her name, so she decides to pick a new name. In the end, Unhei learns to appreciate her special name and be proud of her culture.
I love The Name Jar so much that I included it in my Mentor Standards Unit on Asking and Answering Questions. If you’re interested in using this book as a mentor text, check it out.
Looking for More?
You can also read more about building relationships with your students here.
Inspiring Meaningful Discussions about Classroom Community
At the beginning of the year, it is so important to have meaningful discussions about classroom community and acceptance, so I created this free-response sheet for you to use. This would make a great bulletin board. Be sure to comment or email me to show me how you use it in your class!
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