My education occurred in the ’50s and early ’60s. How different things were then. Teachers were held in high esteem. Parents never questioned them and most children obeyed knowing there would be consequences for bad behaviour. Over the years things have changed dramatically and quite often educators are held accountable for their student’s misbehaviour.
This has caused much stress for teachers and principals. The educational system is now dealing with huge cultural differences, bullying, drugs, gender identification and negativity.
In order to cope with these problems, it is found that team building activities for teachers help to inspire, motivate, affirm as well as encourage collaboration and communication with educators.
Let me guide you through some team building activities not only for teachers but high school and middle school students.
- Team Building Activities for Teachers Meetings
The best way to start a meeting or team building activities is by using Icebreakers first. This will help everyone to relax and to warm up to help make the program run more smoothly. Below are some examples of icebreakers.
- Two truths and a lie: Using index cards have each person write down one lie about themselves and 2 truths.Pair each person with someone they do not typically engage with and share what’s on their cards. Each person must guess what the other’s lie is.
This is a great way for people to disrupt the initial assumptions that we make about each other.
- Wordless birthday lineup: Have the group line up in order of their birthday. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? However, the trick is to do it non- verbally. To get started, place January birthdays on one end of the room.Once everyone has lined up the person at the front of the line says their birthday and the others follow. Knowing everyone’s birthday builds relationships.
- Pictionary: Here is a fun game to play with a large group. Create funny school-related categories on slips of paper(for example, Late Pass, Pizza Day, Exam Day, PD Day) Divide the group into two teams.One member of each team has to draw what is written on the slip in one minute. This is a fun icebreaker to improve communication, laugh and gets the energy flowing.
2 Culture Building Activities for Teachers
- Role Playing: Conversations with difficult parents can be very uncomfortable for many teachers. This is also a great exercise dealing with solutions to dealing with conflicts and rivalries that arise between teachers and administrators.Break the group into teams and give them a scenario to role-play. Let them work their way through while others observe. As the scene plays out, tell the players to freeze and get feedback and guidance from the audience.
This team building activity can encourage empathy on both sides.
- Yes, and….: have the teaching staff pair off in groups of two. The goal of this team building activity is to keep the conversation going as long as possible.One person starts out with a statement and the next person replies with “yes, and…” as they keep the conversation going.
This is a powerful yet fun professional development activity for teachers and helps them with new solutions to challenging situations.
- What Just Happened: Do you have problems with concentration and or memory? This is a fabulous team building activity for teachers. Provide the groups with some fun props such as silly glasses scarves or other small items that can fit into a pocket.Divide the group into two teams. Have the teams face each other and tell team one to observe team two.
Team one leaves and team two changes five things about its appearance using the props or just getting creative. The other team returns and has 30 seconds to notice five changes.
Reverse the teams and see which one can notice the changes within 30 seconds. This is sort of like finding Waldo! It also helps to remember students or even parents of students especially at the beginning of the year.
3. Team Building Activities for High School Students
Hosting team building activities for high school students can strengthen the relationship between groups of students and help them communicate more openly and effectively with one another.
Below are some noteworthy suggestions for fun team building activities for the classroom.
- Plastic Cup Tower: For this team building activity for high schools students divide the students into groups and give each group a stack of plastic cups to see who can build the highest tower.But let’s make this a bit challenging though. Blindfold each group leader and have their team shout out directions on how to build their tower. There will be loud shouting and ribald laughter! This is a stress buster for sure.
- Balloon Pass: Divide the students into 2 groups for this activity for the classroom. Each student should have 2 pencils (preferably not sharpened!).Each team will receive a balloon which they must blow up when the game commences.
They will pass the balloon around in a circle using only their pencils. The first team who successfully passes the balloon around their circle is the winner.
- Hula Hooping: Who doesn’t love a hula hoop? This could be a frustrating but hilarious team building activity for students. This is a timed game. See how long it takes for the group to pass the hula hoop around the circle. Hey, this sounds too easy. Oh, did I neglect to tell you that the students must be holding hands the entire time!Divide kids into groups of 8 to 10. Have one student put her arm through a hula hoop then join hands with the student next to her. Then, ask all the kids to join hands with the student on either side of them, forming one large, connected circle.
