Getting to Know the Team!
- Kicking off the new year with new members can be equal parts exciting and a little stressful for new students. Incorporating quick name games and icebreakers is an easy way to build bonds and create team cohesion from the jump.
- Use the following document as a guide to pose quick questions with real meaning behind them.
- Rotate student partner-pairings every 2-3 questions so that every team member gets a chance to speak with new friends.
Story telling easy as ABC
Have participants get into pairs.
1. Give them a topic: school, hobbies, vacations, pets, social media.
2. Decide who goes first.
3. The conversation is sentence by sentence. The first person says a sentence. The sentence must start with the letter A. The second delegate responds to the sentence, but their sentence must start with the letter B. The first delegate continues the conversation and starts their sentence with the letter C. The conversation continues with delegates starting the next sentence with the next letter.
1. Keep the same partners.
2. Give participants another topic and the other partner will go first this time.
3. The participants will have a conversation the same way as Round 1, but this time they must start their sentence with the last letter of their partner’s sentence. If the first delegate says, “My favorite thing to do outside of school is ski.” The next delegate must start their sentence with the letter I. For example, “I went skiing once when I was ten.” Then the first delegate would start their sentence with the letter N and so on.
Mentorship Pen Pals:
- Goal: Encourage conversation, improve relationships, and generate bonding activities
- Pair students between middle and high school student councils in mentorship pairings- have high school students write their middle school pairing a letter, and participate in a pen pal exchange.
- In specific for incoming middle schoolers, or 8th graders attempting to make the transition to high school- this can be a source of advice and engagement for students.
- Additional options: Put together a meeting for students to engage with their pairing/pen pal, participate in additional mentorship or bonding activities.
- School-wide adaptation: Students can choose to pair high school and middle school students throughout various advisory or seminar classes on a school-wide basis, building a mentorship pipeline and creating stronger bonds between students.
- Goal: Enhance spaces through open dialogue about social-emotional learning.
- Advisor places a Ball Jar in front of the classroom where Student Council or NHS members can take a “kindness confetti” when they need a pick-me-up.
- “Kindness confetti” would consist of basic construction paper with positive affirmations and quotes written onto them
- This concept could also be applied when other members recognize some of their peers may be struggling.
- This may seem easy in concept, but is super effective when working with student leaders that oftentimes do not recognize their own value and self worth.
- School-wide adaptation: Students can choose to adapt this to a classroom or school wide setting. It would fit well into events such as Kindness or Charity weeks, in which positive affirmations are necessary for a whole school event. Ex: placing affirmations or “confetti” into the hallways or on to lockers.
Unsung Affirmations Activity
• Provide each student a brown paper lunch bag.
• Set out a stack of index cards for each student in class with a pen.
• Watch this video: When Nobody’s Watching: https://youtu.be/ET4B3UfWrYY
• Have students walk around and put anonymous, kind notes, or even situations they were an unsung hero in other students’ bags.
Unsung hero: One who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them.
This video is about the unsung heroes in our lives, who sometimes may lack recognition. This
activity will allow students to anonymously recognize other students.
1. What are you feeling after reading what your peers appreciate you for? Was it refreshing? Why?
2. Who is an unsung hero in your life?
3. Why does recognizing kindness matter?
4. How can we make sure to recognize the unsung heroes in our lives? In our schools? In our leadership styles?
Post activity challenge: who is someone in your life that you did not recognize today that you describe as an unsung hero? I challenge you to text, call, or send them a letter today.
Objective: A quick overview of setting and monitoring individual goals
Materials: Paper, friends
- Choose three categories you would like to set goals for. These three categories should be large aspects of your life. For example, School, Friends, and Sports.
- Visualize where you hope to be and what you hope to achieve within these three categories- aiming for the next 4-6 months. Set a specific deadline for yourself and put it in your calendar.
- Once you have an idea of what you hope to achieve, brainstorm two steps you can take within each category to reach those goals by your deadline.
- Share! Sort into groups of 3 and choose one of your categories to share with your groupmates. Give each other feedback and ideas on how they can continue to reach this goal.
- Reflect! When your deadline is approaching, review the progress of the goals you set for yourself months prior. Don’t be afraid to set new deadlines for yourself and continue to push yourself toward your goals!
