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One of my absolute most favorite parts of the beginning of the school year is building classroom community through teamwork. 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! Below are the two classroom challenges that my students love!
1. 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.
2. The Save Sam Challenge
You may have seen this activity lurking around on Pinterest or Instagram. This is a quick challenge that you can easily fit into your schedule. Students work in pairs to try to save Sam the Worm. Here are the directions for the activity:
One of my favorite parts about this activity is the interaction between students that wouldn’t normally pick each other to be partners. Although, I just randomly picked sticks, the mixture of students was a complete success. Here are some pictures of my students completing the activity:
After completing both of the challenges and discussing them, we moved on to the best part of the day. Creating our Anchor Chart all about Teamwork! This is hanging on our wall already! It will be a great reference as we start setting up our reading rotations and math rotations!
Do you have specific activities that you use to start the beginning of your year off on the right foot? How do you build classroom teamwork with your students? Pin the image to save this post for later!