Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Class Meetings with Talking Chips

One of the best ways to build class community is with a weekly class meeting. Although I've seen it used very effectively in elementary intermediate grades it is just as effective in the primary grades. For younger children it is a great way to either begin your week or end you week but it always should be scheduled on the same day and time each week as students like to follow a routine. Your 15 to 20 minutes a week on a class meeting will go a long way in creating a warm and caring class climate for the whole school year.

Here are some good rules for class meetings:
  • Respect for everyone
  • Put ups- (no put-downs)
  • Be a good listener
  • Student's right to pass when it is their turn    
You may also want to use a special signal to keep the meeting under control. One idea is to use "talking chips." There are always students in your class who do all the talking and those that talk at all. It may take a few times to practice this technique but they catch on really quickly and really think it's fun. Give each student a talking chip. They can only use their chip one time during the meeting. After starting the meeting with a prompt for everyone to share, pick a student to begin. Once they have finished talking, they put their chip in the middle of the circle. Students are not allowed to talk if they don't have a Talking Chip. It is a fun way to teach and practice good listening skills.Here are a few ideas for prompts for the primary grades:

  • Say something nice about someone in our class.
  • One thing I like about our class is.......
  • My favorite activity was.......................
  • Something nice that happened to me was...............
  • Something I am good at is........................
Class meetings are also good for resolving problems that have occurred and teach about problem solving strategies. Many Title I schools have Guidance Counselors that do activities like this once a week but even if you do, I feel that it is such an important part of  creating a sense of community in your classroom where students feel valued for their feelings and opinions. It is not only a way for you connect with your students but for your students to connect with each other.

I've created some "Star" awards for your students which you can download by clicking on the pictures above. There is a page for "Star Speaker", "Star Listener" to be given out by the teacher and a "Thank you for Being Helpful" that students can give each other. One is blank . Have a Great Year!!!! Be sure to check out other great ways to create a caring classroom by visiting Corkboard Connections.

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What do you do to create a sense of community in your classroom?


  1. I love the idea of talking chips!

  2. That is a fantastic idea! I just met my students last week during our "Kinder Kamp" and I can already tell which students will be needing the talking chips! :)

    1. So glad you like it. I hope you let me know how it wnet after trying it.

  3. I don't have chips, but I could always use teddy bear counters! I love this idea. I will have to try it out sometime! Thanks.

    Miss A's Kindergarten

    1. Thanks Sarah,
      I hope you will share how your Teddy Bear Counters work.

  4. What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks DeAnne.
      I always appreciate your comments

  5. I always love seeing your ideas pop up on TBA!!
    Thank you for sharing this and linking up!
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith’s Pinterest Boards!

    1. I always love getting such nice feedback from you Fern.
      Thanks so much

  6. I love talking chips. We used this idea in staff meetings a few times this year and it really made a difference! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    The Math Maniac