Teachers establish the classroom as a safe community where learning and relationships are important. The classroom belongs to everyone and explicitly includes the students. Learners can take risks in a positive way because students have a responsibility to respect and value each other. Tasks and activities are differentiated so all students can—and are expected to—participate and grow. Students are represented (their pictures and work are on the wall). The room is structured for varied groupings—large group, small group, partners—and communal books and resources are available and visible. Teachers teach classroom routines and protocols for answering questions and interacting with other students.
St. Marcus Lutheran School builds a positive classroom culture and strong relationships with students in various ways. Teachers greet students each day with a smile and a handshake. Teachers get to know students during this time by asking them questions about what they’ve been doing. Teachers build classroom culture through class chants and having students interview each other to find out more about their peers and identify similarities they may have.