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10 Teambuilding Activities for You to Try

10 Practical Team Building Activities
Welcome...if you have come directly to this session you might find it valuable to reviews the previous 2 sessions.

Teambuilding: Getting Students Ready to Work Together
  • What is an Effective Cooperative Team?
  • Why Use Team Building Activities?
Some Practical Ideas about Facilitating Team Building Activities
  • Before Conducting the Activity
  • During the Activity
  • After the Activity
This will provide you with a review of the practical things you already do to get students to learn or the readings will give you new insights into how to prepare yourself and your students to work effectively together.

And remember....The activities that follow are tools to help you achieve learning goals. Keep focused on these goals to prevent an activity from becoming an end in itself. Be flexible. Although activities have rules, don't become obsessed with them. An important requirement for effective teamwork is to maintain your sense of humour.

Kathy and I have prepared another 10 activities which we will share with you latter and of course we would like to hear about your favourites and publish them so others can learn. Kathy had a better suggestion why not set up your own session and share your ideas with others that way.

1. Get Acquainted (All Ages)
Group Size: any size class
Time Line: 20 minutes
Equipment Needed: Get Acquainted sheet, pencil or pen
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
See the Get Acquainted Sheet for a sample record sheet. The number of questions, and their content can be modified for the age of the students. Pictures can be used for younger students. Questions can be written in a grid as well.

GET ACQUAINTED SHEET

Names and faces go together soon after you have met your classmates. But you know very little about your friends if you know only their names.
Find out about your classmates by completing the blanks below with the names of your classmates. Try to find a different person for each description.
Find a classmate...
1. Who has blue eyes ______________________
2. Who has two brothers ______________________
3. Whose middle name has six letters _______________________
4. Who has traveled to another country ______________________
5. Whose parent is a teacher ________________________
6. Who likes to ski ______________________
7. Whose favourite TV show is the same as yours _____________________
8. Who has more than 1 pet _____________________
9. Who likes to read ______________________
10. Who has sung in a choir _______________________
11. Who likes spinach _______________________
12. Whose favourite colour is purple ____________________
13. Who has a birthday in September
14. Who loves computers_____________________
15. Who lives more than one km from school ____________________
16. Who is the only child in the family ____________________
17. Who rides a bus to school _____________________
18. Who is a good artist ______________________
19. Who can speak another language _____________________
20. Who has two great-grandparents _____________________
Make up another description and find classmates who will fit.

Suggested Reflection Questions
Content (cognitive learning)
• What did you discover about your classmate?
• Why is it important to get to know other students in the class?
Social Skills (Social Learning)
• How did you know others were listening well when you spoke?
• How did this activity help our class get better acquainted?
• What skills did your team use to make this activity successful?
Personal Learning
• What were you feeling when you were speaking or listening?
• What qualities about yourself did you discover?
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?

2. The Story of Your Name (all age levels)
Group Size:
Time Line: 10 minutes
Equipment Needed: Get Acquainted sheet, pencil or pen
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
Where does your name come from? Share the story of where your name comes from and what your name means. Everyone's name has a surprisingly interesting origin. Helps to build intercultural respect and understanding.
1. What's in a name? More than we often realize. This is an interesting, novel way for people to introduce themselves to others, especially in ethnically diverse groups.
2. Ensure that an appropriate group atmosphere is established in which people have already done some initial warm-up activities and name games.
3. Ask participants to turn to a partner and explain what your name means (if anything) and where it comes from.
4. Most people reveal a surprising amount of interesting information about where their name comes from and what it means.
5. The greater the ethnic and cultural diversity in the group, the better this exercise tends to work.
6. Can be specifically used to help build intercultural respect and understanding or to more generally help develop self-identity and open respect and sharing.

Optional: Ask each person to introduce his/her partner to the larger group and to explain what his/her name means and where it comes from.

Suggested reflection questions:
Content (cognitive learning)
• What did you discover about your classmate?
Social Skills (Social Learning)
• How did you know others were listening well when you spoke?
Personal Learning
• What were you feeling when you were speaking or listening?
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?