Objective: To increase moral and student engagement
Materials: Yellow Paint or large sticky note
Description: After gaining approval from the powers-to-be, find a central part of the lunch room or heavily trafficked hallway where you can paint (or use a larger sticky note) a 12″ x 24″ rectangle in a bright color. Above the square, paint (or write on sticky) the words “Press square for good vibes”. Inside the square, in smaller text towards the bottom, paint (or write on sticky) the word “Loading…” This is a great mental exercise that showcases school unity and teamwork for any student that happens to pass by the area in need of a little extra mojo.
Adaptation: Another way to showcase the same ideology is to create a “Good Vibes” box. This box would also be located in a highly trafficked area of your building and would contain positive statements and encouraging messages for students to take as needed.
Getting to know your team: “Group Trading cards”
Purpose: Get to know others in your group
Materials: Writing utensils, 1 notecard/person
- Hand out index cards and markers.
- Tell everyone to draw a self-portrait and write their names, their nicknames, and a few fun facts about themselves.
- Everyone jumps up and trades cards. People can trade as many times as they want, but they have to read each card they get before they trade.
- After a few minutes, have everyone announce the name on the card they ended up with. People can ask questions of the card’s owner.
Modifications: tell students not to write their names on their card, and after a few minutes of trading have students try and find whose card they think they have.
Adopted from: Snacknation.com
“Take the time”
It only takes 12 minutes a day to refresh and rejuvenate your mind. These minutes will help you refresh, improve your concentration and help to stay on task. Recently I heard a podcast and learned there is NO such thing as “multi-tasking”! Instead, we “switch-task” and those who learn to prioritize are the most successful. BUT, taking a break, doing a short meditation, breathing exercise or mindfulness exercise will help you be successful. Try this breathing technique and feel the calm!
“Ultimate Tic Tac Toe”
*Per Group of 3*
A Bag of Mixed Color, Size, and Shaped Beads
3 strings to put the beads on
A pattern to follow for color order of beads
*Each group will get one set of these, so if you have 4 groups, you need 4 bags, 12 strings, and 4 patterns
The facilitator assigns one job to each person. The jobs are as follows:
Sorter: Their job is to sort the beads by color, shape, and size
Pattern Follower: Their job is to take the beads from the sorted piles and follow the pattern given to them
Stringer: Their job is to transfer the pattern onto the string to finish the bracelet
After assigning roles, tell them to begin their job. It can be up to the facilitator whether or not the students talk during the process. When the students seem to be getting a good assembly line going, tell them that they must switch jobs within the group. There can be two ways to do this:
If there is only one group of three doing the activity:
Sorter —-> Stringer —-> Pattern Follower —-> Sorter
If there are multiple groups:
Sorter —-> Stringer —-> Pattern Follower —-> Moves one group over, and becomes the Sorter for the next group.
They must fill into a new job without asking questions. What should happen is that they will take a minute to regroup and try to learn a new job, without originally being taught how to do it. The next thing to change is the pattern. Say, for example, that the company they are building the bracelets for sent out the wrong design, and they must redo the bracelets they’ve made.
Finally, have them switch jobs one more time, so that means every single person will have done every job once. Allow them time to finish the project. Each person can keep one of the bracelets that they made.
“Holiday Card Creation”
Materials: Writing utensils, 1 notecard/person
Purpose: To spread holiday cheer and provide service to your community
Materials: Paper, pens, letters
Have each student team member design 3 different holiday cards that can be photocopied to produce dozens of warm messages for those in your community.
Studnets can draw pictures, research their favorite quotes, add personal messages and so much more. Encourage creativity in creation, using tools such as abode, or canva to create unique and professional designs that can be passed out around town. Students can vote on where the cards should be sent – whether thats a local hospital, donation center, elementary school, or placed randomly around town! Help give back to your community by sharing warm messages and good vibes!
Materials: Writing utensils, 1 notecard/person
Purpose: To start a conversation about communication within your class or council
Materials: Paper, pens, drawn photos
Place students into lines of about 5-7 students in each sitting behind one another.
Show the person at the back of the line a photo.
The person in the back will trace with their finger that image on the back of the person in front of them.
They can only draw the image two times and may not talk to each other.
The image will then continue to be passed to the front of the line.
The person at the front will then draw that they believe was traced on their back onto a piece of paper.
Show everyone the original image to compare their final image.
Repeat with various images
A stick figure
An ice cream cone
A peace sign
Your school logo
What made that activity difficult?
How did nonverbal communication affect this activity?
How did the image change as it went further down the line? Why?
How does this relate to communication?
How can we be more proactive to ensure our message is distorted along the way?
“New Year, New Me, New US!”
