One of the best things you can do for your collaborative classroom is occasionally host team building activities.
Team building activities are activities done for fun - no content required. Team building activities strengthen the relationship between a group of students (a class!) and help students communicate more effectively with one another. Activities can be quick - 10min activities, or long whole class period activities. I always make sure students understand that comments made throughout the activity must be positive. Students who berate each other, or act negatively sit out.
Here are some of my favorite team building activities:
1) Hula Hoop Hop
This is one of my favorites! Students hold hands to form a circle. Place a hula hoop between one set of students. Students then work together to get the hoop all the way around the circle, holding hands the entire time. Occasionally I’ve timed students and the next day students compared their classes time to that of other classes mathematically.
2) Tic Tac Toe
Human tic tac toe is super easy, and super fast. Use tape (or paper) to lay out a tic tac toe board on the ground. Divide students into 2 groups – X’s and O’s. Groups switch off sending a student to the board. Once a team has won the game, or once the game is tied, the game begins again. To show which team they are on, students make an “X” or “O” with their arms.
3) Rope Shapes
Bring a long rope to class. Have each student grab a section of the rope. Then, instruct students to create various shapes with the rope. Squares, rectangles, triangles, pentagons, etc. This activity in a great way to give students practice being group leaders. For each shape you can assign 2 (or 3) students to be the group leaders, while the other students must quietly follow directions. Group leaders instruct students on where they should move to help form the shape. This activity can also be done with 2 groups of students and 2 pieces of rope.
4) Plastic Cup Tower
Divide students into groups of 5 or 6. Give each group a stack of plastic cups. See which group can build the tallest tower in a certain amount of time (2-3min is really fun!). This activity can be done in less than 10min, or you can play once, then have students switch groups and do it multiple times.
5) No Talking Line
Divide students into 2 groups. Then have each group form a line without talking. The easiest lines to form is one where students sort themselves by birthday. Another way is to have them sort themselves alphabetically. Alphabetically is fun at the beginning of the year when students are still learning each others names. They can use hand signs to show letters or numbers, but no words. First group to form a line, wins!
5) Balloon Pass
Divide students into 2 groups. Each group should form a circle. Have each student bring two pencils (or pens) to the activity. Give each group a balloon. Have each group blow up the balloon. Then, have students pass the balloon around their group using only the pencils.
For more ideas, check out these Pinterest links: http://www.pinterest.com/4theloveofmath/team-building/
Do you have a favorite team building activity? How do you incorporate team building within your classroom?
Leave a comment and let me know!
Clip Art from: Illumismart@ Teachers Pay Teachers, Ashley Hughes, Krista Wallden
Clip Art from: KG Fonts
Pictures from Kevin Lawver, Matthew Faltz