One of my absolute most favorite parts of the beginning of the school year is building classroom community. The community that is going to bring all of my students together. The community that is going to support my students through tough times. The community that is going to make each and every one of my students feel welcome and essential. The community that is going to make my job one that I want to be at every single day. Part of building the community is teaching my students how to work as a team. We do activities all year long with partners, small groups or even as a whole class. We have to be able to work as a team and communicate to be successful. I start setting up teamwork on the second day of school.
First, I always start by reading a few of my favorite books. The books I read this year were:
Chloe and the Lion is all about how an author and an illustrator need to work together to complete a book. The kids get a kick out of it because the author fires his illustrator (well has him eaten by a lion) during the middle of the story, only to need him back towards the end of the story! Three Hens and a Peacock is a fabulous story about how each person has a specific role on a team and they are all important!
After reading the stories, it was time for the challenges! First up, The Cup Stacking Challenge! If you haven't seen this done or tried it for yourself, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. I was so surprised with how well my students responded to this activity. Let me remind you, we did this on the second day of school. I have three new to the district students this year, so I was hesitant because they are still trying to find their feet with all of their peers. But everyone did awesome! Here are the directions for the activity:
Here are some pictures of my students in action! I love how they worked as a team and they gave instructions to each other. This activity also gave a few of my shy/reserved students a chance to open up a bit and engage with peers!