Materials: Writing utensil (Can be done face to face or via zoom)
- Allow students to take a moment to reflect on their goals from the past year and what they want to accomplish in the next year
- Have the student write down ideas on goals that they want to accomplish personally and as a group
- For group goals, add them all to a google doc, presentation, or other list that everyone can access and be inspired by
- Encourage students to find accountability buddies in their friends and peers to keep them on track and check in on their goal progress together
Recently, I was able to get together with one of my student orgs to help brainstorm and solidify goals that we had for the upcoming semester. It helped us get into a smart, productive mindset regarding the ideas that we wanted to accomplish as an organization, but also personally as well.
- Jump on Zoom and break the ice. While we began our meeting by sharing out what we had been doing over the holiday, you can also consider running an icebreaker activity. Consider activities such as Two Truths and a Lie or Rose, Bud, Thorn. The goal of the activity should be to encourage interaction and allow everyone to participate. In many groups that I am a part of, we tag in to share by commenting in the chat that “I’ll go after ‘name of student’” so we don’t step on each others toes trying to speak all at once, while also giving space to those who may not be comfortable sharing. Once you run through all the names, feel free to leave some time of silence for anyone who wants to share last minute before moving on.
- Reflect and brainstorm on past, current, and future goals. After breaking the ice, we shared out some goal setting resources (attached here and here). Then we took about five minutes of silence to reflect on our past, current, and future goals. Have your students write their goals physically down on a piece of paper. We folded paper into six sections so that we could reflect and ponder on the past, current, and future goals that we had both for ourselves and our organization. However, this is easy to change to fit what you need, and the goals that you want to help set.
- Encourage Sharing and Follow Up. Specifically for goals that relate to your organization, it is important to share these out and keep a tangible record of goals for your students. If you’re able to meet in person, a great way to do this is to write down all of the goals on a large poster board to keep tacked on the wall in your classroom, where it can be seen everyday. Virtually, I would recommend creating a presentation where each student can add a slide with their goal for the organization that can be shared to everyone. Keep it at the top of your virtual classroom resources for easy reference and plan times throughout the semester to check back in on the progress of your goals.
I hope you can take inspiration from some or all of these ideas to help set some goals for your organization and encourage your students to set goals for themselves as well! It is always easier to move forward together rather than apart so goal setting as a group can be extremely beneficial!
“MY OH MY have I Grown”
Materials: Writing utensil (Can be done face to face or via zoom)
- The goal of this activity is to have students realize that they are constantly growing and changing as people and as leaders. By looking at their former stressors, problems, and goals, they will be able to see how much they’ve grown over time
- This activity should take about 15-20 minutes to complete now, then another 15-20 minutes to complete at a later date, months down the line (like the end of the school year)
- Have students write down all of the stressors and current short term goals in their life. These can range from an upcoming test in one of their classes, to getting a job, to passing their drivers test!
- After students have all finished their lists, have them turn in their papers to you (using envelopes are a good option). Use the debrief questions below.
- Hold onto these papers until the end of the school year (or another set amount of time)
- At the end of the school year, redistribute the papers to the respective students. Have them read their list and reflect on it. Use the debrief questions below.
- Have students set a reminder in their phone with these stressors and goals for the same date and time several months in the future. Have them include the date that they wrote out all of these stressors and goals as well.
- On this date, have students read this list and reflect on it. Use the debrief questions below.
- How do you currently feel about your sources of stress? Do they feel like they are insurmountable, or can you find solutions to the problems they are presenting you with?
- How attainable do you think your goals are? What can you do to reach these goals?
- End of school year:
- Looking back at your list of stressors, how challenging would you say those things are, months down the line?
- Compare how important those stressors were to you back then versus how important they are to you now. What has changed? What has stayed the same?
- Analyzing your list of goals. Which did you attain? Which didn’t you attain? Compare the importance of your previous goals to your current situation. Are those goals just as important, less important, or more important now than they were a few months ago?
- Every day that you live today seemed impossible a little bit ago. You just have to work a little bit harder every day and you’ll conquer those goals that seemed impossible a little while ago!
“Lets Break This Down”
Materials: Video, writing utensil (Can be done face to face or via zoom)
- With the continued coverage of the 2020 Presidential race, it’s important to fully explain how America selects its next President. Below is a comprehensive breakout of the Electoral College process from Khan Academy. After reviewing the video below, let’s take this discussion a step further.
- After learning the facts, have students engage in meaningful discussion behind the Electoral College model
- The following link covers the top pros and cons behind the Electoral College. Students can review both sides of this model and answer discussion questions to help create an informative stance.
