Sunday, September 14, 2014

Team Building

We all know how important team and class building are at the beginning of the year.   The important thing to remember is this type of community building needs to happen all year long, not just at the beginning of the year.   Below are two of my favorites and the kids love them too!

The first one we did was to save "John".  I have seen many variations of this on Pinterest and other blogs for saving worms of different names.  I have been doing this for years.  One of my teammates shared this activity with me and I have used it ever since.  I love the problem solving aspect of the activity along with the dependence on every teammate in order to accomplish the task.  Here is how you save "John".  

You will need a plastic cup, a gummy lifesaver, and a gummy worm for each team along with a paperclip for each student.  Set the plastic cup upside down on the table, then place the gummy worm and the gummy lifesaver on top of the cup.  Each student has their own paperclip.  

I begin by introducing the class to "John".  I say something like.  "Class, I would like you to meet my friend John.  He loves to go out on his boat but he has a huge problem.  John cannot swim and his boat has flipped over.  He managed to climb on top of his boat and he has his lifesaver but he needs to get back in his boat.  Your job is to help John get into his lifesaver and get back in his boat.  The trick is, you may not touch John with your hands, you may only touch him with your paperclips.  John must be alive when you get him back into his boat so you may not stab him with your paperclip.  You may only touch the boat and lifesaver with the paperclip as well, no hands!"

The class has so much fun saving John!  At first I hear a chorus of "this is impossible", "we can't do this", "he won't fit!" they buckle down and figure out how to get John in his lifesaver, turn the boat over and get John into the boat.  It takes all the team members to accomplish the task and they feel great about their work when they are done.  

One of my boys was particularly proud of his team.  He kept walking around the room saying things like "I can't believe we actually got that done!  That was great!"  I have come to learn this little guy can have a difficult time working with others, I am glad to be able to bring him back to this experience when he is struggling to work with his classmates.  He always replies with "you're right, if I could do that, I can do this too!" and his attitude completely changes.  I love the power of a positive experience!

The other team builder we did this week was a cup stacking activity.  Each team is given a plastic cup and a rubber band with one piece of string per student tied to it.  The kids are given the task of flipping the cup right side up without touching the cup.  Each student may only touch one string at a time and all team members must be participating in the flipping of the cup.  It is great to watch them work through how they are going to flip the cup over.  

Once they flip the cup I give them another cup and they have to stack the cups so they are standing on top of each other.    The final task is to build a pyramid with five cups.  

I have lots more team building activities to do this year, I will be sure to post about them as we go through the year.  

Thanks for stopping by, I can't wait to see what you all have been doing with your students to encourage a positive community!