Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond

Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
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This is an indispensable book, for novice and experienced teachers, for teachers of young learners or adults, or in the ESL or EFL context. - Scott Thornbury, author of The New A-Z of ELT

Students thrive in classrooms where they feel safe, welcome, and supported. Building a sense of community and teamwork is an effective means of facilitating student success.

I've collected and curated over 70 community-building activities that also provide students with opportunities to practice language skills. Students learn while acclimatizing to the classroom. While intended primarily for language arts and English as a second language classrooms, The activities readily adapt to a range of disciplines and age groups. I've given plenty of ideas for varying or adapting each activity.

There are sections on setting classroom and instructor expectations, team-building exercises focused on lesson content, getting-to-know-you activities, and five get-to-know-your-teacher exercises to introduce you to your students in a fun, relaxed manner.

Every activity has clear information about time limits, resources needed, and language taught. There are also tons of links to handouts and worksheets that you can download and use or adapt for free.

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Here’s what teachers are saying about Classroom Community Builders.

The book delivers plenty of advice for teachers aiming to implement these tactics in the classroom and includes many sample handouts. With solid pedagogical explanations for the exercises rendered in these pages, Burns offers a worthy professional tool for fellow teachers and supplies insights based on experience.

– Kirkus Review

Walton Burns’ new book takes as axiomatic the idea that a (language) classroom is a small community, and that communities are made, not born. The many and varied activities in this book are all designed to facilitate this ‘community-building’ process, whether cementing ties between the learners themselves, or between the learners and their teacher. And not only do the activities support and strengthen the classroom dynamic – they do this through the medium of the target language, hence they provide authentic opportunities for language practice. Because all language learning is contingent on there being a social context to support it, this is an indispensable book, both for novice and experienced teachers, for teachers of young learners or adults, or for teachers teaching in an ESL or an EFL context.
– Scott Thornbury, author of The New A-Z of ELT

It is straightforward and easy to use which my TEFL Certificate students found particularly helpful. Many of my students reported finding different activities that they were looking forward to trying out in the classroom.
– Deborah Gordon, Professor, Santa Barabara City College


My favourite activity [is the] ‘Different Thoughts’ activity at the start of Working Together. It’s great for helping students to appreciate the different ways of approaching a task.
– Peter Clements, British Council

This book contains a wide variety of activities and worksheets that will be useful for those who are new to the ESL classroom. The exercises are creative and will keep students interested, on track, and help them beyond the classroom. Kudos to Burns for bringing together all these materials into one solid book!
– Dr. Pamela Vittorio, The New School

I especially liked the Book Scan, Syllabus Scavenger Hunt, Classroom Rules Negotiation activities because these activities tend to “kill two birds with one stone” by addressing typical first day of class information while keeping the focus on building a community.
– Michael Griffin, teacher and teacher educator, editor New School TESOL blog,

Since the vast majority of the activities are highly communicative or involve productive skills, they do double duty, ensuring that community building can be carried out along with meaningful language practice in a way that maximizes every minute of class time.
– Delpha Thomas, Professor, Portland Community College

What a wonderful resource for ESL teachers! This book offers activities which foster classroom community and establish class rules and procedures through innovative communicative activities. Each activity has clear language objectives, which teachers may want to preview for beginning students. Collaborative activities are essential in today’s ESL class and this book offers teachers a wealth of ideas for ESL instruction.
– Dr. Daryl Gordon, Associate Dean , Adelphi University School of Education

I wish I’d had access to a book like this when I was starting out as a teacher. Besides the practical lesson plans that I’m sure I’d have used again and again, it’s full of common sense and sincerity, just what a teacher needs.
– Katherine Bilsborough, Author at Oxford University Press, blogger at British Councils, teacher, trainer.

Activities presented in the book will enliven your classroom and help you develop students’ problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork and creativity. It is definitely one of the books any teacher who wants to achieve authentic communication in the language classroom should have.
– Barbara Anna Zielonka, English teacher at Nannestad High School, Norway; co-author of Skills
Total Pages
170 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
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