Classroom Community Builders Book Review

Classroom Community Builders Book Review

by Jan McClellan

Classroom Community Builders – Activities for the First Day & Beyond by Walton Burns is full of differentiated games to include every student within your classroom. These games are easily adaptable to newcomers and mainstream ELLs as well as native or proficient English speakers. This book can instantly be implemented into your classroom. Every activity comes with a suggested time frame, list of materials needed, and language objectives. All of the activities are easy to implement with minimal preparation or planning.

Classroom Community BuildersOne of my favorite aspects of this book is that Burns is building a virtual classroom of aides through the use of social media and his website, where teachers can collaborate and discuss building a community classroom. Teachers are also able to print and download resources straight from the publisher’s website that related to the activities in the book. Some of my favorite games include “Culture Role Play,” “Don’t Say It,” and “In My Own Words.”

  • Culture Role Play is a game where students are given a list of cultural norms and role play these cultural norms. After the role play, some great conversation aides are given for students to discuss their experiences and attitudes towards the cultures. The book gives descriptions of growth mindset versus fixed mindset; however, it wouldn’t be far off to add to this American Culture relating to Vietnamese Culture or whatever culture you are trying to explain.
  • Don’t Say It is a game where students discuss academic vocabulary without saying the definition and/or keywords related to the words specified on a set of index cards. This seems ridiculously fun yet challenging. This could easily be used in a Beginning English sheltered class with conversational English or a mainstream Science class for concepts like the scientific method.
  • In My Own Words incorporates native language with its English counterparts and allows for the students in the class to build bridges with common phrases from each language. These three games show how adaptable the over 50 games found in Classroom Community Builders are.

With over fifty activities, this book includes tips for building a classroom community, implementing group work that involves every student, and addresses language needs.This book would be a huge asset to any classroom where teachers are focused on building a community of learners. The ebook is only $0.99 and the paperback is $15.00. Visit Alphabet Publishing for more details.

Editor’s Note: MIDTESOL was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Jan McClellan is an ELL Specialist at Carver Middle School in Springfield, Missouri.  She has worked with ELL students for four years in the primary and secondary levels through Co-Teaching and Sheltered English Instruction.  She has presented at MIDTESOL on using technology and iPads in the ELL classroom and has a passion for personalized learning and English Language Learners.  She will be presenting at MIDTESOL 2017 on utilizing video tools to support ELLs in the mainstream classroom.

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