Students search for classmates who have matching characteristics and record their answers on this form. An excellent activity for helping students get to know the others in the classroom.
Students stand in two concentric circles, with the inside circle facing out and the outside circle facing in. The teacher tells them how many to rotate, and they face a new partner and share information about themselves, such as a name, where born, favorite book. Then the circles rotate again and share new information.
One student states something about himself or herself, such as, "I'm Susan, and I like chocolate ice cream." Any one in the class can link on by holding hands or linking arms and saying, "I'm Jack, and I'm glad you like chocolate ice cream, Susan, because I do, too! And I like to go to the movies." A student who likes to go to the movies can link on by saying, "I'm Chuck and I'm glad you like to go to the movies, Simon, because I do, too! And I like to go fishing." When the last student links on, he or she completes the circle by walking around and also linking on to the first person. When the students are in a circle, they might say, "We are 'class name' and we are glad."
One person tosses a soft ball to another person, saying, "Hi, my name is Spencer. What's yours?" The student catches the ball, and then says, "Glad to meet you, Spencer. My name is Charles." The first student says, "Glad to meet you, Charles." Then, that student tosses the ball to another student until all the students have had a chance to respond.
Students mark their choices on this worksheet, indicating how much they like or dislike two choices. Next, students take a stand on an imaginary line which stretches from one end of the classroom to the other, depending on how much they like or dislike the choices.
Everyone sits in a circle and must say their name and answer a question. Below are sample questions, make sure questions are age and group appropriate. The questions are arranged in approximate risk levels. Risk levels, however, of any given questions varies greatly depending on the group.
The book you would most want to take a vacation in.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend.
Favorite holiday memory (Chanukah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, first day of summer vacation, etc.)
Describe your favorite food or meal.
Imitate your favorite animal.
The person you admire and/or respect most.
Describe a scar you have and how you got it.
Worst/Best work experience.
An embarrassing moment.
Explain the history of the most important object you have with you.
Explain the history of the most important object you own.
One thing that you are really proud of yourself for or about.
Form a circle, either sitting or standing. Each person in the circle takes his/her turn by telling three things about him/herself. Two are true, but one is a lie. For example, it is Natasha's turn, and she states the following three:
"I saw a rat in my backyard."
"I was born in Montana."
"I am a vegetarian."
Make sure that each person has a chance to take a turn stating the two truths and a lie, and have people guess which facts are true, and which fact is not true. Try to give everybody who wants to an oppurtunity to participate. It is important to respect people's desires to pass. You may want to go first to model.
Have the group stand or sit in a circle. Before playing, each person in the room says his/her name once. Using a soft ball (koosh ball, tennis ball, etc.), call out someone's name and toss the ball gently to someone else, saying, "What's up, (name)?" The recipient says "Thanks, (name of tosser)" then calls out someone else's name and tosses the ball to him/her - thanking the person who tossed the ball. This repeats until the ball gets back to the person who started. Each person only gets the ball and tosses it once. Then, challenge the group to toss the ball through the same order, but faster. (The names and thank you must still happen.) Time the group and continue to challenge their speed until it seems that the optimal speed has been achieved.
Choose a topic, such as birth dates (with or without the year) and ask the group to line up in order of that topic. Set two points between which the line should be made and designate which end is, in this case, January 1 and which is December 31. To make the game more challenging (and fun) prohibit speaking. Example of topics: birth date, shoe size, height, favorite color, grade in school, etc.
Have everyone in the group get into groups of two or three. Once pairs have found each other, give the group two minutes (or appropriate time) to find 3 (or more) things that they have in common. You can make this harder by ruling out visibly obvious characteristics such as clothing, skin color, or gender. Once the pairs have had a chance to find 3 things that they have in common, you can 1) Have the pairs introduce each other to the rest of the group, sharing what they had in common, or 2) have each pair join with another, or form groups of 3, then 4, etc. continuing to find things in common, until the groups have gotten very large, or until everyone is in one big group (small groups only).
In this version, keep the group as a whole. Call out a subject such as "toothpaste." Everyone in the group must then move to stand with those who use the same brand of toothpaste as they themselves use. Possible categories include: home state, favorite animal, favorite color, favorite food, favorite kitchen appliance, favorite genre of books/movies, animal you would be, etc.
This version is a good warm-up for a group that is just getting to know each other. Divide the group into two teams. Hold up a blanket or sheet between the two groups, so that they can not see each other sitting in semi-circles on either side of the sheet. Each team silently chooses one of their members to sit as close to the blanket as possible, facing the blanket. As both people are in place, the blanket is dropped. Each team tries to yell out the name of the other team's person before the other team correctly names their person. So, if for example, Team A sends Troy to sit on their side and Team B sends Katie, someone on Team A must say "Katie" before Team B calls out "Troy." Which ever team correctly guesses first "wins" that round and the person they correctly named joins their team.
This version is for a group that knows each other and is experienced enough to use appropriate descriptions (i.e. nothing insulting or inappropriate). In this version, the game begins the same as in Version One. However, the person from each team sits with their back to the blanket, facing the rest of their team. Once a member of each team is sitting with their backs towards the blanket, drop the blanket. As soon as the blanket is dropped, each team begins to describe to their team member, the person sitting directly behind their team member. For example, Orlando sits with his back to the blanket facing his team, Team A. Jessica, from Team B, does the same on the other side, such that the two are sitting almost back to back and will not be able to see each other when the blanket is dropped. Once the blanket is dropped, Team A will describe Jessica to Orlando and Team B will describe Orlando to Jessica. If Jessica correctly guesses Orlando, then he joins Jessica's team. The game continues until everyone is on one side, or people become ready for a new game. The game can be made much harder by limiting the descriptive details people may use, such as no visual cues may be used.
