By Teachers, For Teachers
The start of the new school year means you're more than likely to see some new faces among the teaching staff. To help get to know these teachers, learn facts about teachers and make them feel comfortable, try a few team-building activities. These activities will not only increase faculty morale, but student performance as well.
Research has shown that when school districts incorporate team-building strategies into their schools, it creates a sense of belonging, encourages tolerance and team spirit, improves communications skills, and creates an atmosphere of community. Here are a few team-building activities to try with your colleagues.
Who am I?
This easy team-building activity is a great way for teachers to get to know their colleagues on a more personal level and determine common facts about teachers. Here's how it works: Teachers arrange their chairs into a circle and each person is directed to write down one interesting fact about themselves. Next, the papers are tossed into a bowl and shuffled up. The object of this activity is for each teacher to pull out a card and guess whose interesting fact they are reading.
Have You Ever
Have You Ever is an interactive team-building game that gets you up and moving around. To play this game, arrange the chairs into a circle. Then choose one person to start the game by having them stand in the middle of the circle. Their job is to say "Have you ever … "For example, "Have you ever participated in a 5k run?" All of the teachers that have participated would then stand up and find a new seat to sit in. The others who did not stand up would then take turns being the one asking the question.
Six Degrees of Separation
This activity is a great way to create team bonding and practice communication skills among colleagues. This is how it works: Each person is paired with a partner, and their goal is to find five things that they have in common with one another. Once the list is completed, each person must find a new partner who shares at least one of the things on their list. Then, their goal is to make a new list of five things in common. This continues until everyone has met in the classroom, or each person has at least one thing in common with everyone in the room.
This edible and fun team-building exercise has been used in school districts across the country. Have each teacher choose three pieces of candy from a variety of candies that are displayed on the table. Once they have chosen their favorites put up the following chart.
Candy Confession Chart
Chocolate Kisses = Number of years teaching
M&M's = Where you live
Gum = Information about your family
Sweet Tarts = Favorite movie
Kit Kat = Share anything
Have each person take turns using the chart to speak to the rest of their colleagues about themselves. This activity is a fun way to eat, share and bond.
Please Line Up
This ridiculously hard, but fun team-building activity is a great way for teachers to quickly learn each other's names. Tell participants that they have three minutes to line up alphabetically by last name. Then tell them they must line up without speaking to one another. This sounds next to impossible, right? Well it isn't. There are usually at least one or two familiar faces that know each other to help get the line started. Then, from there, teachers will use hand gestures or whatever else they can think of to quickly get in line.
Two Truths and a Lie
This activity is usually used as an icebreaker or getting-to-know you activity with students, but is can also be a wonderful team-building activity for teachers as well. To begin, have each person in the room write down two true facts about themselves and one lie. Then go around the room and have each person read their card. The goal is for the rest of the room to try and spot the lie.
What team building activities do you do in your school to learn fun facts about teachers? Please share in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Guide to Elementary Education for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers across the United States.