Classroom Activities

So, I started a search last night on team building activities that can be used in the classroom, when I suddenly realized that I had been sucked into a supermassive black hole! My problem is that I’m certain I should have more information to show for all my time and effort. Many of the activities I have found are riddled with logistical problems (not enough space or resources) or are inappropriate for school aged children — I mean, don’t you foresee a problem with a game called “Lap Sit,” which entails having kids form a circle facing each others backs and then squatting into a sitting position so that your rear end is sitting on the legs of the person behind you? There are no chairs… someone else has their rear in on your lap… and if the person behind you falls, so do you. I get the cooperation/team building concept, but really… can’t we find something a little more educational to use in our classroom as an ice breaker/team building activity?

Here is my challenge… Post a game/activity that has genuine educational value, requires few/no resources, is appropriate in a classroom, and little risk for injuries or lawsuit. I would like to compile a list of activities to use in the classroom that are not time fillers. I believe that we could all use a list like that, right? Also, try to think outside of the box. Let come up with some new ideas or ways to enrich the old ones.

Good Luck!

— Stephanie

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3 Comments

Filed under Teaching Ideas, Stategies, etc.

3 responses to “Classroom Activities

  1. Anna

    Okay, that is the scariest game I could think of that would be used in the classroom. I used something like that in a volleyball camp a long time ago, but in the classroom!? No way!

    If I had an idea for a game, I would totally post it, but I don’t. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! for not using that in your classroom.

  2. Kelly

    Stephanie,
    That black hole is a place that I visit often! LOL I want to caution you not to discount the value of team building as something educational. Students not only need to learn the content we are teaching, but also how to be productive, responsible members of society. Kids can learn a lot about that through some of these activities.

    And…I have an activity for you that I used to use when I was mentoring junior high kids at church. Have a small group of students (6-8) stand on a tarp that is just big enough to provide enough space for them to stand on (they need to be relatively close together) with a little bit of extra space. Their task is to turn the tarp completely over without anyone taking a step off it.

    There are several ways to use this in the classroom – small groups could each have their tarp and they could see who gets done first, or one group could go at a time while the other students sit in their teams and take note of what they would do differently, how they would work better as a team, or what the team is doing that is going well.

    Creating community in the classroom can have profound effects – decreased discipline, better student collaboration, easier administering of cooperative learning groups, etc. Have fun trying all sorts of things with your classes!

  3. Sara

    First of all…I have been a witness to “Lap Sit.” The previous principal at my school decided that was a perfect activity for the Freshman Orientation Day…I can tell you that it is just as frightening as it sounds. Nothing makes an incoming freshman feel comfortable in a new school like sitting on their neighbor’s lap…? (Insert wild laughter!)

    This will be my fourth year teaching and I still get jitters about the new school year! Before my first year of teaching I also was looking for a way to introduce myself, show the students my personality, and get to know them a bit. I think some sort of icebreaker is an excellent way of doing this, but personally I have always hated this type off thing when you walk into a new surrounding. To make it more approachable to my classes I am always looking for activities that will be fun but not childish and annoying; I teach juniors and seniors in high school so I have to make sure that it will pass the “too cool” test.

    I have used the Pig Personality Test a few times and the kids really seem to like it. I linked a website that gives the instructions, but keep in mind you can add or take away from any of the outcomes in order to make it appropriate for your classroom! The kids always think I am weird and crazy for suggesting that they get out a blank piece of paper on the first day of class…but they soon find out I am weird for many more legitimate reasons. No really, I act very serious while telling them to draw the pig, to keep their eyes on their own papers, to turn the paper over when they are done. Once everyone is finished I have them turn over their paper and I read what their drawing reveals about each student. If nothing else, this activity allows students to relax and laugh a little. It also lets you get to know the students a little bit because they can volunteer whether or not the pig prediction was correct and how they personally see themselves.

    While looking around online I found the “Building Blind” activity that I think would work great with any age level. See the link for the exact details, but essentially you have a group of students split into builders and one leader. The leader has a structure built in front of them that only they can see, but they have to instruct the building team on how to make it (they would have a box that contains all the parts used in the original structure). The builders cannot see the structure and the leader cannot touch any of the building materials. I am thinking about how easy this would be with a few boxes of Lego’s that you could use year after year.

    It is a lesson in communication skills as well as team (no pun intended) building. You can have more than one group working on the project in order to provide some “friendly competition.” I think that you would be able to get a feel for your students’ attitudes, socialization skills, motivation level, and group work skills by observing the groups work.

    These are just a few ideas that aren’t as creepy as the “lap” game! Hope they help 🙂

    *Sara

    Websites:

    http://youth-activities.suite101.com/article.cfm/team_building_activities_for_teens

    http://www.juliemc.com/personality-test.html

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