Our students are overwhelmed, stressed, and filled with anxiety these days. It is our job to notice and adjust our sails in the classroom! One of the best ways to do this is with team-building exercises. You might think that it is a waste of time to do this, but it is not! It is what is getting our students through this very difficult time.
I have seen a dramatic shift over the last four weeks in our students. Theyare getting more and more stressed and need some fun in their lives. I am going to share with you a few of my favorite team-building exercises that you can take into your classroom and help your students gain back some JOY!!
The Affirmation Game - Instruct each student to write their name at the top of a piece of paper and pass it to the right. As the piece of paper circulates, everyone writes something they appreciate about that person, for example, “Maria is great at delivering on her promises,” or “David is a terrific speaker.” At the end of the game, everyone gets their piece of paper returned to them that is filled with affirmations.
Rose And Thorn - Start by having everyone share their ROSE. This is something that makes them feel happy, grateful, etc. After everyone has shared, ask them to share their THORN. This is something that is challenging or something that is bothering them. I love this one because it gets everyone talking and feeling comfortable to share once they hear others share with them.
Rabbit Hole is one of my all-time favorites! Our students ask to play this often! I like to start off the season by playing this and then bring it back quarterly to see how much they improve!This starts with a Hula Hoop resting on 3 cones. Place a hula hoop on top of the cones so that it is elevated off of the ground.
- Tell the students that they are all rabbits and they have to get into their rabbit hole to hide before the fox finds them.
- They must step over the hula hoop with each foot to arrive in the hole without knocking the hula hoop from the cones.
- One by one, each child enters the hole until as many as possible are inside! When everyone is in, ask them to slowly start exiting the hole, one by one, again being very cautious not to disturb the hula hoop.
Once they are able to step in and out, the fun begins!! Be creative and come up with other challenges for them.
- Have them jump into the hoop one foot at a time.
- Jump on two feet into the rabbit hole.
- Have them crawl from underneath the hoop and get their whole group in the hoop.
- See how many people they can get into the hoop.
- Another fun way to do this is to designate a FOX and have them chase the children into the hole. When they knock down the hoop, they join the fox. Keep going until all of the rabbits have been caught.
Take What You Need- Is one to get them laughing for sure. You start with rolls of toilet paper and you ask each student as they walk in the door to “Take what you need.” Theywill take varying amounts of toilet paper. Next, you pass out pens and ask them to write a fact about themselves on each square. This is where it gets fun.
The kids that only took a few squares will finish quickly, while the ones that took a bunch have to really get creative with fun facts. Encourage them to think outside the box and keep it fun! Once they are all done, have each one stand up and read their fun facts. This is a really fun one to do with kids of all ages. For an additional challenge with this one, I like to ask for a fun fact about a classmate the next time they come to class this really gets them to start paying attention and learning things about their classmates.
These are 4 great team-building exercises that you can incorporate in your classes to help get your students focused on positivity and teamwork! You will hear them laugh and see them strategize with each other and watch their worries drift away!
Good luck as you adjust your sails in the classroom and focus on team building and helping our youth feel happy and confident.
Pam Simpson is the founder, president, and driving force behind Forte Arts Center, which was established in Morris, Illinois in 1993. In addition to building her business from a small, one room studio to a large, multi-location organization that offers dance, tumbling and cheer programs as well as private music lessons, Pam is a leading force in the realm of small business ownership in the dance and tumbling industries as she travels all over the country speaking to and educating for large organizations such as Rhee Gold Company, Dance Teacher Summit, and More Than Just Great Dancing. When not working on her businesses, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her daughter, who is a performer at Walt Disney World.