- The Electoral College – Top 3 Pros and Cons
“Fun Facts Memory!”
Materials: paper, writing utensil (Can be done face to face or via zoom)
•Prior to the meeting have each participant message you a fun fact about them and their name. Create a master document so you can facilitate/review.
• During the meeting have each student make a sign to hold in front of their camera with their fun fact OR quickly switch their Zoom name to that fun fact.
• Give students a few moments to look and facts and scroll through (keeping in might that if they are holding a sign it may take them longer to scroll and/or they may need to hold up their sign better for others to see)
• Try to prevent screen shots during this time by just encouraging people to learn about other people’s fun facts rather than “Memorize” them
• Divide the group into two “teams”
• Teams take turns. As a facilitator you can either call out someone’s name and have the team representative see if they can guess that person’s Fun Fact or you could list the Fun Fact and see if a person can name the name.
• If correct, they get a point for their team and potentially someone else from their team gets an additional turn.
Materials: paper, writing utensil (Can be done face to face or via zoom)
•Each participant folds their paper in half “hot dog style”
•On the outside part, participants write how the world sees them
•On the inside part, participants write things that people don’t know about them and/or things people wouldn’t know just by looking at them – consider setting limits, such as unknown passions, hobbies and activities. This activity can be an opening to addressing stereotypes and diversity but your student group will want to ease into the discussion to avoid too much heavy lifting right away
• Participants share small groups (consider making this a breakout activity)
• Variation: Use scissors to cut out a mask. The visible side is what the world sees, the side closer to the participants face is for the unseen information.
“Giving a Gift”
Materials: Construction paper, Markers
- Ask the group to split into pairs, preferably someone they do not know super well but if they know them this works too!
- Ask the partners to share with each other information they are comfortable with about their day and week.
- For example: One person may share they did not get the part in the school play they wanted and they were doubting their abilities as an actor.
- The other partner will give them a “gift” of either a material or emotional thing they need to get through their week.
- For example: the partner may give them confidence as a reminder to be confident in themselves.
- For example: if they are feeling lonely, the person can give them a “puppy” to bring them comfort.
- Asking the gift giver to write their “gift” on a sheet of construction paper so the recipient can remember these gifts they received after being vulnerable. Repeat the process for both partners.
- Students can switch partners and share more about themselves if they feel comfortable. They can fill their paper with gift reminders from others.
- How did you feel sharing your experiences with your partner(s)?
- How did you feel receiving the gift through words from your partner?
- How did you feel listening to your partner’s experiences?
- How did you feel giving your partner the gifts they needed to hear?
- How do you support others when they share their feelings with you outside of this activity?
“The Grit Tree”
Materials: Writing utensils, print out of tree image
Purpose: To reflect on the meaning of grit relating to your passions and goals despite challenges.
- Write near the top of the tree your passions, long term goals, attitudes, and thoughts that keep you going. Reflect on things that give you purpose and that you genuinely enjoy.
- Near the trunk of tree write and reflect on ways you persist in challenges to your goals. What are some ways you demonstrate adaptability and remain positive in challenges? Example: do you try again if you fail the first time at a task?
- On the leaves of the tree write what are some habits and attitudes that you want to leave behind that prevent you from reaching your goals and following your passions? Examples: are you confident in your abilities or are you accountable in getting tasks done?
- Roots keep us grounded. Near the roots of the tree write down individuals or qualities that keep us grounded as we work towards our passions and goals.
Passion is a critical part of grit, what role does passion play into setting and following through with your goals?
Why do you think we reflected about the ways we are persistent near the trunk of the tree?
Roots connect and keep us grounded, who can you turn as you push to reach your goals?
“List the 5”
Materials: Writing utensils, notecards
Purpose: To reflect on the servant leaders in your life and the ways they helped you.
Ask a group of participants to list the past 5 Super Bowl Winners, the 5 highest paid actors in Hollywood, and the past 5 Presidents. Give the group 5 minutes to complete this task. Next, have the group list 5 people in their life who have helped them: teachers, coaches, family members, coworkers, friends, etc. Give the group 5 minutes to complete this task.
Which list was easier to write? Why?
Servant leaders are not always recognized in the media. How can we recognize the difference?
“A Toast to You!”
Purpose: To reflect on the successes of the school year
Materials: One beverage per person
Give each student a drink of any sort and have everyone stand in a circle.