3. Snowball Fight (All ages)
Group Size: any group size
Time Line: 10 minutes
Equipment Needed: Sheet of paper, pencil or pen
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
Give everyone a white sheet of paper. Their name is written in the middle of the paper and the sheet is divided into three sections. In section 1 have them write one thing they are excited about, in section 2 one thing they are nervous about, and finally in section 3 one thing they would like to learn. (They can draw a picture if they aren't able to write yet.)
Wad up the paper and have half the class throw their snowballs. The other half of the class picks up a snowball and reads the information. Next, they have to find whom it belongs to. This allows for a greeting and further discussion of the information.
This is great for getting to know each other and seeing what their fears and expectations really are. At the end of the year, it's usually what they remember most.

Suggested reflection questions:
Content (cognitive learning)
• Why is it important for team members to share information about themselves?
• Are there other good questions we could ask?
Social Skills (Social Learning)
• How did you know others were listening well when you spoke?
Personal Learning
• What were you feeling when you were speaking or listening?
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?

4. Autobiography Poem (Ages 11 and Up)
Group Size: Any Size
Time Line: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: Paper, pencil or pen, the 10 lines of information that will need to be included
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
On the first day of school tell your students that their first assignment will be to write a poem. You will hear moans and groans at this point, especially since you might have a math class. Tell them it will be the easiest poem they have ever written because it will be about them.
1. The first line is their first name,
2. The second line is three words that describe themselves,
3. The third line is three things they like,
4. The fourth line is three things they do not like,
5. The fifth line is three movies they have seen (could do books they have read, but movies usually get a better response),
6. The sixth line is things they are looking forward to…,
7. The seventh line is three things they like about school,
8. The eighth line is two goals they have,
9. The nine line is a place they would like to visit, and
10. The tenth line is their last name. You could adjust any of these lines to suit your classes.

Remind your students to keep it appropriate in content. Collect the poems. The next day you can read them and have the students guess which poem goes with which person. When you read the poems aloud, omit the first and last lines.

Suggested reflection questions:
Content (cognitive learning)
• Why is it important for team members to share information about themselves?
• Are there other good ideas that could have been included?
Personal Learning
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?
• How did you feel sharing this information?


5. Back to School Back Pack (All Ages)
Group Size: any size
Time Line: 10 minutes
Equipment Needed: Backpack with "things about you"
Space Required: classroom open area or students at desks
Activity Description:
Introduce yourself to your class by bringing a backpack to school. In it put several things that tell something about you: favorite book, a picture of your family, something you value, a picture you have painted, for example...

After the students have arrived, have them sit together on the floor to get to know each other. Start with yourself by pulling one item out at a time and discussing how it relates to you. Make sure the students can handle the items so that you can pass them around. When you are done, go around the circle and have each student share one thing about him or herself.

Some teachers send the backpack home each day until everyone has had a day. The student selected to carry the backpack home returns with 2 or 3 things and gets to share with the class.

Suggested reflection questions:
Content (cognitive learning)
• Why is it important for team members to share information about themselves?
• What did you learn?
• What questions would you like to ask me?
Social Skills (Social Learning)
• Why is listening an important skill?
Personal Learning
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?

6.Journey through School (10 years and up)
Group Size: any size
Time Line: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: Large Paper (A4, A3), markers,
Space Required: classroom open area or students at desks
Activity Description
1. Assemble teams of 4.
2. Give each student a piece of paper and crayons or markers and have him or her draw a visual illustration of "my schooling to now," a road that has twists and turns, hills and valleys. Include "road signs:' "place names," and labels of events, people, places and things.
3. Invite each student to share his or her "Journey Through School" with his or her teammates,
4. Ask the students to give respectful and active listening to each speaker. Encourage teammates to ask questions after each presentation to draw out more details, and express their mutual feelings or concerns.

Suggested Reflection Questions
Content (cognitive learning)
• Why is it important to be able to draw a "Life Map?"
• How were the maps in your team the same?
Social skills (social learning)
• How could you tell that your team members were being good listeners when others shared their "Life Maps?"
• How did tribe members help each other during this activity?
Personal learning
• How did you feel as you made your life map/as you shared with your tribe?
• What did you learn about yourself?
• How are you a unique and special individual?

