Building Community Through Respect (Freebie)

I was so eager to get back to my kids this week. Eager to hug them and talk to them and let them know I loved them.

Coincidence or not, on Friday I pulled my kids together to talk community building and all things family. I have always been so big on building community in the classroom, whether it be through morning meetings or at random times throughout the year when I feel like my kids need it. Many of us do it those first weeks of school, but then forget about it all year long.

In retrospect, I’m so glad I did this on Friday. Who would have thought we’d have to come in on Monday with such heavy hearts. The theme behind this community building activity was respect. There really was no purpose behind it, and I didn’t come to the table bringing my dog and pony show. Sometimes, the best community builders are the ones where you just get to sit and talk with your kids.

We started by defining respect so that students could understand what it is.

Then, we read Thank you, Mr. Falker. This is such a great book to start a discussion on respect.

After we finished our mentor text, we brainstormed answers to these questions on our anchor chart to get the conversation started:

**Side note: one of my sweet boys insisted he add the the art work to the anchor chart once we finished. I happily obliged.

We talked about what respect is, and how you can show respect throughout the day. It was interesting to hear their thoughts on respect. A lot of students thought it was grouped with just being kind, but we talked about the fact that it is so much more than that. The conversations were wonderful and many students were even pulling examples from their real life.
I then handed out this page below, which you can grab for free HERE. Students worked in groups to brainstorm ways to show respect throughout our school day.
I had the students work with one to two students that they have NEVER worked with before. I encouraged groups of students that I know don’t often hang out with one another to work together.
After students had the opportunity to discuss their ideas with their small groups and the whole class, we wrapped up the discussion by reading some short stories from Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul:
Other books that are wonderful for teaching about respect are shown below.
Grab all of the books we used below! 

At the conclusion of our lesson, many of my students kindly asked for some construction paper because they wanted to go home and decorate posters to hang throughout our school. Below is what they came back with!

Click HERE for more community building ideas!

Amazon affiliate links included in this post.


  1. LOVE everything about this post(especially the little artist you have in your class)!


  2. Aww thanks Jen! He brought that poster in and I was like WOAH!! Haha! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks so much Kim! I’m so happy you can use some of these ideas! My kids still talk about these lessons days and even weeks after we complete them.

  4. Love this–such a great reminder that we need to focus on the kids in a different way right now.

  5. Thanks for the respect poster. Our school has begun focusing on this aspect and this complements our activities perfectly. Thanks again.

  6. Even though I have first graders, this is a lesson that needs to be taught. Thanks for the ideas, I will take them into consideration with my lesson.

  7. You’re welcome! I believe it’s these little conversations that show BIG positive changes in the classroom all year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.