This is in reference to Staff Development.
I love "Walk Across the Circle If.." Basically you put together a list of things that people in the group may or may not have done before, or skills they may or may not have. For example, if staff are standing in giant circle, you could say, "Walk across the circle if you speak more than one language fluently." Then, everyone can see how amazingly talented and unique the staff are. You have have things like, "Married for more than 20 years," "Traveled to Africa..." etc.... anything goes.
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I enjoyed this one: Have a big map of the world up on a board or something and each person takes a turn putting a thumbtack/sticker into a place on the map that is important to them. It can be a place where you have lived, where you visit, where you have family, where you are from, etc. You say a sentence or 2 about why you chose the place and its connection to you. At the end you have a map that shows the diversity around the world of all the people you will be working with.
Team building only works if a team is actually built. If students merely discuss their own individual uniqueness but it doesn't benefit the group as a whole, there really isn't a team. You have to get students invested in their own classroom. then they will be invested in each other, then invested in the class that you teach. Probably one of the best real true team building activities is to empower students with autonomy and responsibility in the classroom so they all become stakeholders and work together as a real team. I have a list of activities that they can do if you send me a note:
As you said this is for staff development, I say skip it. Especially if this staff development is during pre-planning week. Most teachers would prefer to get in and out of the meetings/in-services as quickly as possible and most, at least at my school, view team building exercises as a waste of time. This is especially true when most of the teachers were at the same school the year before.
Name Games! Names are important to a person as they reflect who they are and are part of their identity. We don't want to mispronounce or even assume a shorter nickname on someone (e.g. Christopher may, in fact, be Christopher and not Chris!). This also gives students the opportunity to share with the class how they wish to be addressed. Don't be afraid to spend some time with this :)
Name game activities: (and the idea is that you do multiple ones consecutively to really get them to sink in and get the students more comfortable as you move on!)
1. Students go around the circle stating their name and accompanying it with a body movement (class repeats the name AND movement). Movement activities are excellent!
2. Go around the circle and students say their name as quietly as possible.
3. as fast as possible
4. see how long they can hold the last syllable
5. Picnic: Have everyone say their name and a food they would bring along on a picnic that starts with the same letter as their name ("My name is Julia and I'm bringing Jam for my toast").
You are never too old for these. I've done them in multiple graduate degree courses for education and they really are helpful!
These are a few examples. Please feel free to add on some ideas!
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