Teamwork is the Best Work!
It’s the beginning of the school year! What is one thing you do during the first week to establish a sense of community?
As a former classroom teacher, I can answer this question in many ways – picture books, morning meetings, get-to-know-you events, and teamwork games were all strategies I used. Now, as a specialist, I still do some of these things – especially games. That’s one of the things that leads to the teamwork you see in the photo. It’s kids working together to solve a STEM Challenge. (That one is a Cargo Drop!)
We have some favorite Team Builders! Actually, we have lots of team builders, but some are our very favorites. The best, most-requested, most fun, and all-around greatest game ever is…
You are going to need a ball! The one I use is a rubber band ball!
It doesn’t have to be a rubber band ball, but I would go with something soft. And maybe something that doesn’t bounce. Kids do miss catching the ball and you don’t want to spend time chasing it!
The rules of the game are simple:
- Kids stand anywhere they want to in the room. It doesn’t have to be a circle.
- They cannot talk except they have to say the name of the person the ball is being thrown to. This is a warning for the catcher to get ready and it makes the toss more fair.
- They must toss the ball. It has to be a soft, easy underhand toss. I always remind kids, “You want to make the toss catchable. Soft, pretty tosses!”
- The toss must be catchable. If it’s over someone’s head or doesn’t reach the person it is supposed to, then the thrower is out.
- If the receiver of the toss does not catch the ball they are also out.
- When a student is out, they sit down. I always have them go back to their seats so they are not in the way of the game.
So, how long does this last? Couldn’t this take forever if students are good catchers? Ha! Of course, but you are going to change the rules!
After about 2 minutes I add a new rule.
Now, it gets even more fun!
After about 2 more minutes I stop them again! I just change the rule a little. I have listed some of the ones we use below.
- Use only one hand to catch. The ball cannot touch any other part of your body.
- Bounce-Catch – this means when the ball comes to a student he must bounce it in the air and then catch it.
- Bounce-Bounce-Catch -this means the catcher bounces the ball two times and then catches it.
- Over-Under – this means the catcher bounces the ball with palm down and then palm up and then catch it. (This is hard!)
- Bounce-Clap – this means bounce the ball, clap one time, and then catch it.
- Bounce-Clap-Clap, Catch – you get it!
Just keep going until you have a winner! And, by the way, we don’t always have a winner. Sometimes class is over and we have just had fun. I use this game now at the end of class if we have extra minutes left over (which rarely happens)! I have also used it as a reward for a STEM Class that earns it. I promise, kids ask to play the “Rubber Band Ball” game all the time!
If you need a few more ideas for Team Building activities try one of these:
The one pictured above is called “String Lift” and you can read more about it here: Team Building for STEM on STEM Activites for Kids
And you can try a post about team building on my blog: There is No “I” in Team on Teachers are Terrific
I hope your year starts off well and with some team building activities! What’s your favorite go-to team builder?