Activities to Build Classroom Community

This post is a list of links to activities you can do to get to know your classes or advisement kiddos and help them learn about each other. Since I am sending this to all of Bode, you might check with your team if you want to do one of these in regular class to make sure you don’t all choose the same one. Using them in advisement shouldn’t be a problem, because there is no student overlap there. These activities aren’t just good for the beginning of the year… this will live on the blog forever, so remember it’s here when you have any little bit of unplanned time all year long!

THINGS THAT CAN HELP WITH LEARNING NAMES:

Foodie Friends
In a circle, each person states their first name and a food item that begins with the same letter. The next person says their name and food and each of the previous person’s. Teacher goes last! – no supplies needed

PEER-O
Use a Bingo card with nothing in the squares (choose a card that has enough spaces for every student to be included). Hand out one to each student. Have the students walk around and sign each others’ cards (you made need some free spaces). Each student can only sign each card once, and there should be a different name in each block. Put all students’ names in a container. Draw out a name, and that person must stand up and say something about him or her self. People mark that name off of their card. You can have prizes, like candy, for when students get a Bingo.
Access blank cards that you can manipulate here <-

ACTIVITIES TO HELP GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER:

Success to me…<- click for printable form
Have students list 5 things that make them feel successful. You can do it on loose paper and have them share out, or you can print this “fancy” form and display their answers in your classroom.

10 Team-Building Questions <- click for questions
Circle up as a group and answer some interesting questions – no supplies needed

Switch Sides If… <- click for questions
Stand on opposite sides of the room and ask questions – no supplies needed

Back-to-School survey <- click for survey
Ask students to fill out the surveys, then have them grab a partner and ask them to share 4 or 5 answers. Then have them switch to another partner and share 4 or 5 more. Repeat 4 or 5 times.

Inner Circle, Outer Circle
Have students stand in a circle. Tell every other student to step back one step so there is an inner circle and an outer circle. The students in the inner circle should turn around and face the students in the outer circle. Adjust the circles so that students stand face-to-face (teacher may need to join the circle if there are an odd number of students. The teacher then asks a questions from this (or any) list: Inner circle, Outer circle questions
The students standing face to face should share their answers with each other. Give a few minutes for this exchange, and then instruct one or both of the circles to rotate. For instance, say, “Inner circle move two spaces to the left.” Ask another question and have students share that information with each other. Continue in this manner until a series of 10 questions is shared.

ACTIVITIES TO STRENGTHEN TEAMS:

Model Building
Divide students into teams of three. Give each team two boxes of identical building materials. This could be anything such as Legos, blocks, even toothpicks and marshmallows or a combination of all of these. Set teams up at tables as far away from each other as possible. Ask each team to work together to build a structure from the supplies in one of the boxes and place it back into the box so the other teams cannot see it. When all structures are complete and in boxes, have teams switch boxes. Give each of the team members positions as “explainer,” “messenger” and “builder.” Only the explainer can see the structure. He must describe the structure to the messenger, who in turn relays to the builder instructions on how to build it. The builder must create an exact replica with only the instructions relayed through the messenger.

Drop the Ball
You would need golf balls, straws, and masking tape for this activity. Separate students into small groups. Each group receives 12 straws and 18 inches of masking tape. They get ten minutes to build a container that will catch a golf ball dropped from about ten feet. Each groups selects a “ball dropper” and that person stands on a chair and holds a golf balls at eye level. That group places its container on the floor where it thinks the ball will land. Each group gets 3 attempts to catch the ball. If a group gets the ball to go in and stay in, they get a prize.

A Group that Works
Have each student individually finish this sentence on a piece of paper: “My vision of a group that works is…” Then put students in small groups and have them discuss and combine their individual ideas. Each group should also draw a picture that represents the ideas of their combined group. Finally, each group shares out, and the teacher  combines all groups into a whole group statement.

Some ideas from:
http://www.onlineexpert.com/elearning/user/pdf/natsem/managingdiverseworkforce/team-buildinggamesactivitiesideas.pdf

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/team-building-activities-middle-schoolers-33454.html

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