7. Lets Form Groups (All Ages)
Group Size: any size
Time Line: 20 minutes or as much time as you can spare
Equipment Needed: Overhead with team formation directions
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
This is a game about forming and reforming groups as quickly as possible. The teacher will direct the group to form smaller groups, based upon some criteria verbalized to the group, at a signal. The goal is to get as many people to introduce themselves to as many other people as possible. It is not designed to see how fast or successfully the group can accomplish the teacher's directive. The teacher needs to give the group enough time to get into teams and then introduce themselves to one another if the team activity calls for it. It is important to keep the pace of the activity rather fast. Example teams:
1. Get into a group of three and introduce yourself;
2. Get into a different group of five people and introduce yourself;
3. Get into a group of 2 people who have shirts that are the "same" color and introduce yourself;
4. Get into a group of 3 people who have the "same" or similar interests and introduce yourself;
5. Get into a group of people whose names have the same vowel come first in their first name and share your first names;
6. Get into a group of 4 people who were born in the same season (fall, winter, spring, summer);
7. In your season group, arrange yourselves by birth date (month and day)
8. Think of the last digit of your telephone number and get with every person who has the same last digit;
9. Find another person who lives about the same distance from school as you.

Suggested Reflection Questions
Content (cognitive learning)
• Why is it important to get into your groups quickly?
• Why is it important to get to know other students in the class?
Social Skills (Social Learning)
• How did this activity help our class get better acquainted?
• What are some benefits of working with others rather than alone?
Personal Learning
• What were you feeling when you were speaking or listening?
• What did you enjoy most about this activity?

8. Alphabet Line-up (All ages)
Group Size: classroom
Time Line: 5-10 minutes
Equipment Needed: none
Space Required: perimeter, of classroom
Activity Description:
1. Children line up so first names/last names are in alphabetical order.
2. Then form random groups of any size by counting off.

Questions to Discuss while in a line up (Try to develop questions that are interesting, relate to lesson objectives, and will be "taken to heart" by students.)
a. What is your favourite place in the whole world? Why?
b. If you had to give up a favorite food, which would be the most difficult to give up?
c. What is one food you'd never want to taste again?
d. If you won a lottery ticket and had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
e. You've been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?
f. If you could be any superhero and have super powers, which one would you like to have and why?
g. What award would you love to win and for what achievement?
h. If you could transport yourself anywhere instantly, where would you go and why?
i. In your opinion, which animal is the best (or most beautiful) and why?
j. What is one item that you really should throw away, but probably never will?
k. Growing up, what were your favorite toys to play with as a child?
l.
m. _________________________________________________________

And for younger children
1. What is your name (first and last)?
2. What is your birthday?
3. What state (or province) and country were you born in?
4. How many sisters do you have?
5. How many brothers do you have?
6. What is your favorite food?
7. What is your favorite sport or game?
8. What is your favorite animal?
9. What is your favorite TV show?
10. What is your favorite movie?
11. What is your favorite subject in school?
12. What is your favorite pizza topping?
13. What is your favorite hobby?
14. What is your favorite holiday?
15. How many languages do you speak?
16. What do you want to be when you grow up?
17. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you want to go?
18. How many books did you read last summer?

9. Pair Interview
Group Size: any size
Time Line: 20 minutes time will depend on the number of interview questions you decide to use
Equipment Needed: Overhead with team formation directions
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description:
Members get into groups of two and interview one another. Possible questions to use:
1. Who do you think is the most important person who has lived in the past 100 years?
2. What is the best movie you have seen recently?
3. What is the title of the last book you have read?
4. If you could be any animal other than human, what would you be?
5. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
6. What is your favorite sport?
7. One adjective to describe me is...
8. The emotion I find most difficult to control is...

Suggested Reflection Questions

Content (cognitive learning)
• What did you discover about your classmate?
• Why is it difficult to answer some of the questions?
Social Skills (social learning)
• Which social skills did you, as a pair, use to make this activity successful?
• Why is attentive listening important during this activity?
Personal learning
• How did you feel about being interviewed?
• What did you learn about yourself from this activity?
• What unique qualities are you proud of as a result of this activity?