Allow each participant to give any “toast” they would like to the school year. This could include student council successes, recognizing the hardworking of a peer, or positive memories they have from the school year spent together. You can also ask each student to share one item they are looking forward to for the next year. This is a great way to end the year on a positive note!
Purpose: To push group members to to examine their own self-authority and how they perceive their own sources of power in a leadership vacuum.
The Group leader makes sure they have everyone’s attention and states “Your task for the next 20 minutes is to explore how leadership is given, received and exercised in this group.” After this point the group leader doesn’t utter another word for 20 minutes and continues to look straight ahead with a neutral expression – even when addressed by the group.
Typically group members will respond with nervous laughter before settling into an anxiety-riddled process of attempting to follow the instructions without formal leadership present. They may demand more explicit instructions from the leader, who must not respond in any way. This forces group members to examine their own self-authority and that of those around them.
- What did you experience during this activity?
- What did you observe during this activity?
- What did you notice about the way authority was granted to leaders in this group?
- What sources of power were honored? (age, grade, gender, race, etc)
- What personal, internal factors encouraged or inhibited your leadership voice?
**Activity from “Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference”
Purpose: To discuss the difference in interpreting instructions
Materials: Paper, tape
Split group into partner pairs. Instruct the team to design the best paper airplane possible. They will have 5-7 minutes to create their plane. The object is for the pilot (standing behind the start line) to fly the plane to the co-pilot (standing behind the finish line). Do not elaborate on the instructions. Give the teams 5-7 minutes to create their plane. They can use as many sheets of paper as they want. When time is called, have the pilots and co-pilots line up across from each other behind the appropriate start and finish line. Instruct them to launch their planes when you say “BLAST OFF.”
Once they have been launched, ask them if they would like a few moments to collaborate with their co-pilot to make modifications. Give them 2-3 minutes to discuss and re-group. Line them up and BLAST OFF again. After the second attempt, facilitate a discussion based on the following questions:
What was your first course of action when you were given your paper?
Did you discuss flying strategies, spend time discussing how each of you interpreted the directions or immediately begin making planes?
What leadership skills were needed to make this event a success?
Did you feel confident in your first plan?
If your first plan was not successful, what were the first modifications you made to your plan? Was it to re-evaluate the plan or re-model the plane?
“Hold Some Paper”
Purpose: To engage your group in the power of creative teamwork
Materials: Loose paper
1. Form into teams of three to five people.
2. By way of demonstration, ask two people from a team to volunteer and hold one sheet of paper
between the palms of one of their hands.
3. Each team is challenged to assist two of their group members to hold as many pieces of paper
off the ground by using only their bodies.
4. To guide fair play, announce that:
– Only one sheet of paper can be affixed between any two body parts;
– No adhesives can be used to hold paper to one’s body;
– Folding the paper is not permitted;
– Each sheet of paper must be in contact with both team members; and
– No two sheets of paper can be touching.
5. Distribute sheets of paper to each team, and announce “GO.”
6. Allow up to 10 minutes and survey the results.
Purpose: To set goals for the new year and leave bad habits behind.
Materials: 2 Sticky notes per person, giant paper, pens
Directions: On one sticky note, have the students write down a road block they experienced during 2018. This could involve school, student council or other extra curricular activities. On the other sticky note, have students write down one SMART goal they have for this year to overcome the road block they mentioned. Once they are done, have they students sit in a circle and go around explaining their SMART goals. Once they go, have them throw away the sticky note with the road block on it and hang up the sticky note with the SMART goal. Keep this up for the rest of the year so they have a daily reminder of their goals for 2019!
The purpose of this activity is for participants to find a common goal/connection that unifies the entirety of the group involved.
In an open space free of objects, ask participants to stand in a circle that is big enough to include every member of the group. Participants will look down at someone’s shoes in the group. One person will count to three, then on three, everyone will look up at the person who’s shoes they were just looking at. If participants are making eye contact (i.e. they were looking at each other’s shoes) they must scream and both leave the circle. While the eliminated participants mingle off to the side, the circle continues the process until there is one person left!
Every individual must begin by linking with one person through connecting arms once they have found something that they both have in common. From there, the pair must find another pair and link arms once the FOUR find something in common. These groups of FOUR will find another group of FOUR and link to make EIGHT once they have found a commonality. The activity continues to unify until the WHOLE GROUP has been connected through a commonality. Reminder that they only have 5 minutes to complete this task, so they must move quickly to find commonalities.