Now, direct students to figure out how to pass the hula hoop to the person next to them without breaking the chain of hands. The goal is to get the hula hoop back to the first student without breaking the chain. Two or more groups can race to see who accomplishes the task first. The hula hoop pass activity targets teamwork, problem-solving, and strategizing.
4. Team Building Activities for Middle School.
These kids often have a difficult time in transition. They are no longer little kids but not yet a teenager.
These children need to be taught empathy, problem solving and communication amongst their peers as well as adults. The best way of accomplishing this is through team building activities for middle school.
We need to make these team building activities fun but challenging enough to hold their attention. Here are some great team building activities for this age group.
- Tower Challenge: Divide the students into groups and provide each team with 50 mini marshmallows. (Better tell them not to eat them until the team building activity is over!) The teams are challenged to build the highest structure within 5 minutes.The structure needs to be stable for at least 10 seconds. The team that accomplishes this feat is declared the winner and if they would like they can eat their building! Oh, ok so can the others!. This team building activity for middle school targets teamwork, communication and problem-solving.
- Obstacle Course Challenge: Set up an obstacle course using traffic cones or even cardboard boxes for this team building activity for middle school.Divide the students into teams and blindfold one student on each team. The student is guided verbally by the other students. Commands could be “turn left” or “go back” or “crawl on your knees”.
The first blindfolded player who completes the course first is the winner. This team building activity for middle schools targets trust, active listening and cooperation.
- Disaster Strikes: This is a team building activity that students will never say that “it’s lame”! They have all seen Jurassic Park and Jaws. They love adventure stories that have a strong element of scary in them.Divide the students into groups of 8 to 10. Describe a fictional or scary scenario in which they have found themselves.
Perhaps they may have survived a sinking ship and have found themselves on a deserted island or they may have been in a plane crash in a remote desert area. For the next 15 minutes, they must put together a survival plan.
Each team will select a spokesperson to report their results when they finish their team building exercise for middle school children.
Although there are no winning teams this team building activity engages their creativity, critical thinking and teamwork.
5. Fun Professional Development Activities for Teachers
Each teacher, each faculty member and each student comes to school with different backgrounds, strengths, challenges and concerns.
The main purpose here is to identify what each student needs and how these needs are met.
This is where teachers can bond and create a positive school culture. The best way of doing this is through fun professional development activities for teachers.
- Role Play: Split the group into three. One person will represent the teacher, the other the students and the rest will be the audience. Prepare a scenario such as the first day of class.Watch for the interaction between the teacher and the students. Does the teacher make the students feel welcome? What does he say or do? Does the teacher make an attempt to remember each child’s name? Freeze the development activity after 2 or 3 minutes.
The audience will then critique the role-playing. With this activity, the teachers come together to share ideas and strategies in a fun manner.
- Protect the Egg: You will need some materials for this team building game for this fun professional development activity for teachers.You can be creative with your materials but here are some suggestions. Eggs, of course, are a necessity! Cardboard, duct tape, straws are some of the items that would work.
You will also need a chair or step stool to stand on to drop the egg. Warning: could be messy! Divide the staff into teams of 5 ideally people who do not know each other but who will be working frequently together throughout the year.
Each team has to find a creative way to protect their egg within 15 minutes. Time of reckoning soon approaches and each team has to drop their egg.
Whether the eggs break or not everyone will have fun and laugh about the results. To debrief, talk about what led to success and what did not, about creativity and communication.
Perhaps when you introduce team building activities to staff and students you may hear some groans and see rolling of the eyes.
However, I can personally guarantee you that within a few minutes of these team building activities everyone will be totally engaged in the activity.
Relationships will be formed, participants will have fun problem solving, being creative and be more relaxed and open to having fun. Try it out and see what happens.
If you are not confident in putting together a team building day on your own I would suggest contacting a Professional Event Planner. They will take your team building activities for teachers and students to a whole new level. Your staff and students will be talking about this special day for months to come!