Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Getting Back into the Groove

So much happens in students lives when they are away from school on their long winter break, it's important to start back trying to remind the students of our cooperative classroom and reconnect with their peers that they may not have seen or talked to all break.
One class building activity we did this week was called Ants on a Log. The students were asked to line up by height shoulder to shoulder on a long piece of masking tape that stretched the width of the room. Once all of the students were in order, they were informed that they are now standing on a log, and that they could not fall off the log. Then they were told that they needed to get into alphabetical order without falling off the log, and if they fell off the log, then they would all have to start over. They needed to work as a team to figure out how to move everyone around without falling off the log. They tried a couple times and were unsuccessful, but after some creative thinking and listening to their classmates, they were able to successfully re-order themselves.

But then we made it harder, from alphabetical order they had to move into order of birthdays... without talking.

This created a challenge because everyone had to pay attention at all times to see where people needed to go and to see who was trying to cross over them. Without being able to speak, the students started using large hand gestures, which when coupled with the silence of the room, turned into quite a hilarious image.

I find tremendous value in activities like this, where students are required to not only work as a team to accomplish something, but also creatively problem solve. Teaching students to work together to solve a problem in a respectful and productive way.

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