Even though we’re now all firmly into the new school year, it is important to continue team building with our students in order to foster a community of connected collaborators. Usually I hit the ground running with getting-to-know-you games and team-building activities the first week of school to ease into routines and introduce new classmates and classroom management.
That said, those activities seem to quickly fall off my radar once the second or third week of school hits. This year, one of my goals is to weave team-building activities into every week to continue to grow stronger as a community of learners.
This collection of both academic and social activities is quick, easy, effective, and FREE. They are tasks that can be fun interjections into your day during morning meeting, transitions, brain breaks, or end-of-day routines. Set a goal to do one or two each week, and see how easy it is to maintain team-building routines all year long!
Guess-Who Paper Balls
I have students write three clues about themselves on a piece of notebook paper and then toss into our bucket. Students randomly choose a paper ball from the bucket, read the clues aloud, and then try to guess who wrote the clues using what they know about their classmates. If students can’t guess who their paper ball belongs to, they can ask a friend for help. We learned some REALLY COOL facts about each other and can’t wait to keep learning more as the year progresses!
Working in teams, students work to write “never-ending” stories. Each student on the team has one minute to write. Each teammate that follows has to read what was previously written, then add to the story for their minute, relating what they are writing to what has been already written. This is SO. MUCH. FUN. The stories the teams produced (and then presented to the entire class) were hilarious, creative, and left the kids begging for more.
Inspired by the popular TV show, creating and implementing Minute to Win It games in the classroom is a snap and serve as a perfect way to kick off the new school year with engaging, fun, icebreaker activities that promote teamwork. A quick search on the Internet will pull up endless options. However, all you really need to do to get started is to look around your classroom to get ideas!
Bean Straw Suction Transfer
Grab a bag or two of any type of dried bean. Pour a pile of dried beans onto the plate of each team. Teams need a second empty plate, placed right next to the plate with beans. Finally, each team member needs a straw. Students suck up a bean onto the end of their straw, and release it onto the empty plate. Then the next person takes a turn. The team with the most beans on the transfer plate after a minute wins! (Obviously, the straw should not be one of the large size “smoothie straws” that could accidentally suck a bean through it!)