The family that plays together stays together, so here are some festive frolics that we’ve tried to team build with, bond, and gel our faculty family.
Wrap a dozen freshly-cut wooden blocks of pine in aluminum foil and top it with a bow and a tag that reads You Are A Gift To (insert school name). As you give them out to faculty members, let them know what it is about who they are that makes them a gift to your school family. Encourage them to pass it along to a colleague with their affirmation. Give it about a week and watch the cheer spread like wildfire.
Let’s talk turkey, that’s three strikes in a row to a bowler. But did you also know that you could actually bowl with the fowl? A frozen one, that is. Nothing spells teamwork like putting together a team that’ll replace the traditional bowling ball with a frozen bird to knock down the pins. We set up two bowling lanes in the gym for our annual Turkey Bowl Tournament. The winning team earned a free two-hour shopping pass while administrators covered their classes. Now that’s something to gobble about!
Sweet Potato Launch.
This fun-filled competition requires a bunch of sweet potatoes and a balloon launcher. Faculty teamed up to see how far they could launch the sweet potato of their choice. There was more laughter during this outdoor event than we’d heard in a long time, and everyone felt like a winner as they took their turn to launch their potato. The team that hoisted the spud the farthest won cranberries, stuffing, and a pumpkin pie for their holiday feast.
Another of our memorable moments was the time we shook things up and hosted a Bunko party. Bunko, an easy dice game, makes for an exciting mixer because there is so much commotion during the games. As faculty members won or lost rounds, they moved from table to table and got to mingle with other team members that they might not usually get to talk to or see. We partnered with five local businesses so we could award gift cards for distinctions like most wins, most losses, and most Bunkos.
The Price Is Right.
This holiday outing had a element of surprise because we didn’t tell the faculty where they were going, just that we were taking them on a bus ride. We’d arranged after-school childcare, so all they had to do was get on board, where they were given their instructions. Thanks to a WalMart grant, each team had a $75.00 gift card and 20 minutes to shop for a child in need. Their challenge was to get as close to the actual amount without going over. The holiday spirit was palpable as these teams raced the clock and played Santa through the store. We met back in the library afterwards and shared some appetizers as each team showed what they’d bought. Later that night, our administrators played elves and left the gifts on the doorsteps of the families we’d “adopted.”
This one was another surprise outing for our faculty. They knew they were going somewhere, but they didn’t know where or why. Each team was given a PAK (Planned Acts of Kindness) Sack with items like a tin of homemade holiday treats, a $5 bill, a Character Poster, a bottle of window cleaner with a roll of paper towels. Their instructions were also inside the Sack: Give the goodies to a community service organization, find someone who could use the $5 and pay it forward, take the Character Poster to a business and ask to hang it up, offer to wash someone’s windows, and perform a community service. Teams took pictures so we could share them when we met back for cookies and punch. I’ll never forget the touching picture of that man at the laundry mat dancing as he waved that $5 bill in the air.
So many priceless ways to enJOY the season; I think I hear caroling in our future. What will your faculty do to celebrate together this year?
About the Author
A bilingual educator who was raised on her family’s farm in Wisconsin, Barbara Gruener has been the counselor and character coach at Westwood-Bales Elementary School in Friendswood, Texas for the past ten years. She’s also a motivational speaker and loves to influence and impact workshop participants in her signature Sing, Dance, Laugh and Build Character sessions. When she’s not at school, Barbara likes to write, read, knit, bake, and spend time with family and friends. Check out Barbara’s uplifting blog to read her inspirational stories about positive people and elevating experiences.