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This is an indispensable book, for novice and experienced teachers, for teachers of young learners or adults, or in the ESL or EFL context. — Scott Thornbury

With solid pedagogical explanations for the exercises rendered in these pages, Burns offers a worthy professional tool for fellow teachers.Kirkus Reviews

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Don’t Break the Ice. Build Community with Classroom Community Builders.

Tired of doing the same old icebreaker on the first day of class? Sick of choosing between doing a fun activity or getting down to work?

Classroom Community Builders solves the problem. This collection of almost 100 activities energizing do both! Each activity is designed to build community in the classroom, but also help students practice language work!

And let’s not forget that nothing builds classroom community better than working together as a team toward a clear objective, so most of these activities work as group projects. In fact all the activities are highly adaptable and are described with variations so you can fit them into your class with your students!

A good mix of classroom favorites and more creative activities such as:

  • Culture Shock: Students talk about how they do different things in their culture such as greet a person or give a gift. A great way for students to share their culture and create a space that is respectful of difference and diversity.
  • Good Teacher / Good Student: Discuss what makes a good teacher and what makes a good student. A great way to set class expectations for everyone, develop self-reflection and encourage good study skills.
  • Syllabus Scavenger Hunt: An interactive way to teach the syllabus and build community!
  • Sentence Auction: Evaluate language knowledge while community building. Students bid on sentences, trying to “buy” correct ones and avoid wrong ones.
  • Different Thoughts: Brainstorm different ways to do a simple task, while showing students why working as a team is better than working alone.
  • Plane Crash Survival: A classic survival task that teaches students the importance of a diverse range of voices in a community. After a plane crash, students debate the usefulness of various objects.
  • Sorting Line: A line-up activity. Students sort themselves into lines by age, height, years studying English or more. It’s a great classroom community builder than also has students practicing communication skills.
  •  Picture Flashing: Students are given 3 seconds to look at a picture, then describe it to a partner. Strong descriptive skills and teamwork required!

There are also roleplays, logic puzzles, tasks, ideas for getting-to-know-you activities, and even ways to help the students get to know you, the teacher! A great resource for the new teacher, the CELTA graduate, or even an experienced educator looking for some new ideas!

Preview Classroom Community Builders

Additional information

Weight 9.5 oz
Dimensions 6 × 9 × .475 in



978-0-9977628-7-7, 9780997762860

Publication Date

15 August 2017




170 pages


6 x 9 inches


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Age Group

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Reviews and Comments


My favourite activity [is the] ‘Different Thoughts’ activity at the start of Working Together. It’s great for helping students to appreciate the different ways of approaching a task.

– Peter Clements, British Council

This book contains a wide variety of activities and worksheets that will be useful for those who are new to the ESL classroom. The exercises are creative and will keep students interested, on track, and help them beyond the classroom.  Kudos to Burns for bringing together all these materials into one solid book!

– Dr. Pamela Vittorio, The New School

This valuable resource will be one teachers refer to over and over again. It is straightforward and easy to use which my TEFL Certificate students found particularly helpful.

– Deborah Gordon, Santa Barbara City College

Since the vast majority of the activities are highly communicative or involve productive skills, they do double duty, ensuring that community building can be carried out along with meaningful language practice in a way that maximizes every minute of class time.

– Delpha Thomas, Professor, Portland Community College

What a wonderful resource for ESL teachers!  This book offers activities which foster classroom community and establish class rules and procedures through innovative communicative activities. Each activity has clear language objectives, which teachers may want to preview for beginning students. Collaborative activities are essential in today’s ESL class and this book offers teachers a wealth of ideas for ESL instruction.

– Dr. Daryl Gordon, Associate Dean , Adelphi University School of Education

I wish I’d had access to a book like this when I was starting out as a teacher. Besides the practical lesson plans that I’m sure I’d have used again and again, it’s full of common sense and sincerity, just what a teacher needs.

– Katherine Bilsborough
Author at Oxford University Press, blogger at British Councils, teacher, trainer.

Activities presented in the book will enliven your classroom and help you develop students’ problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork and creativity. It is definitely one of the books any teacher who wants to achieve authentic communication in the language classroom should have.

– Barbara Anna Zielonka
English teacher at Nannestad High School, Norway; co-author of Skills

Walton Burns’ new book takes as axiomatic the idea that a (language) classroom is a small community, and that communities are made, not born. The many and varied activities in this book are all designed to facilitate this ‘community-building’ process, whether cementing ties between the learners themselves, or between the learners and their teacher. And not only do the activities support and strengthen the classroom dynamic – they do this through the medium of the target language, hence they provide authentic opportunities for language practice.   Because all language learning is contingent on there being a social context to support it, this is an indispensable book, both for novice and experienced teachers, for teachers of young learners or adults, or for teachers teaching in an ESL or an EFL context.

– Scott Thornbury, author of The New A-Z of ELT




Here are some free Classroom Community Builder Activities. These are free downloadable and printable worksheets and other resources you can use with the activities in our book, Classroom Community Builders by Walton Burns. These activities build rapport among students while also doing meaningful and fun tasks. Good classroom community builder activities bring a class together and create a classroom atmosphere of hard work and mutual respect.

Here you’ll find some old favorites as well as newer activities to bond the class, as well as icebreakers and activities to help students learn the rules and expectations of the classroom. The book, Classroom Community Builders, contains complete directions on how to use the resources below, and ideas for many more activities!

Activities to Set the Tone

Classroom Community Builder Tasks

Getting to Know You Activities

One Reply to “Classroom Community Builders”

  1. This book is packed with activities for classroom community building! The author even has a great Facebook page that has further information and knowledge to bring to your classroom.

Comments are closed.