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How to Create a Community of Belonging in the Classroom w/Marie Morris

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Creating a community can be extremely overwhelming, but there are very specific and strategic ways of thinking and planning that can help us break it down into manageable chunks. What can we do to help people feel like they belong? How can we be more inclusive? How do roles and rules help people feel more comfortable? In this episode, Marie Morris explains how she developed a community in her classroom, and how social media can be a web of support for educators.

The community and “collaboration over competition” thing doesn’t just apply to the business world. It completely applies to the education world too. -Marie Morris


3 Things We Learned From This Episode

Communities of support on social media (07:40-08:46)

We can use social media to situate ourselves in a space that is collaborative and non-threatening, whether it’s in the business world or in the education world. Instagram and YouTube are spaces where teachers can share and support each other and they can help build our confidence as educators.


What we need to put in place to create a community (26:09-28:41)

We can begin to create a community when we think about how our physical space functions and what interactions can happen within it. We also need to go beyond the layout by putting clear expectations in place of what is required of every person in every role in the community.


How rules help people feel comfortable (28:40-28:53)

We need to make ground rules when bringing big groups of people together because when there is uncertainty, people get anxious and afraid of doing the wrong thing. Rules help a community of people know what’s expected, which makes them feel more comfortable.


As teachers, we can facilitate a holistic shared experience for our students by creating a community. When we create communities for our students, we foster better learning, excitement and retention. Having rules helps them feel comfortable and aware of boundaries. When we build a community, we must think about the physical space as well as the interactions between people. We just need to break it down into specific and manageable steps that work for our context.


Guest Bio

Marie Morris is a teacher in the Poway Unified School District, in San Diego, CA, and has been teaching for 12 years. She has taught all four grades of English (9-12), as well as both the performance and technical side of theatre. Marie has a blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram profile focused on classroom teaching. Being part of an online community has changed her perspective on how she runs her classroom as well as her confidence as a professional educator. Her teaching style is energetic and fast-paced, but she constantly checks for student understanding. She likes to engage students with references they can connect with and give students a sense of belonging to her classroom community. Marie earned her BA in French, a Single Subject English teaching credential, and an MA in Theatre Arts all from San Diego State University. Teaching is in Marie’s blood. She has been unsure of many things over the course of her life, but of two things she has always been certain – she wanted to be a mom and she wanted to be a teacher.





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