A Thriving Community of Math Learners

Y'all, I love back to school time, because that means the beginning of community building in the classroom. If I had the say the most important contributor to student success in my personal classroom, one of the top placeholders would be building a community of learners. Meaning that students learn from each other, a safe place to make mistakes, a safe place to be a risk taker in thinking, a safe place to build upon each other's thinking, and a place to grow together as learners.  In my math class, we work on building each other up when a fellow classmate is confused or doesn't understand.  We do this through providing a help line.  Students ask the classmate if they 1. Need help 2. more think time 3. or the question asked again. This way another student can lend a thinking helping hand and either explain how to solve the problem or send the student on the right track of thinking without blatantly giving the answer and doing all their thinking work for them.  I love when they are so in tuned to  helping each other think through the problem.  This is one way for the students to visually see how to help each other in those early stages of building community.  The are helper ques. I lay them out in our circle during teaching time and hold them up when a student is stuck.  I have even had a sweet baby go and grab a helper question when they were in need. I find they really provide that visual support for help. All you need to do is print, cut, laminate, and hot glue to a popsicle stick. They can be used for any subject.  I particularly use them in math.