For the many passionate teachers returning to the classroom this Fall, a renewed focus on community, connection, and belonging will be essential in building an environment conducive to learning. This strong foundation will act as an on-ramp to more challenging academics later in the year.
Get a head start on planning community-building activities for your first few weeks of school, with our list of project ideas. We’re highlighting some of our favorite sources for fun, playful, tech-infused projects that help students share their identities and flex their creative muscles at the same time. You’ll want to tuck these 5 great project plans away for safekeeping while you continue to recharge your batteries!
Project 1: Design a creative identity graphic
Grab this free Adobe Express* template and get your students started designing a professional looking graphic. Students can express their creativity, personality, and unique identity while also developing key digital skills. Share completed images, gallery style, on a Padlet board or Slides document! Access the lesson directions and template.
*Adobe Express is a free web and mobile tool accessible to anyone. Those with a Google Workspace for Education account can access the Edu version with premium features.
Project 2: Develop a Netflix-Style series to share about you
Everyone loves a good Netflix series so why not replicate it in the classroom! With this free template, students can build an autobiographical homepage, complete with real or imaginary shows or episodes that represent their identity, likes/dislikes, and life experiences. Visit the EDrenaline Rush website for more info and additional student examples.
Project 3: Create a safe place for students to share
Flip (formerly Flipgrid) is a great way to engage students in 1:1 conversations. The “moderated topic” feature enables student videos to go directly to you as the educator. This creates a space where students feel more comfortable sharing. Grab a copy of this topic to add to your Grid and invite your students to respond!
Project 4: Design a poster to express your values
Use another great Adobe template to create a visual graphic that expresses individual or group values. You may choose to have students create something that relates to personal values or assign this as a class project to engage students in developing collaborative class norms. Access the lesson directions and free template from the Ed Exchange library.
Project 5: Present a visual poem about your identity
Build inclusion and belonging with this activity focused on poetry! Students draft a poem about their individual identity emulating the format of the well-known piece, “I am From,” by George Ella Lyon. In the Adobe Express app, students then record a voice-over to infuse this project with emotion and personality. Access the lesson directions and free template.
A strong, connected community of learners creates the best conditions for belonging in the classroom. Implement one (or more!) of these ready-to-go projects to set your students up for a productive school year!
For a deeper dive into community building and connection, check out the following courses:
- 5058: Building Strong Relationships in the Classroom: Care to Connect
- 5109: Connection in the Classroom
- 5107: Empathy and Social Comprehension for a Compassionate Classroom