You are about to embark on the voyage of a lifetime! In order to get on the ship that will take you across the world, each voyager must be connected. However, these connections are not simple, but must be made through commonalities between every single member waiting to get on this ship before time runs out. Once the directions have been explained, there will be 5 minutes on the clock to get the whole group connected and on the ship.
- One word on this activity
- Did you find it difficult to find commonalities? Why?
- How did you find commonalities?
- What did you do when you weren’t able to find commonalities?
- How does this relate to working on teams?
- Why is it important to find commonalities when working with others?
- Why is it important to find commonalities in your school?
- What will this do to your school’s atmosphere?
- How can you do this activity on a daily basis in your school?
This activity is geared towards introducing a larger group of students in a fun, light-hearted atmosphere. It creates a stress free, yet competitive environment to help a group open up.
Duration of activity: 6-10 minutes
Number of participants
Minimum of 8 people and maximum of 20
Something to mix pieces of paper in
15-25 slips of paper with
“Welcome to the Olympic game of questioning! In this game, you will face off in two separate teams! One person from each team will stand next to each other, and host a conversation for as long as they can. Who ever says the last sentence wins! However, you can only speak in question form! For example, ‘how are you?’ ‘I don’t know, how are you?’ and the whole conversation must be void of statements, and if you giggle, hesitate, or answer a question, you’re out. If you mess up, you are out!”
Choose random topics and write them on little pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Split everyone into two groups and arrange them so that the first person in each line is face to face. Then, pick a topic out of the hat. The two individuals must go back and forth speaking only in question form. This conversation will keep on going back and forth until one of the players stutters, laughs, is unable to ask a question, or answers the question. The winner stays and the person who loses goes to the back of the line. Each win gives the team one point and the group with the most points wins!!
You may only speak in questions
To make this activity more difficult, you can make the competition become two people versus two people; this would also be more inclusive for a larger group.
This activity can also be done with either four lines or no topics at all.
“And the Emmy Goes To”
Objective: To welcome new students to your team and learn more about those that comprise your group
1. Have each student write a paragraph on a specific topic about themselves.
– What did you do this past summer?
– What is your favorite vacation?
– Describe your favorite memory
– What did you do this past weekend?
2. Once they are done writing, have everybody partner up and swap papers
3. Each person acts out/does a dramatic reading of their partners story for the entire group – having some fun and being a little creative with the facts at hand.
4. The group votes on the best acting/reading to get the Emmy.
Objective: To solve a problem with the resources available. Your team has to complete an objective following specific criteria with limited resources and critical thinking skills
Materials: 20-30 image pictures with random objects/pictures
1.Place all individual pictures on the floor in a random, mismatched order
2. All team members must get from one side of the picture cluster to the other side by going in alphabetical order
3. Each picture may only be used as one letter
4. Team members need to make each picture into a letter. For example, a picture of a “Lion”, could be used as the letter “A” for Animal. Then a picture of a “banana” could be used as the second letter “B” and so on – or team members can be more creative, using the banana picture later as “F” for fruit.
5. All team members must cross the same pattern to get to the other side, using different words to describe each picture. Only one person may cross at a time.
*This activity can be modified in multiple ways to help push your groups problem-solving and team building efforts
June – Committee Chair Evaluations
Objective: Peer to peer evaluation of their leadership skills as it pertains to heading a committee chair.
Supplies: Evaluation Document
Description: This document can be used to help gauge each individual leaders ability to improve throughout their assigned task load. Every student on your team should have the opportunity to become the chair of a committee (if the number of events allow it). This constructive feedback will allow advisers to see the student perspective of working members as well as allow for in depth conversations for student improvement.
(document idea from Sandy Kurland)
Objective: To learn a little more about new members, set some goals for the summer
Supplies: Paper, pens, visual board (optional)
Description: Students need to make a list of 50 items they would put on their own “bucket list”. Students can share their top 10 with the class. In addition to this list, they must highlight “5” items they would like to complete over the summer. These items can be a part of their bucket list or goals they would like to complete before returning back to school. Keep a visual board in your room for students to add to once they complete any of their “5” items of the summer. This is a great way to kick off the year, discuss goals and the process involved to complete them.
Objective:To welcome new students to your team and learn more about those that comprise your group
Supplies: Human Bingo document
Description: Pass out the Human Bingo document and have students try to get a “BINGO” by walking the room or school to get answers to each.
Objective: To improve group communication and teamwork.
Supplies: Blindfolds for everyone in the group, a large open space, a continuous rope that everyone in the group can hold onto.
