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Classroom Management: Teambuilding Tips

Janelle Cox

Using classroom management to create a caring classroom starts with you, the teacher. From the moment your students enter your classroom on the first day of school, you must use classroom management to establish a warm and caring atmosphere. You will need to build a learning environment where students trust not only you, but each other.

Your classroom needs to be a place where students feel free to be themselves and not have any worries. There are many ways that you can accomplish this task, but teambuilding activities are by far the best (and most fun). Along with teambuilding, you will also want to use classroom management to establish clear classroom expectations and procedures, as well as how you arrange your classroom seating.

Classroom Management: Teambuilding

Starting the first week of school, you will want students to partake in several teambuilding activities. This will help build a sense of team spirit, which will lead you into having a caring classroom community. It’s best to pick partners or groups randomly and switch up the teams daily. This will give students an opportunity to build a relationship with all of their classmates. Here are five teambuilding activities to try out. These activities can be used anytime throughout the school year.

Team Talk

This activity can be done with partners or in a small group. One member of each group picks up a “Team talk” card and reads the question aloud, then answers it. The question may be “Do you have any siblings? If so, tell me about them.” Then each member of the team takes a turn answering the question after the question reader poses and answers the question themselves. Make sure to have several “Team talk” questions ready for each team. Here are a few sample questions to get you started.

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  • What is your favorite school subject and why?
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Positive Messages

The purpose of this teambuilding activity is for students to share positive messages with one another. This is more of an activity to do after students have gotten to know one another a little bit. It is also best used when you notice students are not getting along with each other. To begin, have each student create a greeting card and title the front of it with their full name. Ask students to pass their cards to the person to their left and tell them they have one minute to write a positive comment on the card as well as sign their name. Continue to set the timer for one minute and have students keep passing their cards to the left until they get their own card back. By the end of the activity, all students should have their greeting card with positive messages from all of their peers. You may want to brainstorm positive message examples before you begin the activity. Brainstorm words such as kind, smart, caring, athletic, funny, etc.

Team Interview

As a class, brainstorm a list of interview questions that students would like to know about one another. Favorite toy, favorite app, hobbies, family, etc. Write this list as students make suggestions on the front board. Then place students into groups and have them conduct a team interview. To begin, have students count off numbers one to five. All of the ones on each team will stand up and be interviewed by their team. After about three minutes, then all of the twos will stand up, and so on. If at any time a student feels uncomfortable answering a question, they are allowed to say “Pass,” and the students must move on to another question.

Beat the Clock

This teambuilding challenge is a great way for students to learn to work together to get a task done. Break students up into teams of two. Give each team a list of ten classroom items that they need to find in ten minutes (pencils, paper towels, plant). Each team’s list will be different, but all teams only have ten minutes to complete their list. Students then work in teams of two to complete their task until the time runs out.

Team Challenge

Similar to the teambuilding exercise mentioned above, this team challenge activity also makes students work together to complete a task. This team challenge will have students working together within a small team to compete against other teams in their class. The challenge is for students to be the first to write down ten items on a piece of paper. The teacher will announce a topic such as, “List ten types of automobiles” or “List ten flavors of ice cream.” Teams will then see who can be the first to finish their list in the quickest amount of time.

Taking the time to have students complete these teambuilding activities will go a long way in creating a caring classroom environment. While it’s best to start these exercises the first week of school, it is also a good idea to continue to have students partake in these activities throughout the school year.

Do you have your students partake in teambuilding activities? Which activities are your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.