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July 10, 2019

First Week of School: Team Building and Growth Mindset Activities

The first week of school is a time to build relationships and become a class family, learn and practice routines and expectations, and hopefully have some fun in the process.  Of course you have to figure out what works well for your own classroom, but these activities help me to fulfill many purposes at once.  I wanted to take today and share what Team building & Growth Mindset activities we complete the first week of school.

*Help Harry STEM -
This is a free building activity from The Teacher's Studio.  Basically the kids have to work together to help this little puff ball by building a perch for it to see the classroom.

*Toilet Paper Squares -
I don't do this the first day, but I do have the toilet paper sit out on my front cart for a day or so, the kids of course notice and start wondering what it's for.  When it's time, I pass around the roll and have the kids take what they need.  Some take one square, some take a whole handful.  For each square they have to share in their groups that amount of facts about themselves.  The ones that only take one have the option of sharing more about themselves, the ones that took A LOT don't have a choice, they have to share.  It does help to teach the importance of moderation in group discussions - that we need to have a balance between the talkers and the listeners.

*Growth Mindset Yoda -
This is a youtube video.  After we read the first week book, What Do You Do With a Chance, we complete the paper folding Growth Mindset challenge (from Teaching in Room 6), and then after discussion we watch the video.

*Name Game -
It's the basic game that we play midweek that first week.  We stand in a circle around the edges of the classroom (gets them out of their desks) and I start with my name and a hand motion (which everyone copies), then the person to my left says their name with a hand motion.  Then everyone says their name with the hand motion, and my name/hand motion, then it goes to the 3rd person, 4th, etc.  Sometimes an oldie is a goodie.  Since it's hard for me to remember names, I do this to help myself and others.

*I Like My Neighbor Who Game/Back to School Scoot -
Another oldie but goodie.  We move the chairs into a circle - either inside or outside, one chair is missing.  The person without a chair says "I like my neighbor who _____" and completes the sentence with either something people can see, an opinion, or a fact.  "I like my neighbor with black shoelaces" and those students with black shoelaces have to quickly change spots to another chair, the speaker moves with them.  The next person comes up with another idea - I like my neighbor who loves pizza" and more kids move, I like my neighbor who plays football, etc...  I play with the kids, it's fun, and if I am the one missing the chair then I usually choose something that ALL kids get up and move - I like my neighbor who is in 5th grade.

*Beach Ball Questions -
It's another simple thing.  I have a cheap beach ball that I have written a lot of random questions all over.  Throughout the first couple of weeks I have it close by and will toss it when we have a couple of minutes (that first week timing is off as I get to know the kids and how long things take them).  The kid who catches it has to read the question under their right hand and answer it, then they throw it back to me.  I keep track who has shared and toss based on my list.  I want all kids to participate.
Sample questions: Best pizza topping? Best summer activity? Future career? Best video game? Captain American vs. Iron Man? Sharks vs. Whales? Birthday? How many siblings?

*Find Someone Who -
There are so many out there on TPT.  I use this one from Blair Turner as part of her Back to School booklet.  The booklet the kids have on their desks from day 1 and work on it when they have extra time that first week, before I collect it on that first Friday.  Find Someone Who is a game where kids wander around the room finding people with those specific facts.

*Pineapple Project - This product from Leslie Ann is a great one regarding hospitality and being a friend.  I love the partner activity game and the interview sheets.

*What Can You Learn from a Cactus - This product from Layla Henry is great for Growth Mindset.  We read the close read passage, and then use the included questions to have a class discussion.  I bring in a cactus (that stays on my counter for a reminder), and the kids are welcome to bring in their own mini cactus to take care of throughout the year.  This year I want to do this cute craft (The Best Idea for Kids ad from FB), but I don't know if it's going to be a whole class project, or just be trying to be creative this summer (with my own boys).  Either way, it's cute!

Hope this helps someone!


1 comment:

  1. I love your ideas to build a community in our classroom. Thanks for sharing!


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