Since my internet was out for a week due to the wind storm and I couldn’t respond, I got behind on my class work. Now that I’m able to catch up, I’m appreciating what everyone else had to post, especially about respect. Going from your posts, I would be tempted to make a poster of the biggest, fanciest R (for respect) and let students guess what it stands for. I would let them figure out what to respect and add that information to the poster.
While researching, I found a fun activity at readwritethink for a beginning of the year activity that can serve as a foundation for ongoing community building in the classroom, which happens to be a major goal of my mentor teacher and something that she is very successful at judging by how well students work in randomly assigned groups together. According to the website, “At the beginning of the school year, students are led through a discussion designed to establish goals and needs for the classroom. Students first respond to the prompt: ‘Why are we here?’ After listing and discussing their ideas, they respond to the prompt: ‘What do we need?’ Students refer back to their first list of reasons in order to what they need to meet those goals. This activity encourages students to become contributing, consensus-building members of their classrooms.’ For specifics on this lesson plan, check out this link