Monday, September 8, 2014

Building Teamwork and Community

Hey There! I've officially been back at school with the kids for 8 days now and we've just begun our first five day week....let's hope I'm still standing by Friday! 

While I'm still awake and functioning I figured I should update this little ole blog.  

At the beginning of the year, I love to focus on character education, effective communication, and building teamwork amongst my students.  

One of my all time favorite books to start off the year is Leo Lionni's Swimmy.  After I share this read aloud we talking about how Swimmy and his friends had to cooperate together to work as a team to defeat the big nasty tuna.  

Following our discussion I challenged my students to work as one large team.  The first challenge was the 'Ocean Waves' challenge.  Using one hula hoop, borrowed from our P.E. teacher, I demonstrated to my students how they each needed to climb in and out of the hula hoop until it has gone around the entire circle of 27 third graders.  The major challenge...NO ONE could let go of each others' hands.  
We had a lot of fun and a lot of giggles!

Next challenge was with our table groupings.  For this I again borrowed a hula hoop for each group, 5 in all.  Since I do a lot of table/group work, I wanted to start the year off right with my students practicing effective communication with one another.  

For this challenge each group had to lift their hula hoop off of the ground using only two fingers on each hand.  Except we had to use the tops of our fingers, that way we couldn't curl them underneath and around the hula hoop.  

Once the hula hoop was up, the teams had to spin the hula hoop around, so that the small piece of wash tape on it made it all the way around the circle.  

Fun, simple, effective. SCORE! 

When the teams returned back to their desks I asked them each to write their name on a little red fish, so that we could build our own team, just like the characters in Swimmy.

When it was all done, we added our thoughts about teams, I was so impressed with their thoughts.  Can you you see the giant fish we build out of our little fish?   I have plans on displaying this chart for a while. 

Our final touch was adding Swimmy onto our Cooperation Theme poster.  You can read more about these posters HERE

Wishing you all of the best in your own classrooms!!! 


  1. What great ideas! I just love your Swimmy chart. That's a book I love to read to my class each year!!
    Keep Calm and Love First Grade

  2. What a cute anchor chart! Great team building, you've done!

  3. Love these ideas for building community, especially the hula hoop!

  4. I love those team building activities! They are lucky to have you!