Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Coming Together

The beginning of the year is coming together time in my classroom. We do team building activities, complete surveys, write narratives and begin to gel as a team. I enjoy this "getting to know you" time with students. The best website I've found for team building activities is From ice breakers to ropes course activities, you can probably find it there. I keep a binder of the directions and support materials for each of the team building activities. As I'm organizing it (or reorganizing it from the year before) each year I plan my sequence of activities. How do you build comfort and trust in student teams? I always wonder at teachers' sequences for team building.

Our beginning sequence takes at least two weeks because in between team building, writing and initial assessments, I have to take care of house business like schedules, the code of conduct and the like. Nonetheless, here's my team building sequence from the first two weeks:
  1. Name Game
  2. 2 Truths & a Lie
  3. Sentence Completetions (I respond/write back that night)
  4. Zoom
  5. Group Juggle
  6. Dear Mrs. S Letter
  7. Media Survey (just one page, we'll continue as the year moves on)
  8. Hula Hoop Pass
  9. Roles & Goals (goal setting)
  10. Steps to Success
I try to sandwich each activity with reading and writing. For instand "True Height" from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul is paired with the Hula Hoop Pass (pictured above). After the activiy we read it and discuss how the athlete did not underestimate himself; then we connect our experience to our own goal setting.One of my goals for this year is sustained parent communication and involvement. I'd love to hear about one of your goals or even a comment about how you build your classroom team.


  1. Ha! We did a meet a great assembly for our 6 fourth grade classes. At the end we played a few team-building activities, and one of them was the pass-the-hoola hoop game. The kids got a kick out of it!

  2. How neat is that Monsierugrand : )I loved the pictures of your classroom on the Spaces & Places flickr group. In fact I think I need one of those brown bureaus with long skinny drawers! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for the ideas for team building. I'm always looking for new ones!

  4. Great ideas. Love the focus on team building at the beginning of the year. (The link for Roles and Goals won't open.) You should check out Youth Frontiers retreat. ( Amazing team-building activities center on a character value. Our school just did the Respect Retreat for freshmen....great day with lasting effects.