Goal: Students will work together to create a picture based on a squiggle to demonstrate teamwork
Tell students that you are now going to do an art project to practice working together as a team. Hold up one of the large pieces of paper to show students. Point out the squiggle on the sheet. Tell student that in small groups they are going to work together to make a picture out of the squiggle. Tell students that in their small groups they will decide what their squiggle is going to become and then make it into the picture. Pass out a squiggle sheet to each group. Tell them that you want them to brainstorm ideas, and decide on one. Explain that they will get crayons and markers to draw and color with once they have told a teacher what picture their squiggle is going to become. Once the group has decided on what the squiggle should become, give each student a different color of crayon. (In order to keep this from getting messy, you probably should not let them trade colors or have them pick out of a hat).
Tell students there are three rules for the drawing of the picture.
Each person can only draw with his/her color crayon.
All of the colors need to be used on the drawing.
Teamwork must be used.
As the group decides on what colors should go where and how the drawing should look, help them to use teamwork to make sure that everyone is participating. Once the group has the picture the way they want it, ask all of the students to put their names on the bottom.
Supplies: Paper cups (6 or more per group of 6), rubber bands, string
This game works best with small groups of 5 to 7 people, but can be done with as few as 3 and as many as 9. Before playing this game, the rubber bands and string need to be prepared. Once the number of small groups and number of people in each group has been determined, cut one 8-10” piece of string for each person, tying one end to the rubber band so that each small group will get one rubber band with as many strings tied to it as there are people in the small group. Place the cups rim down and separated within the playing space. Depending on the age of the group, challenge the group to stack the cups or build pyramids. No one may touch the rubber band, any one else or the cups, and each person has to hold their end of the string. With each person pulling and relaxing their strings, the group can expand the rubber band enough to pick up the cups and move them. Challenge the group to complete the task without talking.
To significantly increase the challenge and group building skills, blindfold everyone holding the strings and have non-blindfolded people standing behind them giving verbal directions.
Ask the small groups to sit in a circle holding hands. Establish one person to be twelve o’clock . When twelve o’clock calls “go” the group must, with out letting go of hands, must stand up and walk clockwise in a circle until everyone is in the same spot they began in and then quickly sit down. Do this a few times to see how quickly the group can do it. To make it more challenging, the group must walk a complete circle clockwise and then counter clockwise before sitting down.
How did you solve this problem? What was the easiest part of this exercise? Why? What was the most difficult? Why? How did your group communicate the appropriate time to sit? Did you feel frustrated during the exercise? How did you work through the frustrations? If you did this challenge again, what would you do differently? (Repeat this activity if group would like to try another method for solving the problem.)
Supplies: two rolls of toilet paper
This game can be done in a circle as a group, or in two teams, depending on the group and group size. Once everyone is in a circle or two single-file lines, the game can begin. The person at the head of the line or at one point in the circle holds the end of the roll while the roll is unrolled going over the head of each person in the line without breaking. When the roll reaches the end of the line, or the starting point of the circle, it must be passed back, this time going through everyone’s legs, again without breaking. If at any point the roll breaks into two or more pieces, the roll must be passed to the head of the line or starting point of the circle and the team must begin the whole process again. This can be done as a race against the clock or between two or more teams.
For groups that are really good, try passing the paper over and under, so it goes over the head of the first person, between the legs of the second person, over the head of the third person and so on. To make it harder, have everyone close their eyes.
Age: 6 and up
Supplies: Small treat, such as chocolate chip, candy, cookies, etc.
Have the group form pairs. Explain that in this game, the goal is to win as much candy (or whatever) as possible. Candy is awarded as a result of points won. Demonstrate what each pair is supposed to do: Grasp right or left hands with the elbows on the table or floor (the traditional arm wrestling position, but don’t say that, just demonstrate it). Every time your partner’s hand touches the ground you get a point, and every time your hand touches the ground your partner gets a point. Explain that when the leader says go, everyone will have 15 seconds to get as many points as possible. For each point won, that person will receive a chocolate chip (or one cookie for every 5 points). Each person is responsible for counting his or her own points. No one is allowed to talk. Make sure that no pairing is such that anyone will get hurt. Give the group 15 seconds.
Who got the most points? How did they do this? How many people thought this was a competition? Why? The “trick” to the game is to not resist and have each hand touch as many times as possible, going back and forth, or to have one person’s hand just tap the table or floor and share the candy. While the game is going on watch to see which pair did this and call on them last when hearing how many points everyone got. If no one “got it” ask the group why everyone thought it was a competition and brainstorm ways of doing it so everyone could win not just the strongest people. Either way this game can lead to a nice discussion about cooperation and working together.
Tell students that you are going to play a game, the Hula Hoop Relay, to practice using teamwork. Ask students to come join you in a circle. (Make sure you are in a large enough space.) Tell students that you want them to be standing and to hold hands.
Explain to students that the goal of this activity is to get the Hula Hoop all the way around the circle, without letting go of each other’s hands. Tell students that you want to hear them use encouraging words to help their classmates. Explain that you are trying to get the Hula Hoop around the circle as fast as possible.
Ask students if they have any questions. If not, you can begin to play. Remind students that their circle must not break (students must always be holding hands) or else they need to start from the beginning. Time how long it takes the class to get the Hula Hoop around the circle. Play a few rounds continually trying to beat your best time. If you want to add another challenge, insert another Hula Hoop into the mix going in the opposite direction.