Description: Starting in a circle have all students hold onto the rope with their blindfolds on. Then instruct the students to form different shapes with the rope whilst blindfolded. You can choose simple shapes like circles, squares, etc. Once they start getting a hang of it give them harder shapes like stars, hexagons, etc.
Welcome back! As difficult as it can be for students to get back into the flow of academic routine, the same can be said for educators coming off the same holiday season. In a perfect world, the holiday season would be spent relaxing and recharging body batteries for the 2nd half of the school year. Unfortunately, the reality can often be just as draining as a regular work week. Have no fear, we want to help recharge the energy of your students, group and most importantly, the key educator involved (you).
Objective: To review class or council material presented before break
Materials: Scrap paper, pens
Description: A great way to kick off class in a fun and interactive review. Students each get two pieces of scrap paper and must write down a topic item from a pervious session. Student then roll their paper into a ball and are split into two teams. Students take turns (one at a time) from their seats throwing their homemade snowballs. Each time a student is tagged with one of our “snowballs”, they must answer their question or discuss the topic written inside the snowball (students cannot “dodge”, but rather sit and hope a student misses).
Objective: To review class or council material
Materials: Chart paper, pens
Description: Brainstorm Race is a good game for several teams of four or five students. Give each team a way to record answers — paper and pencil, flip chart, or computer.
Announce a topic that was previously covered and allow the teams 30 seconds to write down as many facts concerning the topic as they can come up with. Each round students compare lists and the team with the most ideas wins a point. Depending on your setting, you can review each topic immediately and then go on to the next topic, or play the entire game and recap afterward.
Group decision making is one of the most difficult, yet crucial endeavors that all students will face as a member of an activity group. In order for students to gain a better idea for other students perspectives and ideas during the decision making process, give this fun activity a go! Remember, the discussion phase of all activities holds the majority of the learning components. Focus on the issues they faced, the difference in opinion and how they were able to come to an agreement in an efficient matter. Pointing out what didn’t work is also a great way to reinforce the process of efficient decision making.
“SAVE THE EGG!”
Team-Building Activities for Every Group by Alanna Jones, 1999.
Objective: For team members to problem-solve when working together
Group size: 8 or more
Materials: Raw eggs, as many different things as you can find that can be used to build an egg protection cover: drinking straws, tape, string, paper, card board tubes, popsicle sticks, masking tape, glue, etc.
Description: Break the group into teams of four or more members each. Give each team a raw egg and tell them that they must not let their egg break, but they have to drop the egg from at least eight feet off the ground.
Give the teams any of the materials you have gathered, or make a pile and allow them to select four items to use in the construction of their “egg protector.” Once everyone has finished the project (or they run out of time), have the groups gather together and put their constructed egg protectors to the test!
- Was trust involved in this activity at all? Why or why not?
- How did you group make decisions together?
- How do you feel about your final product? Why?
Planning ahead and staying flexible to a changing environment is essential to the development of your student group. In order to experience the chaos and success of a changing environment, give this activity a try! (credit: Icebreakers.ws)
In this activity, you’ll need to gather a few materials:
- Poles or sticks
- Tape (optional)
First, start by picking a big open space that plenty of people can fit into; you’re going to need a lot of room to really make this work. Next, you need to create four fishing rods using the string and sticks, make sure that the string is tightly attached and won’t fall off when pulled on. Depending on the general height of your participants make the string long enough to reach from their waste to the floor. Finally, pick a song with a steady beat. It may help to put markers or tape x’s on the floor if your fish are younger so they know where to sit and fill in.
Gather everyone together in a tight circle and pick four players to be the fishers. The rest of the players are going to be the fish for the game and you can rotate out these rolls as you go. Instruct the fish to open and close their hand to the beat of the music playing. The fishers have to get the string safely into the fish’s hands in order to score a point. When a player catches a fish the fish will then join them on their side of the room. The game will end when the song ends or when all the fish are caught.Lastly, the player can get as close to the fish as safely possible, but can not touch the string in any way other than indirect contact through the fishing pole.
After students understand the in’s and out’s, assign colors to the player and the fish. The player can now only catch a fish of the same color as theirs and can only win by catching all of their fish. For this version of the game, you may want to get the player to rotate occasionally throughout the song.
