My Favorite Community Building Activities

Last week I had a big chunk of time with several 7th grade classes. These classes in particular had some drama and unkindness pop up recently, so I wanted to spend time doing classroom community activities. We had 90 minutes together, so I was really able to pack a lot into the lessons, but even if we hadn’t, I would have definitely spent 2 sessions with them working on community building. 

I divided my students into small groups of 3-4 students and made sure to split up friend groups. The goal was to build relationships with new people! I was really happy with how the activities went and every single student was able to identify 3 connections they had with others that they didn’t know about before the session. If you’re working on classroom community in any of your classroom guidance lessons, keep reading to learn more about the activities that were a big hit for us!

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

Classroom Community Activities for School Counselors

Cross the Line

This is an activity you’re probably familiar with. All students stand on one side of the room. I read a statement, and if it’s true for anyone, that student walks across the room and stands facing the others. You can make an actual line on the floor with painters tape or use an imaginary line. In our case, I have a rug in the middle, so it was “Cross the Rug.”

The statements begin pretty mild and not at all risky. Students cross for statements such as, “I was born in this state,” or “I am an only child.” As we progress, the statements move below the surface and become more risky. Statements include things like, “I feel alone or rejected at school,” or “I have been impacted by suicide.” Students are asked to take risks by revealing truths about themselves to their peers (but no one is required to cross for anything, even if it’s true!).

Afterward, students debrief in small groups. I appointed a discussion leader for each group to make sure all students had a chance to share. They talked about statements they were proud to cross for and statements they were uncomfortable crossing for. They talk about what it’s like to be the only one on one side of the room vs. in a group. 

Many people use this for assembly-style community building, but it works well in classrooms too. My students were open to vulnerability and showed support to their peers, even if they weren’t previously close. This was a great way to open our classroom community building activities! After the debrief, students stayed in these small groups to cycle through 4 stations, described below. 

Totem Game

I received the Totem Game as a gift, and I’ll admit I was a little confused as first! While it’s a huge card deck, it’s not a traditional “game” with a winner. But the goal of Totem Game is for each player to see his or her strengths through others’ eyes. Students use the cards to build a “totem” for each player, recognizing their character and qualities. 

Each player chooses an “animal card,” which contains an animal and innate character description, for the person who is “it” first. Then, they choose 2 quality cards to describe the person’s strengths. Stack the cards with the animal card on bottom and quality cards on top to construct a totem and see strengths. 

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

My students genuinely loved this activity. As I walked around the room, I heard things like, “Thanks for noticing that,” and “This is really true for me.” I think it’s so important not only to ask students to identify their own strengths but to ask others to identify their strengths as well. This is a great way to promote recognition of others and help students see how all of our qualities and strengths work well together. 

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In My Heart & Mind

This is another familiar activity. Students use a heart outline and fill it with the things that occupy space in their hearts. Then, students the brain with the things that are on their minds most often. Then, they share them with their small groups. For some of my students, this was really personal as they shared people and things that were important to them that others knew nothing about. This was also a great way for me to learn more about my students!

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

Connections Game

This is a card game I put together (at 10:00 pm the night before the activity…) to get students talking more about their experiences and beliefs. It’s played much like Uno, so it didn’t take a lot of time to get students started on this activity. They talked about their qualities, what they look for in friends, and their personal experiences. I heard a lot of great conversation coming out of this activity as well! 

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

If You Really Knew Me…

At this station, students took turns completing this sentence: If you really knew me, you’d know… I challenged each student to find at least 3 connections with the people in their groups that they didn’t know about before today. I heard chatter about anything from sports preferences to holiday traditions and hardships with siblings! This is a no-prep activity that really had meaningful outcomes. 

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

Wrap Up

After my students finished rotating through all of the activities, we took time to debrief. Students shared connections they found and they talked about how their outlook of the class had changed.

In one class, we had about 15 minutes of extra time, so we had 2 students sit in front of the board while others wrote compliments about them behind them. They turned around to find their classmates’ words – they LOVED this activity. There are only 14 students in the class, so it was easy to get through everyone while doing compliments for 2 students at a time. It was a great finishing activity after our day of community building!

What are your favorite classroom community activities? Do you do them in classroom guidance or assembly format? Leave a comment below!

Relationship-Building Activities for School Counseling

Looking for classroom community activities you can use in your classroom guidance lessons? You'll love these bonding activities! These activities are perfect for school counseling lessons or group counseling activities. Get to know you has never been so much fun!

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