"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

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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.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Teambuilding 101


working together

As much as possible in my social studies classes, we learn and work together in teams and small groups.

delic sara


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!!!

funhouse wade and josh

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!

over and under relay

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.

Lifeboat- Everybody's in (2)



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”.Smile

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. Smile

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:

Teambuilding Games

More Teambuilding Games

Teambuilding Activities for Kids

I hope you will include some team-building  activities and games in your classroom this year. Enjoy!



YearntoLearn said...

Thanks for joining my Teambuilding Linky party.
I love the Lifeboat lesson idea. I do a PE raft relay game that is very similar.

Yearn to Learn Blog

Baggy_Trousers said...

That sounds like such a great idea! I love those A-Ha moments in teaching! Thanks for sharing! :)

Baggy Trousers at A Crucial Week In The Life of an NQT

Tara said...

These are GREAT!!! Thanks for the resources! Just found you through the team building linky:) I'm team building:) I'm now a follower:)

4th Grade Frolics

Fran Richardson said...

Thank you all for the comments. I think the team-building and game part of instruction will be part of my social studies classes all year. I have been looking at the Flipped Instruction Model and see that is an element- games and simulations and role-play, and that is how one of my teachers taught us history, and I still remember her class over 30 years ago!


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