10. Five Finger Introduction
Group Size: any size students will do individual work first
Time Line: 20 minutes time will depend on the number of questions you decide to use
Equipment Needed: Overhead with team formation directions
Space Required: classroom
Activity Description
• Each person traces their hand onto a piece of paper
• The teacher asks 5 questions, one at a time, the answers to be placed in the fingers, starting with the thumb. (See list of possible questions in the activities above)
• Once completed, all students get up from their seats and walk quietly about the classroom until they hear a signal from the teacher.
• At this point the students pair up with the person closest to themselves and share the information recorded on their "hand"

Suggested reflection questions:

Content (cognitive learning)
• What did you learn about your partner?
• What are the most common things you shared?
• How else might we use a 5 Finger organizer?
Social skills
• Why is it important to face your teammate when talking to him or her?
• How does it make you feel when a person is listening to you?
• How would you feel if you were talking and the person did not listen?
Personal Learning
• How did it feel when you got up and walked around?
• Why is it important to get to know every student in the classroom?


  1. JohnPhilipGreen saidThu, 21 Aug 2008 23:43:33 -0000 ( Link )

    Which is your favorite?

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  2. artteacherlady saidSun, 24 Aug 2008 04:27:39 -0000 ( Link )

    I like #2 & #4

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  3. Schneewittchen saidMon, 22 Sep 2008 20:10:30 -0000 ( Link )

    My favorite is number 10. I like to use the hand/fingers. and kids are very motivated too. my class love ist. We use the 5 fingers for listing knowledge (5 things I know about: …) and even for evaluate our work/teamwork.

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  4. KathyGreen saidMon, 22 Sep 2008 21:44:36 -0000 ( Link )

    I agree with Schneewittchen- 5 fingers is very versatile and the students really enjoy it. I like the idea of using it for reflection and evaluation after a day’s lesson. It is easy to use and personal because you are tracing your own hand. Small photos of students can be added, and they can be used to post thank you comments from team mates.

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  5. aschulte saidTue, 23 Sep 2008 17:54:02 -0000 ( Link )

    I like the line-ups in different variations, its easy to do and you can have a lot of fun.
    the poem and the fivefingers are my next favourites, I wouldn´t do the journey through school.

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  6. KathyGreen saidWed, 24 Sep 2008 18:25:06 -0000 ( Link )

    Hey Aschulte-I never tire of the line-ups as well. I love it when I think up new ones that people enjoy. My newest value line-up had this question, " Which is more important, Intelligence or Common sense?" We had a very interesting discussion after I folded the line. Then I formed the groups from the folded line-gave a good variety of opinion in the group. Thanks for the blog. Kathy

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  7. Jana saidSat, 27 Sep 2008 20:42:45 -0000 ( Link )

    Thank you for these ideas, Norm and Kathy. I like and tried the 5-finger, but now I’m looking forward to try the snowball activity. Probably my pupils will have fun with it and will get connected.
    Also very interesting to me is the journey through school, aschulte, why wouldn’t you do it?

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  8. Sureshbala saidMon, 20 Oct 2008 08:51:54 -0000 ( Link )

    My favorites are 3 and 9. Especially with the help of activity 9 one can get very good information about their colleagues that will aid him in getting closer to them.

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  9. saortega saidFri, 23 Jan 2009 20:25:40 -0000 ( Link )

    Hi, I was looking for these activities but I couldn’t find them. I’m so happy to read this page and remember some activities I tried with Norm and Kathy in Italy. Thank you so much for your beatiful minds!!

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  10. Teambuilding saidTue, 14 Dec 2010 12:48:29 -0000 ( Link )

    thanks
    great job i think this post gives a good collection of things that make the difference
    best regards
    [url]http://www.club-artnature.com[/url]

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  11. missy_b saidTue, 30 Apr 2013 15:05:41 -0000 ( Link )

    do this work ?

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  12. tsglaze saidFri, 14 Mar 2014 18:07:45 -0000 ( Link )

    Thanks for sharing, Kathy – this is a fun and easy list of activities for people to try.
    As a facilitator (you can find me at http://www.greatresultsteambuilding.net/ ) I work often with teachers and schools, and many of these can be done to share some of the same insights that our pre-planning events offer…

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