Listen to the beat of the music and get your movements in sync. Pay attention to the players that are most in sync as well these will be the easiest fish to hook. If you are feeling to pushed you may not get many fish; relax and only throw your line in when you feel confident you will catch something. If you are matching colors be sure to visualize where all the players you need to catch are before you start casting your line
- Coordinating efforts
- Assigning roles and follow through
- Planning ahead for success
In this activity, you need enough chairs for everyone on your team. The object of this icebreaker is to get to know the other people in your group.
- What is something unique about you?
- What was/is your favorite subject in school?
- What is something unique that is in your dorm room (office)?
- If you weren’t working at your current job, what would be your dream job?
- What has been your favorite vacation spot?
- Where would you like to go on vacation that you haven’t visited?
- Who has been your favorite teacher and why?
There is a little bit of setup for this activity. You need 2 rows of chairs that are side-by-side. One row faces one way and the other row faces the other way so that people should be sitting side-by-side facing opposite directions (and they should have a teammate in front of and behind them unless they are either first or last).
Only one row of people will move, the other row stays put. The row that doesn’t move will be the questioners. The other row will answer the questions. Each questioner gets an envelope that has strips of paper with the questions above on them.
Play the Game!
The questioner has 2-3 minutes (decide on a specific amount of time) to ask questions and asks as many questions as possible in the time allotted. Once the time is over, everyone stops and the row that answered the questions moves forward (the person in the front will go to the very back of the chair line). [Find an illustration for the chairs.]
After the game is over, have people volunteer unique answers that either they or their team mates discovered during the activity.
In this icebreaker game, the goal is to learn everyone’s names. This is done by pairing an action with each person’s name and then repeating it until everyone has introduced themselves.
Have the team get in a circle and spread out enough to where everyone can move a bit and won’t be crowded.
Play the Game!
The first person introduces herself, and then picks some kind of motion to represent her. For example, Sally says, “Hi, I’m Sally” and then does a ballet twirl. Everyone responds, “Hi Sally,” and then everyone does the ballet twirl. After the second person goes, the group says their name, does the action, and then repeats the first person’s name and action. This continues until all team members have introduced themselves.
The object of this game is to see how quickly team members can pass an object from person to person. I often go into this icebreaker activity from Group Juggle (above) and have them keep their same order.
Keeping the same tossing order from the Group Juggle, have your group pick one of the objects that they want to use for this activity. Tell them the object of the game.
The object must touch everyone in the group and the tossing order must remain the same. Those are now the only 2 rules.
Play the Game!
Have a stopwatch or phone ready to time the group. This can get very fast! Tell the group when to start and have them yell out when they are done so you know when to stop the clock. Continue to challenge them until they think they’ve gotten the best time possible, and then challenge them some more!
I’ve had groups complete the task in under 2 seconds, so make sure you have a stopwatch and a quick trigger finger. Continue to challenge the group to get better and better. (You can even tell them you’ve heard of groups who have done it in less than 2 seconds to get the competitive juices flowing).
If you need one of your icebreaker activities to help a group learn names, this is a great one! The goal of this exercise is to juggle multiple objects around the group without dropping them.
Even though this is an icebreaker, you can use this to talk about goal-setting and problem-solving as well.
Have the group stand in a circle. The first task of the group is to set the order that they will juggle. Pick one object that is fairly easy to throw. Hand it to one of the team members and tell them that they are about to set the order that they will toss the object and this order will remain the same throughout the rest of the game (this is very important). Here are the rules:
- You must toss the object underhand.
- You must say the name of the person before you toss it (safety).
- You cannot hand it or toss it to someone right next to you (tell them it’s better if they toss it across the circle).
- Everyone gets it one time except for the person it starts with and once everyone else has gotten it one time, the object comes back to the starting place.
- If you do not know someone’s name, you may ask, but you must say the name before you throw the object.
- You may not switch positions with anyone in the circle or move from your place.
Play the Game!
Have the group now set the order, making sure they follow all the rules. Once the order is set, see if they can get the object all the way around the circle without dropping it. Have them do this 1 -2 more times without dropping it. Then tell the group that you want them to do it again and say, “No matter what happens, keep going.” At this point have the first person start tossing the first object. Once it gets 2-3 people along, introduce a second object, then a 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
The game gets fun and crazy at this point! Once they have finished tossing all the objects around the circle, ask them about their experience. Now, have the group set a goal to see how many objects they can get all the way around the circle without dropping any of them. [The group can also set a goal to give themselves some leeway. For example, the group would set a goal of getting 5 objects around the tossing order with 2 drops.] Most groups will challenge themselves to get all the objects around the group without dropping any. If they do not and are successful at their goal, challenge them to make a harder goal and go for it!