As a teacher, team building is something that comes naturally. We do it to break the ice at the beginning of the year, to build a community in our classroom, and as a brain break when our kids (or the teachers) need a break.
Now that we are all learning and teaching from home, building a community and connecting with our kids is a little harder with distance learning factored in.
Here are 10 excellent team-building strategies to keep the kids engaged and having fun all while learning a little more about their classmates and building a better community.
1. Name Game: Every member of the group chooses an adjective that starts with the same letter as the first letter of their first name. They put that adjective in front of their first name, and they have their new name. So for example: Joyful Jill. For an added challenge, you can see if people can remember everyone’s names throughout the conversation.
2. This or That: First, choose two things, like eggs or bacon. The group has to decide on which one they would keep and which they would do away with forever. As a group, it’s majority rules. Then you come up with something else to battle the winner. So, it would look like this: Eggs or bacon (let’s say bacon wins), then bacon or waffles (let’s say bacon wins again), then bacon or toilet paper, and so on.
3. Picture Walk: Each member brings a picture or shares their screen with a picture that means something to them. Then each member gets two minutes (or more, depending on how much time you have) to share the story behind that picture.
4. Bucket List: Each member of the team comes up with 5 top things on their bucket list. Then they share and see what they have in common with other team members. They could even take those similarities and use them to connect in the real world or be cheerleaders for the other teammates.
5. 20 Questions with Alexa: I’m assuming someone has Alexa or Google Home (if not, this can be done the old fashioned way). All you need to do is ask Alexa to play 20 questions. The team comes up with their “secret thing” and then the team can take turns with Alexa.
6. Match the Fact with the Colleague (or Student): Every team member sends one point person their facts. Then the point person displays or distributes the facts and the team members’ names. The team then has to match the fact to the colleague or fellow student.
7. Pictionary: One person finds an appropriate picture on the internet or on their computer. Then they have to describe that picture while the rest have to draw it. When time is up, or when the person describing decides to stop, they show their pictures on their screens and the describer chooses the winner.
8. Would You Rather: You can find a million “would you rather” questions on the internet, or you can make up your own. Then the point person asks the questions and the team members give their opinions–no judgments, just their choices.
9. Race to 40: The team tries to count from 1 to 40 without talking over each other. So one person starts and says 1. Then someone else has to say 2. Then you continue until you get to 40. The catch is you can’t discuss strategy ahead of time and two people can’t say the same number or you start back at 1. To make it harder, you can close your eyes or turn off your video and leave audio on.
10. Themed Trivia: This is the classic game of trivia in which someone finds trivia questions based on a theme (movies, history, animals, famous people, etc.). Then that person asks the group the trivia questions. When the answers are revealed, each person gets a point for every correct answer. The person with the most points wins.
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