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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 teachersKirkus Reviews

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Don’t Break the Ice. Build Community.

Walton Burns, author of 50 Activities for the First Day of School, returns with a collection of flexible community-building exercises for the classroom.

Students thrive in classrooms where they feel safe, welcome, and supported. Building a sense of community and teamwork is an effective means of facilitating student success. Burns skillfully blends community-building activities with real classroom content, providing students with opportunities to practice language skills while acclimatizing to the classroom. While intended primarily for language arts and English as a Second Language classrooms, Burns’s activities readily adapt to a range of disciplines and age groups.

Beginning with a section on setting classroom and instructor expectations, Burns moves on to team-building exercises focused on lesson content. His section on getting-to-know-you activities is designed to foster a sense of belonging, while the five get-to-know-your-teacher exercises introduce you to your students in a fun, relaxed manner.

Supported by information on material requirements, time limits, and resources, Classroom Community Builders provides handouts and worksheets, available both within the book and online, offering new ideas to experienced and novice instructors alike.

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