Saturday, August 30, 2014

Teamwork Time!

In order for our kids to have authentic learning experiences, they need to be able to collaborate with each other. Its not always in our nature to want to work with other people, so before we can have our kids collaborate on group projects or activities they need to LEARN how to do that! This week we did a couple of teamwork activities in class. Throughout September I am going to try some other ones, or even repeat some and see how our problem solving abilities have changed as we have been a class for a longer period of time. Here are the ones we tried this week:

Two on a Crayon:

What do you do: Two students have to hold one crayon, at the same time, and draw a picture. The catch? NO talking! 
Purpose: we can't always have our own way! Sometimes there has to be some give and take! 
Class Discussion: Who was the leader? Were you able to take turns? This year, as with the other years I have done this, my kids can quickly point out who were the leaders, and even admit if they kind of took over the picture!

One Piece at a Time:

What do you do: Pass out a floor size puzzle pieces to each student. Some kids will get two and you will have to remind everyone that it is okay if not everyone has two! :) As a class look at the picture and decide where to start. If kids have pieces that they think go in that area they can go in the middle of the rug to put them together. 
Purpose: The point is we really can't argue or tell other people what to do, but we can each contribute as pieces of our class puzzle! :)

The Marshmallow Challenge:

What do you do: During some training this summer we watched the TED talk about the Marshmallow Challenge, and then proceeded to do the challenge. Check out the talk and instructions. Then proceed to spend 20 minutes watching your kids get to work. BEST 20 minutes EVER!!
Purpose: Well, besides trying to build the tallest tower, its really about working together. And none of my groups actually made a tower that stood, but I learned so much about my kiddos watching them work. When we talked afterwards about how it went, I shared with them the Learner Profiles and Attitudes I noticed. I picked one for each group.

Table 1: Creativity. Oh. My. Word. The two boys at that table got to work. One of them is one of my wigglers, but this activity was right up his ally! If one idea didn't work, they tried a new one...and they were some pretty creative ones!

Table 2: Communicator: This group was great a communicating with each other... both positive and negative thoughts! Most of their communication had to do with wanting the other person to share or follow their idea! :)

Table 3: Independence: I guess even in teamwork we have our independent thinkers! :) This group didn't work together too much until the very end, they barely even talked, but they did work well by themselves!

Table 4: Enthusiasm: This precious group LOVED the learning process. The joy and laughter they shared while they worked was contagious! These kids worked, laughed, and then worked some more! Their tower almost stood up, and they didn't once argue the whole time! :) 

I learned a lot about my kiddos just from these 3 activities! I can't wait to do some more activities in the next couple of weeks! Check back for more updates!

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