"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller
- Fran Richardson
- Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught over 20 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
My Blog List
Smashing Strategies for Guided Math: Incorporating Interactive Notebooks - We are back this week to bring you more Smashing Strategies for Guided Math!! In my last post I discussed different options for Math Warm-Ups. Today I a...4 hours ago
Fast Problem Solving and Innovation with #HackLearning - A conversation with Mark Barnes on episode 64 of the 10-minute Teacher Podcast. From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis Follow @coolcatteacher on ...5 hours ago
Teachers Take Monterey~Pacific Coast Teacher Meet Up & More - What an AMAZING weekend I had last week!! I went up to Monterey to enjoy a fun day with teachers and TpTers from all over the Pacific Coast. Last year t...2 months ago
Homeschool Lesson Plans for First and Second Grade - Have you ever wanted to take a glimpse inside someone else's homeschool journey? You may have no idea where to start, you may need some new ideas because w...10 months ago
Celebrate The Last Day of School and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week - Happy end of the year to you, phenomenal teacher! Hats off to you and the hard work behind all you do. Finish out the school year strong - and treat yourse...11 months ago
How to Get Started With Genius Hour for Elementary Classrooms? - I believe that every single child is gifted and that every kid has a talent which we as educators should help uncover. This is not easy when you have a c...1 year ago
Connecting Children With Nature: Learning About Trees - Our playground is surrounded by an abundance of beautiful trees, which always seem to captivate my very curious kindergartners. Who would have guessed that...5 years ago
As much as possible in my social studies classes, we learn and work together in teams and small groups.
WHY? TEAM-BUILDING BUILDS BRIDGES!
The challenge here was to build a bridge of pipe cleaners that would hold a textbook. The only materials were two desks, masking tape, and the pipe clears. There was NO TALKING allowed
This group of girls worked quietly and efficiently to build their bridge in less than 10 minutes. Another plus with that class of kids happened naturally: When a group completed the task, the entire class ALL applauded and celebrated. WOW!!!
Another Bridge Built
Sometimes you can rethink an activity into your theme or subject matter and make it a cooperative game or task. In our camping unit, we used the beach balls to do the traditional over and under. It was a challenge because it was a windy day!
Beach Ball Over and Under Relay
Just about any activity can be made into a cooperative one- tasks can be divided among the group or steps can be given as roles in the group. Third- fifth grades love this stuff because they want to be social.
But they are KIDS so sometimes we play games just for fun as teams, too. Playing and working together is important as well as learning to accept defeats, being a good sport and also be a gracious winner. You don’t “just earn” how to do this if you don’t play any games where there are winners and losers. There must be a balance if you play games in your class.
My best classes over the 20-plus years I have been teaching are the classes that we live, work, and play almost as a family. We support each other, get along well, and have a caring atmosphere. Sometimes these relationships happen naturally like the group in the pictures above, but most often, teambuilding really must be an on-going DAILY effort starting from Day One. Here’s a new favorite of mine used at the end of last year with a group that built relationships over the course of that year to be like our school family by school’s end.
We did this activity at the end of the year as a part of our 2-3 week unit based on camping and the book Week in The Woods by Andrew Clements. I used the Lorenz Publications team and game books throughout that unit. They are awesome books to develop these skills and can be done very often with no special materials.
How To Do The Lifeboat:
I put several old blankets on the ground. All 20 of my students stepped into our lifeboat. I explained to them that we wanted everyone to be rescued, and that if the lifeboat capsized or sank, we might all possibly drown or freeze ( Thank you Hollywood for the movie Titanic!).
Everyone had room and was comfortable, but then I explained that the lifeboat was leaking and so there would be less space. I folded one blanket in half.
It began to get a little more crowded. Our lifeboat began to lose more air…The blankets were folded again.At this point, I was only a spotter ( and you must have several children to have that role).The kids actually thought how they could save room. ( One or two girls wanted to piggyback!). It was interesting and fun to see who became the leaders and who were the thinkers and problem-solvers. It was decided that everyone must stand on one foot, balance, and hold tight. And that is exactly what these kids did in order to “survive”.
Once someone lost their balance, and it was inspiring to watch the kids grab someone as if they really would fall into the cold, freezing waters to a certain death, and hear the group rejoice that no one was lost. This was one of those spine-tingling “A-HA Moments” of teaching.
I would recommend any of these teambuilding activities below to any teachers but especially in the intermediate grades ( 3-5), middle, and high school.
Here are some fabulous resources I use for finding teambuilding games many of which can be adapted to review and content in any subject matter such as spelling, math, and reading:
Here are some teambuilding ideas that I found online, also:
I hope you will include some team-building activities and games in your classroom this year. Enjoy!
MY BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHING
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Classroom Blog 2011-12
- Just for Fun: From “Trash” to Treasure
- Classroom Set-Up: Personalized by Pinterest
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- MONDAY QUESTION: Post A COMMENT, PLEASE:)
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