The beginning of the school year inevitably brings with it staff meetings filled with massive amounts of paperwork and “getting to know you” activities. If you have been chosen to lead some of the team building activities, you know how challenging it can be to come up with something new and fun that (almost!) everyone will enjoy. The ideas below are a great way to build up that team spirit and help reinforce some of the skills that are so important in teaching.
Effective Team Building Activities for Teachers
This activity calls for a bit of mayhem and chaos, but in a good, productive way. In a different room, set up one obstacle course for each pair of teachers. For obstacles, you can place chairs in their path, desks at an angle, even a pencil that must be stepped over or picked up. Have four or five obstacles that each team must navigate through, around or over.
Have one of the teachers put on a blindfold and designate the other one as the person who will be giving directions. All at the same time, have the direction givers direct their charges out of the current room and into the obstacle course room. Switch roles and have the blindfolded teacher now become the direction giver while the other teacher gets blindfolded. Again, all at the same time, have the teachers work through their designated obstacle courses.
There will be a lot of noise, a lot of distraction and a lot of concentration needed to complete the task. It will be a good reminder for teachers that even amidst the chaos of daily classroom activity, they have to listen closely to the needs of each child. Some of those needs may be spoken loudly, while others are only heard in whispers. At the end of the activity, have teachers reflect on how it felt to follow directions and how challenging it was to hear the specific instructions above the noise.
Speed Team Building
Playing off of the idea of speed dating, this activity gives everyone a chance to meet one another in intervals of one minute. Arrange the room so that there are two long rows of tables with chairs across from each other at the table. Set up enough spots for everyone who will be participating. Have half of the teachers sit down on one side of each table and the other half stand behind the empty chairs. When you start the timer, have the teachers who are standing sit down and talk with those who are across from them. Each conversation will last one minute before the timer goes off. Have those who had been standing initially, move on to the next chair and start the timer again. Continue until all have had a chance to meet one another. If you have a very large group, you can cut the time to 30 seconds.
Give each person a balloon to blow up and decorate with a face using a permanent marker. Have them place the balloons in the center of a large sheet or tarp that you have placed on the ground. Explain that each balloon represents a staff member in the school who is part of the team. With everyone holding onto a side of the sheet, lift it high into the air. The object of the exercise is to keep the balloons supported and from touching the ground. Alter the exercise by allowing people to let go of the sheet to catch the stray balloons and place them back on the sheet. The activity will have people laughing while also forcing them to work together to keep all of the balloons “safe.”
What are some of your favorite team building/getting to know you exercises?
Do you enjoy staff team building workshops?
Let us know! We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions!