Building relationships and community in your classroom is so important! Your students will work for you if they trust you. The same thing applies to their peers. Students are more likely to have good working relationships if they trust each other. Collaboration and trust start with team building activities. Here are some team building activities for grades 4-8 to try in your classroom this year!
Team Building Activities for
Morning MeetingsStart each morning with a huddle! You don’t have to literally “huddle up”, but starting each day with a morning meeting will help your students talk about what’s on their mind and get to know each other better. Just like in businesses, morning meetings are a time to talk about goals and discuss any obstacles as well as celebrations. For example, your students may mention that they have a math test to study for. In addition, some may share success in classes, sports, or other activities. Morning meetings are the perfect time to share and learn about one another. Start your morning meetings with prompts, but allow for flexibility if your students have topics or issues they need to discuss on a given day. Before you begin your morning meetings, introduce norms and expectations with your students. First, let them know that morning meetings are confidential but if you are concerned about their safety or well-being (or someone else’s) you will have to share that information with trusted adults to protect them. However, when it comes to peer conversations, they are welcome to talk about their struggles without fearing gossip or ridicule.
Flipgrid VideosIf you have any online learners or just want to use an additional technology component for your team building activities for Grades 4-8, consider using Flipgrid. Flipgrid is an online video recording platform. With a simple click of a button, your students can record their own videos in “Grids” that you set up responding to “Topics” of your choosing. For example, set up a “Grid” for 7th grade Social Studies with Topics like “Introduction” and “Current Events”. Students can participate in online discussions by responding in videos. I love Flipgrid because even the shy students like to post their own videos. Read more about getting started with Flipgrid in your classroom.
Collaborative PostersOne way to build classroom community is to let your students help with decorating your room! For each new unit, consider a collaborative poster for your students to make and design together. For each poster, students will take a piece of the design or portion of a letter to color. The result is a big poster you can display on your bulletin board or in the classroom. Posters come with 25 “blocks” to color, so if you have a smaller class, invite early finisher students to do a bonus piece.
If you give classroom jobs, consider having a room decorator. This student can help you hang up the finish poster. On the other hand, if you do not implement classroom jobs, you can have each student hang their piece individually. That is true team building and collaboration!
Team Building Escape RoomOnce you have your poster up for a unit or time of year, have your students really start collaborating with a team building escape room. This team building escape room is designed for students to work together on a treasure hunt to beat the clock. Divide your students up into groups of 4-5. The winners are the students that finish first. You may even have a trophy or special prize for the winning team. For students that struggle with reading comprehension, you can pair them with stronger readers or you may help provide clues. If you don’t want to make it a competition, it’s OK. You can still use this team building activity to help your students work together and learn important curricular concepts! The treasure themed escape room comes with the following activities. Your students will work through each one to unlock clues and find the treasure!
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