1st Weeks of School: Community Builders

The first week of school is here and teachers are looking forward to greeting both old and new students. The first few weeks of school are crucial for building new relationships along with strengthening old ones. This helps to pave the way for student success!

The very first day isn’t too early for introducing community building activities. Community building activities may consist of both digital and non-digital formats. The most important step to remember is remaining focused on the objective of learning about your students. When facilitating a community building activity it is important for the adult to participate too! It is amazing when students find a common bond how differently they interact with you.

Following is a list of a few digital ideas to assist with building classroom community.

Create a Google Slide

  • Use a Google Slide Deck to build community by having students answer a few basic questions.
    • What is your name?
    • Do you have a favorite summer food?
      • Add an image if you do
  • How do you feel about reading?
The first time the slide deck is presented it is with teacher created questions. You can continue this activity by using Poll Everywhere or Answer Garden to create a word cloud for input to create a Slide Deck. The second slide deck will focus upon what the students would like to learn about each other

Please click here to Make a Copy of the Template

I like to thank Alice Keeler for inspiring this template! Please click here to visit a list of Google APP Templates created by Alice: http://alicekeeler.com/scripts/templates/

Drop location pins on Google Map

  • Create a Google Map
    • Students Drop Pins on towns, cities, states, or countries they’d like to visit
    • The student will edit location card
      • Add name
      • Favorite movie, TV, Book or Game Title with image
The first time the Google My Map is presented it is with teacher created directions. You can continue this Answer Garden to create a word cloud or a Google Form to collect ideas from the students. After all the students will probably want to know different information about each other. Providing the students with this type of input may be empowering and supports building a stronger community bond. This method supports by giving a voice for choice to everyone in the classroom community.


Use a Google Spreadsheet

  • Add several Sheets to a Spreadsheet
  • Label tabs with food, colors, hobbies, towns and etc…
  • Merge several columns in the first row
    • This is where the question is typed
    • Title 1st Column with Named
    • Title 2nd Column with Answer
  • Share Spreadsheet as group activity
Students don’t have to provide an answer on every sheet. However suggesting a minimum amount of sheets to be answered will help the teacher learn more about the student.

Please Click Here to Make a Copy of the Template

Share a Google Drawing Graphic Organizer

  • Use Google Drawing to Graphic Organizer
  • Compare and Contrast what students like
  • Create one Graphic Organizer for each topic
  • Do this as a group
You may use the data collected from each Graphic Organizer and enter it into a Google Sheet. Create a spreadsheet with one sheet  for each topic. This will allow you to make separate charts to compare. This community builder leads into an introduction to graphing.


Please Click Here to Make a Copy of the Template

Using Google My Maps as a Student or Classroom Ice Breaker

The first fews weeks of school are challenging as everyone starts a new beginning. I have old brain cells and one challenge for me working at the Middle School Level is remembering 100’s of students names. I thought creating a Google My Map as an Ice Breaker may help with this issue. The Google My Map Ice Breaker also serves the function of finding a connection for building relationships with the student. This activity is perfect to use as classroom or faculty ice breaker for strengthening community.


  • The Google My Map Ice Breaker will open on tablets, Chromebooks, laptops or etc…
  • Students will be asked to drop a pin on their dream travel location
  • After dropping pin students are asked to add their first name
  • Students are also asked to share a reason why they picked the location
  • Teacher starts by sharing their dream location with the students


  • The dropped pin for the location I chose

my dropped pin

  • Why I chose this location

Why Location chosen


  • Open Google My Map from your Google APPS for Education My Drive

Open Google My Map

  • My Map will be added to My Drive
    • Share the link
    • or Open on one device for sharing the activity
  • Give it a title along with directions
    You can use the title area to present question

Google My Map Name and Share

  • Use the select items tool to drag map until the location is found
    • Students can also do a search
  • Use the pin tool
    • Drag to location of choice

Select & Drag

  • Window opens after pin is dropped
    • Type answers here
    • Window opens 
      • Use pencil tool to edit answers

Use Pencil Tool to edit

  • Click here to change the color of pin

color of pin