Google+ Elementary School Counselor blog, by Scott Ertl, Elementary School Counselor: Team Building Tips!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Team Building Tips!




Most students LOVE Field Days--especially after all of the testing is finally over! I like to connect my last guidance lessons with the Field Day activities to help students practice working together and to help them see how their results can really improve when they show good teamwork.

One simple activity is for the students to stand in a circle, with each student holding a pencil. I simply time how long it takes for a Wiffle® Ball to be passed completely around the circle from start to finish. The only rule is that everyone must use their pencil to move the ball.

Before we begin the activity, I ask students what would excellent teamwork look like? They say things like, "Good listening, encouraging words, being patient, don't yell at people who drop the ball, etc." 

I make a chart on the board like this:

Time# Drops
Trial #1______________
Trial #2______________
Trial #3______________

I ask students to estimate how many second they think it will take for the ball to go all away around the circle. We count the total number of students to help estimate the time. We also estimate the number of drops that will be made.

After the first round, we compare the numbers to our estimates. Was it better, worse, or the same? What were some good examples of students showing good teamwork? Who was patient? Who was focused? Who watched others while they waited to see what works best? Who was encouraging or nice if someone dropped the ball?

Before starting the second trial, I ask the students to share with each other what they think would be necessary for the time and/or drops to improve. Who can share how THEY want to demonstrate better team-building skills?

After the second trial, a similar conversation helps students analyze their performance. How would team-building make a difference in a factory where workers are making toys? How would saving 15 seconds make a difference over an 8-hour shift? How much money could you save if you could prevent 2 drops (damaged toys thrown away) every hour?

In the comments below, please share some of your favorite team-building activities with students.

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