The Basics of Teacher Team Building-Part 7-Fun and Challenging Team-Building Exercises
Last week we ending up with “Extraordinary things happen when people are smiling and laughing!”
So, here are some fun and challenging team-building exercises:
1. CANDY CONFESSIONS
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
Now have each staff take turns using the chart to speak to the rest of their staff about themselves. This activity is a fun way to eat, share and bond.
2. 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 teachers that they have three minutes to line up alphabetically by last their 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.
3. SILENT SHUFFLE
Divide the group into teams of 5 people or more. Explain that you will give instructions for the groups to line up in a particular order. Each group needs to get into their order as rapidly as possible and then clap when done. (If you want to make this a competitive activity, each team receives a point whenever they finish first.) It is a good idea to start with basic, non-threatening instructions for the first few line-up choices (i.e. shortest to tallest, or length of time with school). You can make these line-ups as complicated or simple as you like.
4. CENTER SCAVENGER HUNT
Hide a prize in the center. When teachers arrive in the morning give them a clue (each teacher or each classroom team). You can either give them a clue that leads to another clue or give them clues every hour that give them more and more details as to the prize location. If you have clues lead to other clues, be sure no one takes the clues so all staff can play.
OTHER STAFF MOTIVATION/MORALE-BUILDING IDEAS:
• Humor Area: Set up a “humor room” or add a bulletin board in a high traffic area. Post funny articles, cartoons, quotes, etc. Buy an assortment of books, magazines, games, videos, and other props. Encourage staff to take humor breaks. Give small humorous gifts to your clients.
• Witty Words: Include humor in your correspondence to clients and staff. Add it to your sales publications and newsletters.
• Humor in the Environment: Brighten your space with humorous posters and pictures. Encourage others to do the same.
• Theme Day: Designate once a month or maybe each Friday as a “special” day: Casual Day, Christmas in July, or Beach Retreat. Post these ideas.
• Wear Your Humor: Send out a comical message by wearing a funny pin, tie, or even a hat. This is a great icebreaker to the monthly meeting!
• Staff Development: Offer a program for your staff on humor. Let them experience the positive benefits that laughter brings to an organization and the team. Work with a professional humorist to adapt a lighter work environment.
• Special Events: Schedule regular “stress buster” events. Try adding employee appreciation events. Make up special days – Aloha Fridays, Chinese Buffet Getaway Day. Be creative on April Fool’s Day, Groundhog Day or celebrate April as National Humor Month. There are many affordable theme stores or websites to gather unique ideas and inexpensive novelties from to add to the celebration.
• Sunshine Club: Establish a group who plans and implements a variety of activities throughout the year with or without small financial contributions monthly by the employees.
• Theme days – i.e. Western day
• White board in bathroom with trivia, questions of the day, jokes, picture-caption contest, etc.
• Breakfast or lunch for staff once a month
• Employee of the month parking spot
• Staff appreciation week
• Staff spotlight or employee of the month board
• Star board (bulletin board with blank stars so parents and co-workers can write thank you notes to staff and post publicly)
• Appoint a social coordinator to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries and makes sure they are recognized
• Monthly contest – cleaning, best bulletin board, most process art, door decorating, etc.
• Friendly Fridays – rooms rotate the responsibility of bringing in treats for all staff
• Monthly raffles/guessing jars
• Staff family picnic
• Yearly goofy award dinner (i.e. “most flexible employee” receives bendy toy, “most creative employee” gets art supplies, etc…)
• Support the staff’s need for professional development by offering workshops and speakers at meetings
• Thorough new staff orientation plan including follow-up and expectations
• Have an open forum at staff meetings so teachers help each other solve problems
• Delegate jobs to staff that use/develop their skills
• Provide a clean, organized, cozy staff lounge
• Let teachers lead parts of staff meetings
• Start a bowling or softball team and join a league
• Do a service activity together (i.e. adopt a family, meals on wheels, etc.)
• Motivation Bag – small bag with items such as:
Penny – for luck
Lifesavers – “To save you on those days when nothing seems to go the right way!”
Smarties – for extra brain power
Starbursts – “To reflect the “burst” of happiness you bring to so many children”
Rubber Band – demonstrates flexibility
Crayon – “To color the day bright and cheerful”
Seed packets – “To have a ‘Bloomin’ day!
Mints – “You’re worth a ‘MINT’ to us”
Frames – “Thanks for a PICTURE perfect day”
Playdough – “For MOLDING the future”
Candles – “For lighting up the lives of the children in your care”
Remember, continuously inspire staff by including humor into your daily activities!
Next week: TOP 10 QUALITIES OF A GREAT TEACHER