A daily practice in my teaching routine that brings joy is sharing time, when the children can raise their hand during circle time and share a piece of news.
Rules: they only get one share a day and no thunder-stealing (it has to be the sharer's news - no fair telling so-and-so's having a birthday at the zoo, or has a new sibling).
Sharing time teaches us respect and helps us value one another. As an adult, it's easy to minimize issues and overlook excitement - they're just little kids, right? Wrong - they're little human beings, with concerns and joys to share, just like me.
As we share news, from as life-changing as a new sibling to as imaginative as what the toy dinosaurs were fighting about last night, we get to know each other better. I also share something, so they get to know me as a whole person as well (case in point: a student saw me walking home in September and asked her mom where I was going. Her mom told her I was going to my house, and she said, "Oh, Mrs Tall doesn't live at the school?").
Taking time to share, listen and respond to each other's news creates stronger classroom relationships. We're all real people; we all have things going on. I get insight into what's popular with them at the moment, why certain students might be acting out of order (poor behaviour caused by sibling interruptus is common in my class), who is afraid of the rain, who loves dancing. For them, I become a real human being (wow, teachers have lives!).
It's a practice that doesn't take a lot of time but does build a more aware, caring classroom environment, and hopefully lays the groundwork for more aware, caring citizens in the future.