It's Kristy from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog. I cannot believe that Christmas is over and I am writing this blog post hours away from 2014. I still remember the Y2K scares and I remember ringing in the 1990's. Where does time go?
The days back to school after the holiday break are key to re-establishing and reminding students of the tone of your classroom community. This is a great time to reinforce the classroom norms, rules and expectations you have for your students. They will need time to adjust back to the routines of school after being on holidays.
The first few days back are a great time to use cooperative games in your classroom.
Earlier this year I organized a cooperative games morning for the Grade 8 students that I teach. They rotated through three stations: spaghetti tower construction, mural paper graffiti wall and quick team building activities.
1. Spaghetti Tower Construction
Provide students with an equal amount of spaghetti (10-20 pieces per group), some masking tape and an equal amount of marshmallows (approx 4) and tell them they need to create the tallest freestanding structure as a group. Set a timer and let their imagination thrive. The key is to explain freestanding - because you will have students that try to tape all the pieces together and hold it up. Have a meter/yard stick handy to measure each groups' creation.
2. Mural Paper Graffiti Wall
Have students watch an inspiration video from You Tube or another source to get them thinking before they graffiti. A great video from You Tube is 212 Degrees: Turn Up the Heat it visually represents for students what can happen if they put one extra degree into their work. After the video have students use markers to free write their ideas onto chart or mural paper about the theme of the video. Have them use creative fonts and doodles to get their messages across. Hang up these papers around the classroom or the school.
3. Quick Team Building Activities
Have students participate in a few of these activities to help build a community of learners.
Bench Switch: Have a group (depending on the size of the bench and class) of students line up on a large gym bench. Then call out instructions for the students to line up by birthday, height, favourite foods etc. They must change places without falling off the bench. If anyone puts a foot on the ground the activity starts over again.
Noun Finder: Prepare ahead of time sets of noun cards (celebrities, famous places, foods, etc). When students arrive tape a card to their back and have them mingle around the room asking questions about their noun. They cannot ask others to read their card to them, but can ask many questions to try and guess what the card says on their back.
For more team building activities check out this blog post on my site with detailed instructions and how to videos.
Happy New Years Eve and 2014!
Kristy @ 2 Peas and a Dog