Create a classroom community and learning will follow. This is my mantra for this year. As such, I plan on starting off the year with a few team building games. While I am beginning with these activities, I am sure that they will be recycled as the year progresses.
1. THE NAME GAME (with a twist). This version of the game was uber simple, but a blast. Students go around the circle and state their name. However, they must also perform and action to go along with their name. Every five or so students go back and everyone repeats the name with the action. Later in the class or later in the year (you know the kids forget each others’ names) you can challenge individual students to repeat all the names along with the action.
2. THE SHEET GAME In this game the group is spilt into two teams. The teams are then separated by a sheet so that they cannot see each other. Each team sends a representative to stand close to the sheet, right across from the representative of the other team. The sheet is dropped and the first team to say the name of the person across from them is the winner. This could be used with more than names. For instance, students could shout out hair color, eye color or articles of clothing. For Spanish One I will stick to names, but in Spanish Two, I am going to ask students to blurt out something they like about the other student.
3. TEAM CHARADES We have all played charades before, but I really liked this set up. The group is divided in two or three groups. A member of the group comes up to the teacher or a class member who gives the student a word to act out. The words pertain to one of three categories. Sample categories might be cartoon characters, fast food, sports, summer activities, etc . . . The students then act out the word and when their group guesses correctly, they must celebrate with an action such as jumping up and down or fist pumping. The celebration must be different every time they get a word right. Once correct, a different students goes up for a word. This continues until one of the teams goes through all the words.
There are so many other possible community building games, but I though these might be of use for the start of the year.